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Garden Blogs of the Month: May 2012

May 9, 2012

After a one-month hiatus, I’ve been procrastinating taking a break from grading by perusing two months of newly listed blogs at Blotanical. In all this wealth of delightful new blog discoveries, I found myself completely entranced by two. Interestingly, both are written by gardeners who reside on islands – but, oh, what different island settings!

screenshot - Croft Garden Croft Garden  – Gardening in a Gale chronicles the island garden adventure of a move to the Outer Hebrides. I’ll let the author of this blog describe the beginnings of the adventure for herself:

…once upon-a-time two very sensible people stood on the north-west tip of South Uist (Outer Hebrides) and fell in love with a croft on the edge of the world. It might have been blowing a Force 8 with horizontal rain but we were smitten. Eighteen months later, with the common sense and retirement plan blown away by the gale, we became the proud custodians of 12 hectares of coastal grassland (machair), a sadly neglected croft house, a derelict concrete garage containing 20 years accumulated junk, and some tumbledown stone walls around the “garden”.

What follows is an irresistible impulse to garden, even in a place that seems “impossible” for gardening and then all the challenges of “gardening in a gale.” In addition to an absorbing adventure combined with delightful writing, this blog offers portraits of flowers and native plants that grow in these challenging conditions, reflections on gardening and on nature, and practical information about the special requirements for growing vegetables here. I found the posts about “gardening dilemmas” particularly intriguing and informative. Gardening Dilemmas 1 explores the difficulties of establishing a “shelter belt” of plants to protect the garden from the wind when you don’t yet have a way to protect the shelter-belt plants from the wind. Gardening Dilemmas 2 focuses on the challenges of juggling “light levels, germination time, growth rate, temperature and space” in planting a garden at latitude 57 N with it’s short, cool growing season of exceptionally long days.

In her first post, the Croft Gardener describes this blog as “an invitation to visit my garden from time to time, watch it develop, share my rare triumphs and frequent desolation and if you have time lean on the gate for a chat and share the view.” I’m looking forward to stopping by to visit as often as I can.

Screenshot - Bliss The very title of US garden designer Tish Teherne’s blog, Bliss, evokes the much gentler climate of her Pacific Northwest garden on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Bliss is a well-established blog that is characterized by diversity of content, including posts on garden design and garden care, drought tolerant gardening and native plants, garden wildlife, public gardens and garden tours,  and garden information sources. I appreciate the fact that Tish Teherne’s discussion of garden design includes a focus on affordable accessories that will blend with and enhance your plants, and I initially got drawn in to this blog by a recent post (Spring Furnishings) on where to find functional, aesthetically pleasing, and affordable outdoor furniture. As I browsed through other posts, I found much, much more to like. Another recent post, If you build it, they will come, opens with these words:

I recently commented to Adam that I’d love a frog pond.  The evening chorus is what I am after…it tickles me.  A few days after sharing my secret wish, a lone croak appeared in the garden late one night. I investigated, and found this little guy raising a ruckus all on his own.

…and turns out to combine poetic writing with  practical suggestions for creating a “pint-sized water feature” in a pot. The writing in this blog is wonderful. And if that weren’t enough, Teherne is also a talented photographer. This photo, of blue sky behind snow-covered plants, is just one example of the eye candy waiting for those who visit this blog. The attractions of this blog are definitely more about quality than quantity; new posts appear on average about three times per month. But if what I’ve read so far is any indication, each post is a gem well worth waiting for.

Need to rest your garden-sore muscles? Take a break, check out these blogs, and enjoy!

19 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2012 10:52 pm

    Wow Jean! Thanks for such a wonderful write up. Its always nice to know someone out there is enjoying my rambling thoughts 🙂 – Tish

  2. May 10, 2012 5:44 am

    I’m blown over and not by the wind for once! Thank you for your kind and appreciative words. Living on a small island blogging gives me the opportunity to be part of a community of gardeners and to be able to share my island paradise.
    Thank you

    • May 14, 2012 10:42 pm

      Tish and Christine, It was my great pleasure to find both your blogs and to share that great find with others. I’m looking forward to repeat visits to both of you.

