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Garden Blogs of the Month: July 2010

July 5, 2010

It’s hard to believe that another new month has rolled around already, which means that it’s time for me to choose some new garden blogs to highlight. The blogs I’ve chosen this month are not new in the sense of newly begun, but all of them are new to me, discovered within the past month.

Garden 337 screenshot Garden337 has actually been around for more than two years, which makes it quite venerable by garden blog standards.  Happily, the author, Nancy, discovered Blotanical recently, which is how I discovered her wonderful blog. The blog focuses on a garden that the author has created from scratch at the Grand Rapids, Michigan house she moved into only 4 years ago. I’m amazed by how much she has accomplished in such a short period of time. The “About” page provides context and a bit of back story for the new reader, and Nancy frequently includes before and after photos in her blog posts. (Although, if you are like me, you may find yourself so absorbed that you keep reading back through time.) Nancy is an accomplished writer whose well-crafted garden narratives definitely hold a reader’s interest.

We Didn't Come Here for the Grass screenshot We Didn’t Come Here For the Grass is the story of Byddi Lee, an Irish transplant, learning to garden in the very different climate of San Jose, California. The blog title refers to the old bromide about the grass being greener elsewhere; Byddi points out that this metaphor doesn’t work at all for the Irish, who know that there is nowhere else in the world with grass so green. So, although she didn’t move to California for the grass, Byddi sets about learning to garden in this much more arid landscape with verve and a sense of humor. She grows both vegetables and flowers, is an insatiable seeker of local knowledge and experience, and is a keen observer of wildlife, including the local snails, ants, mockingbird nestlings, and a duckling who seems to have lost his way. This blog is both informative and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed Byddi’s on-going account of her trials with the snails, which includes the “Peas Treaty” and the subsequent breakdown of that truce.

Canoe Corner screenshot

Canoe Corner is another transplant tale – in this case, that of Marguerite, an experienced gardener who moved from the warm temperate climate of an island in southwest British Columbia to the cold climate of Canada’s Atlantic maritime province, Prince Edward Island. Marguerite made the move last summer and began to blog about it in the spring. Gardening in this new climate, she quickly realized, involves learning not just new gardening strategies, but also new ecosystems and new plants. One of the things that attracts me to this blog is her attitude about the transition; she does not spend her time bemoaning the favorite plants that she can no longer grow, but instead glories in the new opportunities that have opened up (which includes embracing the feral cats that came with the property). Her delight with the peonies she discovers growing in her garden is infectious. In addition to her joy in her new garden, Marguerite shares her design process and clever solutions to common gardening problems. This blog is both beautifully written and beautifully designed; basic categories of blog posts, a search feature, an archive of previous blog posts, and an introduction to the author and her garden are all prominently displayed on the sidebar. In addition, this blog makes exceptionally good use of pages to provide more detail about her journey east, the community in which she now lives, and the resident cats.

Perhaps you’ve already discovered one or more of these blogs for yourself. If not, I hope you’ll visit them today.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2010 5:06 pm

    Many thanks, Jean. It is so wonderful to see my blog through your eyes. Thank you for introducing me to, not just your blog, but the other two you featured.

  2. July 5, 2010 7:56 pm

    I love that you do this. I think we get stuck in the rut of visiting blogs we know. Thanks for opening our eyes to some new treats.

  3. July 5, 2010 9:37 pm

    I’m glad you’re doing this, Jean; I had to stop for a while until my manuscript is done because I just don’t have the time to visit too many blogs (or even keep my own updated). Hectic time of year, of course.

  4. July 5, 2010 9:49 pm

    Hi Jean. No, we don’t know the name of the geranium. The friend just knew it as a ‘Crane’s Bill’ geranium.

    I can’t wait to sit down and check out your July blogs.


  5. July 6, 2010 9:39 am

    Hi Jean,

    I always look forward to getting your recommendations. There are millions of garden blogs out there, but you seem to find the standouts from the crowd. I like your personal take on the blogs makes it more enjoyable.


  6. July 6, 2010 11:45 am

    I am so glad that you highlight blogs every month. I have thoroughly enjoyed following the blogs that you chose in June and am looking forward to following these three new blogs. Thanks!

  7. July 6, 2010 12:03 pm

    Jean, you message that you left on my blog (asking if I know the name of the geranium) has popped up twice (once yesterday and once just now). I approve it, but it doesn’t show up. Not sure what I’m doing wrong, but if you notice it’s not there, that’s why.

    It even shows as there being two comments, but only the first one (Jeff’s) shows up.

    Just fyi. Diane

  8. July 6, 2010 1:04 pm

    Hi Jean – I know Byddi’s blog well – I found her through GBBD rather than Blotanical and we follow each other plus we’re transplants from the same county. Thanks for introducing me to the other 2 – I’ll make a point of visiting them. Rosie

  9. July 6, 2010 3:40 pm

    Jean, I’m really glad to get to now all three of these. I’ve visited each now, and subscribed to one of them because it’s just up my alley. Thank you. 🙂

    By the way, I admire you for doing this regularly. It’s a great service for your readers and for the less-read garden blogs out there. Bravo!

  10. July 7, 2010 1:21 pm


    Your reviews are consistently insightful, accurate and wonderful. I wrote a short review of your blog on April 20. It’s okay, I’m a big fan! Have a look:
    Regards, Gerard

  11. July 7, 2010 6:37 pm

    aloha jean,

    love your recommmendations, thanks for sharing these

  12. July 8, 2010 10:35 am

    Hello Everyone, Thanks for visiting — both my blog, and those of Nancy, Byddi, and Marguerite.

    It pleases me greatly that others find these reviews helpful; and I love it when I look at my stats and see how many people clicked through from my blog to the recommended blogs!

    Byddi, It was my pleasure to review your blog; I’m so happy to have discovered it.

    Rosie, It’s nice to hear that you have already been enjoying and share my delight in Byddi’s blog.

    Heather, Jodi, Meredith, and Noel, Thanks for your encouragement to keep on doing this each month. I’ve found that this works for me as a way to manage the enormous growth and variety of garden blogs. Once a month, I skim through all the newly discovered blogs and pick a few that really grab me to focus on.

    Jodi, Just as you get all the work on your book manuscript finished, my life will get very hectic as my sabbatical ends and I start a new semester of full-time teaching. We may be able to trade off as I start to fall down on the job of reviewing new blogs and you have a bit more time available to you.

    Tracy, Thomas and Gerard, Thank you for your kind words about the quality of my reviews and recommendations. And Gerard, thank you for pointing me to your review of my blog; I hadn’t seen it. What a treat! Thank you!

  13. July 8, 2010 2:07 pm

    I love these posts Jean. There are just so many good blogs out there, and so little time. It makes it difficult to keep up, especially with the newer blogs. I was familiar with Byddi’s blog, as she’s just over the hill from us here, but will be sure to check out the others!

  14. July 8, 2010 2:29 pm

    You’re generous to do the work of writing about other garden blogs. I already have a hard time keeping up with the bloggers I ‘know’ via comments. I don’t go exploring for new blogs much anymore, sadly. It’s hard to find the right balance between blogging and the real world.

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