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Garden Blogs of the Month: March 2012

March 11, 2012

With my college on spring break this week, I’ve had an opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through the blogs newly listed at Blotanical in the past month.  As always, there were many wonderful blogs to visit. Out of these, I’ve chosen to focus on three.

Screenshot - Fourth Generation Farm Wife

Fourth Generation Farm Wife is the newest of these blogs, having just begun in February. It is written by Becky who is, as the title suggests, a fourth-generation (at least) farm wife and who farms and gardens in southern Wisconsin. The farm that Becky shares with her husband and children is primarily a grain farm; but she also grows flowers, fruits and vegetables, and she keeps chickens and alpacas.  This blog reminds me of Curbstone Valley Farm in its scope of coverage; as Becky says on her “About” page, she intends to blog about “all things gardening, chicken raising, bee keeping, vineyard/orchard growing, and related.” The blog includes current farm projects and dreams for the future, as well as tips on how to succeed in your own projects. I particularly appreciated Becky’s recent post on composting problems (Compost Hits and Misses), since I have had most of the composting issues she discusses, and I appreciate the way she combines a lifetime of experience with solid training in science. (She has a degree in Soil and Crop Science.)  Although this blog provides an upbeat and optimistic view of farm life, it also combines science and experience with healthy doses of reality and humor.

screenshot - Using Georgia Native PlantsUsing Georgia Native Plants is a somewhat older blog that was begun in 2010. Author Ellen Honeycutt is an amateur gardener in the Atlanta metro area with a passion for native plants. This blog is full of useful information about native plants, including plant portraits, tips for choosing and encouraging natives, and reviews of books about native plants. It also includes information about invasive exotic plants and suggests alternatives. Because this blog focuses on Georgia native plants, I wasn’t sure how much of its information would be of practical use to me. But it turns out that many of the native plants featured on this blog have quite large growing ranges – including, in some cases, my home state of Maine. I was particularly excited to read about Mapleleaf Viburnum – Viburnum acerifolia .  One of my frustrations in trying to plant native shrubs on my property is that so many of them prefer moist conditions, which my extremely well-drained glacial sand cannot easily provide. This shrub sounds as though it would be perfect for my growing conditions, and I intend to look for it.

Screenshot - Everyday Gardener

Everyday Gardener is the work of journalist and garden writer, Meleah Maynard, who gardens in Minneapolis. This blog includes posts that go back to 2007, many of them previously published pieces; and in these posts, a reader can find a wealth of gardening information. Each post is clearly written and provides information and advice based on careful research. I found the recent post on mason bees (Do Your Homework Before Ordering Mason Bees) particularly helpful; I had never before seen the information provided here about making sure you get the right species of mason bees and about the need to clean mason bee nesting structures to prevent disease. The easiest way to find your way around in this blog is to use the list of categories in the right sidebar, but there is also a search feature if you are looking for information about a specific topic. My favorite category is FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), which features short, to-the-point, and careful responses to many common gardening questions, including some I had asked and some I hadn’t thought to ask. As I dipped into other categories, I found interesting and informative posts in every one. Meleah Maynard gardens in a similar climate to my own, which makes much of the information she provides particularly relevant to my own gardening. I think this is going to become my favorite new online go-to resource for clear and reliable gardening information.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2012 8:15 pm

    Jean these sound wonderful…can’t wait to check them out…I certainly enjoy learning new things and these blogs seem to be the ticket to do just that…

    • March 14, 2012 9:37 pm

      Donna, You are right; what all these blogs have in common is lots of solid information based on experience, research and science. I wasn’t conscious of that link when I was choosing them; but it was clearly what caught my eye as I was perusing the new Blotanical listings.

  2. March 11, 2012 9:02 pm

    Thank you for featuring my blog, Jean. The range of native plants can be quite large so I am glad that people beyond Georgia can learn from my blog sometimes.

    • March 14, 2012 10:18 pm

      Ellen, It is my great pleasure to feature your blog — and it is wonderful to see the great range of climates that some of these very adaptable plants grow in.

  3. March 11, 2012 9:55 pm

    Jean, looking forward to checking out your ‘Garden Blogs of the Month’ – which continues to be one of the best networking tools on the Blogosphere! Hope you are enjoying ‘Spring Break’!! (I have to admit to having some “spring break envy”!!) ;D

    • March 14, 2012 10:21 pm

      Shyrlene, I am enjoying my spring break! This is the first school break I can remember in a long time that I didn’t come away with big piles of work to do, so it’s been a real treat. (Kind of a dress-rehearsal for retirement :-)) Thanks for your continued appreciation of blogs of the month. I do tend not to know when to stop, so it’s nice to know that after more than 2 years, people are still finding these recommendations useful.

  4. March 12, 2012 7:03 am

    A good list as always!

    I’d forgotten about Botanical! I must go and have a look soonest!

    • March 14, 2012 10:23 pm

      Thanks for visiting, IG. Blotanical has been in a bit of a state of torpor of late, but it’s still the best place I know of to find new garden blogs and make the acquaintance of new bloggers.

  5. March 12, 2012 12:17 pm

    Thank you Jean! So honored to be on your list. The other blogs on the list look so wonderful, thank you for introducing them to me.

    • March 14, 2012 10:24 pm

      Becky, I’m delighted to have found your blog, so it’s a treat to recommend it to others.

  6. March 12, 2012 7:29 pm

    Jean, I just wanted to mention a very happy birthday to you! Hope your day was filled with flowers. ~Marguerite

    • March 14, 2012 10:28 pm

      Thanks for the birthday greetings, Marguerite. The day was full of flowers, good food, and a good book; as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get any better than that!

  7. March 13, 2012 12:01 am

    Jean,
    Thank you so much for featuring my blog this month! I’m glad you found it helpful, and you made me realize I need to add a bunch more info. to my FAQ section. I’m very glad to know about your blog, too. – Meleah

    • March 14, 2012 10:29 pm

      Meleah, I’m so happy to have found your blog. I’m especially appreciative of the research you do; I feel as though I can trust the information you are posting.

  8. March 13, 2012 12:48 pm

    Looking forward to checking these out. Thanks for the leads, Jean!

  9. March 13, 2012 4:43 pm

    Thanks for reminding us that Blotanical is still drawing new garden bloggers. I am sad to see just how quiet it has got.

    • March 14, 2012 10:32 pm

      Diana, I’m sad about the Blotanical situation. I do think it’s a great place for garden bloggers to meet; I hope it not only survives, but thrives again.

  10. March 13, 2012 7:22 pm

    Another great selection of blogs Jean. I was actually reading through Fourth Generation Farm Wife’s blog the other day, and really am enjoying it. Like minds and all 😉 I just popped over to peek at Meleah’s blog too. I had many of the same concerns before adding Mason Bees to the farm, as I didn’t want to inadvertently displace any native pollinators in the process. They seem to fit very well though, and are thriving here. Our poor bumble bees however seem to be in dire straits, as they apparently are trading a number of maladies with honey bees…a topic worthy of a post on its own 😦

    • March 14, 2012 10:34 pm

      Clare, I did notice that you had commented on Fourth Generation Farm Wife’s blog, and it did seem like a meeting of like minds. I’m sorry to hear about your ailing bumble bees.

  11. March 13, 2012 8:16 pm

    Jean, as always you do a wonderful job in promoting newly found gems. It’s one of the many reasons that I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Be well!

  12. March 14, 2012 10:34 pm

    Aw shucks, Kevin. Thanks!

  13. September 8, 2012 3:11 am

    Nice and very informative post. Thanks for sharing.

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