      • May 15, 2012 3:33 am

        Hi Jean, thanks to your kind words I’ve had an avalanche of visitors. It is such a generous idea introducing people to new blogs.

  3. May 10, 2012 2:37 pm

    I found the Croft Garden blog as well and just love it. I will definitely check out Bliss. Sounds wonderful. Hope things are calming down for you Jean. You have been missed!

    • May 14, 2012 10:43 pm

      Donna, I turned in my final grades today! Yeah!! I have a week of various mopping up activities and workshops, then end-of-year ceremonies next weekend, and then to Maine! It will be nice to have time for both gardening and garden blogging now that the school year is over.

  4. May 10, 2012 5:53 pm

    Hi Jean, it’s always lovely to read the blogs you find. Hope all is well in your two parts of the world. Enjoy this time of year and all it has to offer (between grading, of course.)

    • May 14, 2012 10:46 pm

      Happy Spring, Diane. I just turned in my final grades today, so now I really do have time for enjoying my own garden and others’.

  5. May 11, 2012 8:10 am

    Hi Jean
    I really enjoy your posts! And thanks for alerting me to 2 wonderful new blogs to read. So many blog writers, yourself included, are funny and witty so I not only get fabulous photos and advice but find myself smiling and chuckling as I read. Thanks! Happy gardening. Astrid

    • May 14, 2012 10:47 pm

      Astrid, Thanks so much for visiting and for the kind words. I, too, like blogs with a sense of humor (and I’m honored that you put mine in this category).

  6. May 11, 2012 11:06 pm

    It sounds wonderful! Jean, you always highlight such great blogs. I am off to check out this one now!

    • May 14, 2012 10:49 pm

      Deb, I think you and I share similar tastes in blogs. And since I highlight the ones that grab me, they work for you, too. I hope you enjoy these two as much as I do.

  7. May 12, 2012 12:50 pm

    I never quite found my way around Blotanical, but getting your recommendations is even better, so off I go to check these out. Thanks!

    • May 14, 2012 10:52 pm

      Ricki, Blotanical has been in a state of construction-related disarray for so long now that it is pretty easy to get discouraged about trying to use it. To tell you the truth, I’ve only be going there once a month to check out the new blogs. (A far cry from my heady early months on Blotanical in 2009-2010 when it was such an important blogging community for me and I was on the site several times a day.) I still have hopes that it might come back to something approaching its former glory.

  8. May 12, 2012 3:44 pm

    Thanks for the referrals Jean. I’m always wondering how other gardeners deal with wind so am looking forward to checking out the Croft Garden.

    • May 14, 2012 10:55 pm

      Marguerite, One of my strongest memories of my only visit to PEI (a 2-week camping trip) is of a bicycle ride along the coast on a day with winds that turned out to be so strong that at one point I had to get off and walk my bicycle downhill — because I couldn’t pedal hard enough to keep moving against the headwind! I can see why information about how someone else deals with island winds would be useful to you.

  9. May 15, 2012 5:47 am

    Jean, thanks for your comment to my post about bluebells. The past two months have been really complicated because I moved to a new home with a garden!! this week I will start back to blogging normal and will share the news with all. Lula

  10. May 15, 2012 8:56 am

    Thank you for the introductions Jean, especially to the croft garden. I find that I have so many faved blogs on blotanical which I visit I miss out on the newcomers. I will have to remedy this right now.

  11. May 15, 2012 8:23 pm

    These seem like excellent blogs and well worth the investigation. I have gathered from many of the other island garden bloggers that there are challenges we on the mainland do not face—and it is intriguing to read how they manage to solve these dilemmas. Thank you, Jean, for reviewing these wonderful blogs.

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