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Garden Blogs of the Month: June 2011

June 6, 2011

This month, as I perused blogs recently added to the Blotanical listings, I found myself drawn to several that seemed distinctive. Two especially captured my interest:

Screenshot - Sprouts The subtitle of Sprouts — “Two Gardens, Two Friends, Two Coasts” – provides an excellent introduction to this blog. Michele and Caroline are childhood friends who now live and garden on opposites sides of the United States, Michele in Portland, Oregon and Caroline on the coast of southern Maine. Michele lives in an apartment in Portland and does her gardening in a 300 square foot community garden plot. Caroline grows flowers, vegetables, berries and herbs at her home in southern Maine, and she has recently added a community garden plot of her own where she can grow additional food for her family.

At first, I found this blog difficult to get a handle on. Caroline and Michele are writing as much or more  for one another as they are are writing for an audience, and I felt a bit like an intruder in the middle of a private conversation. The more I dipped into this blog, though, the less I felt like an eavesdropper and the more I felt like a welcome guest. I was charmed by the way Caroline and Michele have introduced each other on their about pages, and as I read their individual posts and the conversations between them (in posts headed “Note to Michele” or “Note to Caroline”), I got a better sense of each of them as individuals and of the relationship between them. This blog reminds me of reading published collections of letters between friends, a genre that I love. The more I read, the more I feel that Caroline and Michele are my friends, too.

Screenshot - Gifting Trees Gifting Trees appeals to my environmentalist self.  The mission of this blog is to encourage the reforestation of India by urging people to plant trees. But the blog’s author,  Dr. Paresh Prashant Phalak, does not want Indians to plant just any trees; he wants them to make choices that will have the maximum environmental benefit, native trees. This blog is about environmental education. Some posts focus on the environmental importance of trees, some provide practical tips about how to choose trees, some provide information about why certain species of trees are inappropriate choices, and many are detailed and informative plant profiles of native trees. Because I know almost nothing about south Asian flora, these plant profiles provide me with a window into a previously unknown ecological world. But what I love even more about this blog is the way that it puts me in touch with a vibrant Indian environmental movement that North Americans are often unaware of. I look forward to learning more and more from Dr. Phalak’s blog.

This is peak gardening time for many of us in the northern hemisphere, and time for reading garden blogs is correspondingly limited. But when you are ready to take a blogging break, or for those of you in the southern hemisphere who are headed into a slower garden season, these are two blogs well worth your time.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2011 10:42 pm

    Thank you Jean. I just added yet another garden blog to my reading list thanks to your your recommendation.

  2. June 6, 2011 10:43 pm

    These sound like really interesting blogs, Jean. Thank you for highlighting them.

  3. June 7, 2011 4:10 am

    Jean these are wonderful. I found Sprouts and loved it because of the conversation between the gardeners…I just checked out Gifting Trees and it a wonderful introspective and informative blog…thx again Jean for 2 fantastic choices…

  4. June 7, 2011 9:06 am

    Hi Jean, I always enjoy your introductions to new blogs, although like you say, active and passive blogging time is limited and there are just so many good ones out there.

  5. June 7, 2011 10:10 am

    Jean, thanks as ever for taking the time to do this. Your choice of my blog all those months ago introduced me to a whole world of new readers, and friends. We are moving to India later this year, so the Gifting Trees blog is one I shall follow closely. Jill

  6. June 7, 2011 10:30 am

    That Gifting trees blog introduced me to one that you can use for producing biogas. A more sustainable solution than chopping down for firewood, as they use the seedpods? Will go back and read it again ;~)

  7. June 7, 2011 12:07 pm

    Jean – sprouts sounds very different, I’ll have to check it out for suure.

  8. June 9, 2011 1:01 am

    Dear Jean, Thanks a ton for highlighting my blog and making me aware of other garden blogs also!
    Friends, thank you very much for liking it!
    …Dr Paresh Phalak.

  9. June 9, 2011 3:10 pm


    We are honored you have featured Sprouts on your blog. And we are delighted to have found your blog as well.

    Many thanks!

    ~Sprouts (Michele and Caroline)

  10. June 9, 2011 9:13 pm

    Hello Everyone, I hope you are enjoying these blogs.

    Barbara, Doing this each month is my way of dealing with the time crunch by setting aside a limited time for visiting new blogs and choosing a few to look at more closely.

    Jill, India! That will be a big change from Paris. Have you been in touch with Charlotte (The Galloping Gardener), since she’s in touch with the garden scene in India. It would be wonderful to have your landscape design take on some of the Indian sites that she has reviewed.

    Paresh, Michele, and Caroline, It has been my great pleasure both to discover your blogs for myself and to call them to the attention of others.

  11. June 11, 2011 4:19 am

    A question which isn’t to do with this post . . . hope you don’t mind . . . but . . . in a comment on the blog ‘Hurtling Towards Sixty’ you mention that you found it through a ‘pingback’ relating to The Patient Gardener. I’m wondering if you would explain what a pingback is. Haven’t heard the term but it sounds as if it might be useful. (I am on Blogger. I notice you are on WordPress – which might mean pingbacks (whatever they are!) wouldn’t work for me anyway but . . .



    • June 11, 2011 7:43 am

      Hi Esther, I don’t mind at all. A pingback is a notification that someone else has linked to your site (in this case, a blog post). WordPress does pingbacks automatically if another WordPress site links to yours. If you look at Helen’s post that Ronnie referred to, you’ll see a “comment” that just shows that Ronnie linked to that post; that’s the pingback that I followed to get to Ronnie’s post. I have not used Blogger so I don’t know how it handles this kind of thing. “Trackbacks” are similar, but they are more prone to spam (for technical reasons that are beyond my comprehension!). Some programs allow you to do add-ons that will create pingbacks. I hope this helps.

  12. Lula ( permalink
    July 8, 2011 1:28 pm

    Late, but I want to thank you for your recommendations, always very interesting, like the blog Gifting Trees. Lula

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