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Garden Blogs of the Month: February 2011

February 6, 2011

The first week of a new month is my time to highlight some new garden blogs. Neither of this month’s choices are “new” in the sense of being just begun; both have been around for several years. But I have just become aware of them. Happily, both authors recently submitted their blogs to be listed at Blotanical, where I found them in the queue of blogs being processed.

screenshot - Chris Barnes Garden Blog Chris Barnes Garden Blog is written by a garden designer from the Isle of Wight in England. I know I have found a winner when I begin browsing in a blog and find myself going from one post to the next, unable to tear myself away. Chris Barnes’s blog covers a range of garden design topics, from how to combine a front garden and a front forecourt for parking, to water-wise garden design, to the problem of invasive alien plants that escape from gardens, to the use of garden design consultants. Sometimes Chris writes about her own garden, sometimes about gardens visited in her travels, and sometimes about garden problems and garden designs she has worked on for clients. Whatever the source of her reflections, they always include important design lessons. Reading this blog makes me feel as though I have a direct line to my own personal garden design expert.

screenshot - The Small Town Gardener The Small Town Gardener is a collection of garden essays that the blog’s author, Marianne Willburn, has published as newspaper columns. These essays blend personal experience, thoughtful reflections, and practical gardening advice. The blog’s first post, Learning to Love Imperfection, provides a good sense of the flavor of the blog and Marianne’s approach to gardening. I love the writing in this blog; each of these essays is highly polished and edited so that every word counts. I hope Marianne is considering bringing out a collection of her essays in book form; I would love to curl up in my favorite chair with them or keep them on my nightstand to unwind with at the end of a busy day. For those who like to listen to books and articles, Marianne has been recording the essays in Mp3 format; just click on the “Audio” tab to download them! Those who would like more casual descriptions of her garden can find those, too; just click on “This Month’s Garden.” There’s also a tab for “Resources,” with links to favorite horticultural resources, plant and seed catalogs, and garden books, and one for contacting her. I think this beautifully written, well designed blog has something for just about everyone.

I’m constantly amazed  and humbled by how many gardeners and garden designers there are out there writing wonderful garden blogs. Add these two gems to the list.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2011 1:41 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful review. It is so amazing to connect with gardening enthusiasts all around the world, and to share our thoughts. I have a great fondness for N.America – it’s people and its plants. I must find time to re-visit. This time a road trip around plants and gardens. But know this, I have many N.American plants in my ‘prairie style’ garden here on the Isle of Wight and they are amongst my all time top favourites!

    Next up though I am off to North Africa to check out Riad gardens of Marrakech. Hoping to find more gems there….

  2. February 6, 2011 2:35 pm

    (BTW would like to pick this but can’t, it shows minus 14 picks, been hit by that winter weather)

    Chris Barnes is on my waiting-for-the-next-step list of going-to-be-new-blogs on Blotanical.

  3. February 6, 2011 5:39 pm

    Jean – thanks for sharing another set of treasures! Both bring unique features to the readers. After looking at the photos of Chris’s ‘prairie style’ gardens… I’m giving my new ‘South by Southwest’ garden a discriminating eye!

    Thanks again! –Shyrlene

  4. February 6, 2011 6:31 pm

    Thanks so much for an unexpected and wonderful review! It’s so good to see how many people are connected online by their love of growing things.

  5. Lula ( permalink
    February 8, 2011 2:50 pm

    Jean, I am glad you recommended these blogs, they are now part of my readings. Thanks.

  6. February 8, 2011 4:20 pm

    Hello Jean, I’m glad as well to discover your blog! I’ve been doing a blog for almost a year by now, without taking enough time to discover the other’s before the past few months. This is so great to discover the garden blogosphere… going through gardens everywhere.
    I’ve followed your advice and tried to be listed in the blotanical directory.
    Have a great day in Maine !
    Gabriel, from Paris.

  7. February 8, 2011 4:46 pm

    I always look forward to this monthly feature Jean. This month you’ve highlighted two blogs I haven’t visited before…off to remedy that now! 🙂

  8. February 8, 2011 8:51 pm

    Intriguing choices, Jean. With a recommendation from you, both blogs are worth a second and third look.

  9. February 9, 2011 3:48 pm

    Chris Barnes is now one of the newest blogs on Blotanical!

    The dashboard is up and running, and those new blogs are waiting for the gurus to pull them on board. The cart is there, and the horses?

  10. February 10, 2011 6:00 am

    Jean, thanks so much for these recommendations. I shall visit them both with interest.

    • February 10, 2011 10:22 pm

      Hello Everyone, Thanks for visiting and for commenting.

      First of all, Chris and Marianne, it is my great pleasure to highlight your delightful blogs.

      Shyrlene, Lula, Clare, Joene, and Jill, These two really are treasures, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

      Diana, You win the speed record for getting Chris’s blog processed as soon as the new system was available. Good job! Maybe now Stuart will find some time to fix the picks problem with my blog. (LOL, minus 14!! I didn’t think it was that bad!)

      Gabriel, Bienvenue. Je regret que je ne parle pas bien Francais, so I’d better stick with English. I can see that your blog is in the queue at Blotanical waiting to be processed. I’ll go get it started.

  11. February 10, 2011 3:59 pm

    Just discovered your blog and need to book mark it as a favorite. It is going to take hours to get through all of your great references. I expect I will end up in many wonderful gardens in many states and countries. Thank you for the great road map. George

    • February 10, 2011 9:55 pm

      George, Thank you so much for visiting. I’ll try to get over to visit your blog at my next opportunity.

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