Garden Blogs of the Month: January 2012
With the new year, I’m finding time for relaxation and for more attention to blogging – and how better to indulge both than by making the acquaintance of some new garden blogs. In the past few days, I’ve perused the new additions at Blotanical, and I want to highlight two of them here.
Black Walnut Dispatch is a new blog, begun this past November, which has quickly developed a substantial following. Blogger Mary Gray is a freelance garden designer and garden coach with a degree in landscape design, who gardens in the US state of Virginia. She notes that she loves writing almost as much as she loves gardening, and it shows; the quality of writing is at the heart of this blog. And the writing here is characterized by irreverent humor that is laugh-out-loud funny. Some of my favorite posts are her “top ten” lists, like Top Ten New Gardening Show Ideas, Top Ten Most Annoying Garden Buzzwords and Catchphrases of 2011, Top Ten Gardening Gifts from Hell, and Top Ten Most Fearsome Gardening Tools. But don’t let the humor fool you; there is a lot of serious substance in this blog, including garden philosophy, solid research and information, and practical garden knowledge. This blog has already garnered a great deal of well-deserved attention and was reviewed and recommended by Thomas Rainer at Grounded Design weeks ago, so I’m actually pretty late jumping on the bandwagon. The fact is that I gave Black Walnut Dispatch a cursory glance after reading Thomas’s post, but it didn’t grab me. I think that’s because I didn’t have time to read carefully, and this is a blog that demands and rewards careful reading. If you have not yet seen this blog or if, like me, you passed it by after a quick look, do go visit; I think you’ll be glad you did.
The serious garden content is closer to the surface in Gardening with Bob Dylan, but that content is also accompanied by wit and gentle humor. This blog is based in the UK, in the clay soil of Kent; and its author, Jane, describes herself as “a working gardener” and as “female and not very young.” She also notes that her “other enthusiasms” include “garden literature and Bob Dylan.” Each post in this blog is linked to a Bob Dylan song. I must admit that, even though I’m the right generation, I’m not a big Dylan fan, so a lot of the song allusions are lost on me. But I find particular pleasure in blogs that link gardening to larger themes, and this one uses the Bob Dylan lyrics as a philosophical touchstone to do just that. In Gardening with Bob Dylan, everyday gardening experiences are tied to larger life issues, to serious discussions of garden philosophy and to practical advice on topics like pruning and seed saving. I particularly enjoyed Mary’s discussion of circular shapes in the garden (Round and Round – Eternal Circle) and her advice on late summer pruning (Judicious Cutting – Not Dark Yet). This is a well-written and meaty blog with much to offer the attentive reader.
If, like me, you find winter a time for garden reading, both these blogs would be valuable additions to your reading list.