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Garden Blogs of the Month: June, 2012

June 6, 2012

May has flashed by, and it is already June and time for me to check out new blog listings at Blotanical. From those newly listed there during the month of May, I’ve chosen two to highlight.

screenshot - The Dirt Diaries The Dirt Diaries comes to us from the North Carolina garden of Lynn Hunt and includes a special focus on Lynn’s greatest plant love, roses. Although the blog is a new one, begun in March and with only nine posts published thus far, Lynn Hunt has been gardening and writing about gardens for many years. The experience in both areas shows, and it was the quality of both the writing and of her reflections on gardening that attracted me to this blog. In her first post, Getting Off the Ground, she explained her decision to write a garden blog this way:

Over the years I’ve come to realize that writing and gardening have a great deal in common. Both are solitary pursuits. Both can be extremely rewarding and incredibly frustrating. Both can foster tremendous success and smashing failure  — sometimes within the same day.

There is a unique anticipation that accompanies the start of each new project, a blend of excitement and dread that comes from not knowing exactly how things will turn out…. Mostly, writers and gardeners share the challenge of starting with nothing, a blank page or a bare patch of earth, with the expectation that a mixture of creativity and elbow grease will result in something special.

As someone who has never tried growing roses, I find Lynn Hunt’s posts about roses particularly enticing and informative. But this blog is about more than roses; it also includes memories and personal reflections, reports on garden projects, and information about practical gardening activities like keeping a garden record. In the three months since she began the blog, Hunt has not yet established a pattern of posting regularly, suggesting that she is more dipping a toe in the waters of garden blogging than taking the plunge. I’m hoping that her recent decision to list the blog at Blotanical is a sign of commitment to the project – because I’d definitely like to read more.

screenshot - Garden in a City Garden in a City is also a relatively new blog, begun six months ago; and it is another US blog, this time from the Midwestern city of Evanston, Illinois.  This blog features the garden of Jason and Judy Kay. Jason is the gardener and the blog’s author, while Judy contributes the photographs. This is another blog that includes a great deal of variety. There are philosophical reflections on gardening, discussions of garden problems and possible solutions, reports on work done, and visits to other gardens. Some posts are primarily photo essays, while others feature the written word. I’m more a word person than an image person, so although I enjoy the photos in this blog, it is Jason’s writing and thoughtful reflections that have really captured my interest. The philosophy of gardening expressed in his recent post Why do we Garden? resonated for me:

Returning from another work trip on late Friday afternoon, the first thing I did was to inspect the garden. Then I spent a couple of hours staking, clipping, weeding and generally puttering around. At one point, I asked myself: why am I doing this after being absent from home all week? More generally, why do I spend so much time as well as physical and mental effort on the garden?

I can think of a few reasons. There is a sense of contentment and tranquility that comes from observing either a single flower – or patchworks of color and texture that seem just right…. Gardening is an assertion of influence on a small piece of the environment. That’s influence, not control. A wise gardener seeks to channel the elements of the garden’s environment – soil, plants, critters, weather – to produce a small community of beauty and abundance.

But even as I appreciate this kind of thoughtful reflection, I also very much enjoy Jason’s “Weekend Notes,” reports on a weekend’s gardening that are primarily lists of chores accomplished and that ground a reader in the earthy realities of gardening. This blog has already established a consistency of regular posting and of interesting content that suggests it is well on its way to being a high-quality blog with staying power.

If, like me, you’ve been kept out of the garden recently by inclement weather, these blogs provide an alternative way to get your garden fix. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2012 5:18 pm

    Jean,
    I am so pleased and touched that you are enjoying The Dirt Diaries. And thank you so much for featuring my work on Jean’s Garden. I promise I will be posting more often now that I know I have an audience! I am also The Rose Whisperer on The Christian Science Monitor’s Diggin’ It website.

    If you decide to add a rose to your garden, I’ll want to make sure to recommend one that will be perfect for your area. I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed!

    Thank you again for your kind words.
    Lynn

    • June 8, 2012 10:38 pm

      Lynn, I’m so pleased to have discovered your blog. When I’m finally ready to add a rose to my garden (probably several years from now), I’ll be sure to take you up on your generous offer.

  2. June 6, 2012 5:36 pm

    Lynn’s blog features some of the best garden writing I’ve ever seen. Your observation – that ‘The Dirt Diaries’ is equal parts gardening and personal observations about life – is spot on. Thank you for discovering it, and for featuring it!

    • June 8, 2012 10:39 pm

      Neal, Featuring fine garden writing is the great pleasure that keeps me doing “Garden Blogs of the Month.”

  3. June 6, 2012 6:10 pm

    Hi Jean
    Thanks for alerting me to 2 more excellent garden blogs! Both are very interesting and well written. I look fwd to back-tracking through them and to watching as they post new material.
    Astrid

  4. June 6, 2012 9:34 pm

    Another pair of blogs that are worth a look! These seem like blogs that offer many interesting posts and information. Thank you, again, for your reviews.

    • June 8, 2012 10:40 pm

      Astrid and Michelle, I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

  5. June 6, 2012 11:15 pm

    I was doing so good visiting new blogs until I took ill in April and now with gardening I have not had time…I am glad to see your recommendations…I will give these a look and read a few posts..thx Jean.

    • June 8, 2012 10:42 pm

      Donna, Since I could get very little gardening done in this week’s cold, wet weather, it was a great opportunity for blog reading — although I’m still far from caught up. But I think the basic rule is that real gardening must take priority over virtual gardening!

  6. June 7, 2012 12:37 am

    Jean, I am extremely flattered by your comments. I’ll try to justify your kind words in future posts, and plan on enjoying your blog as well.

    • June 8, 2012 10:43 pm

      Jason, I just call them the way I see them. I really do love the mix of everyday gardening and philosophical reflection in your blog.

  7. June 7, 2012 8:01 pm

    oh dear, you’ve had bad weather too then. I haven’t stepped foot in the garden all week as we’re barely above freezing here. Spring started off so quickly but somewhere along the way it went astray.

    • June 8, 2012 10:47 pm

      Marguerite, I think we’ve both been afflicted by the same weather system — a giant low pressure system in the upper levels of the atmosphere sitting over us and spinning round and round, bringing cold and wet air from the northeast. I feel as though my garden has been in a state of suspended animation all week. Today, the sun came out for a few hours, the temperature warmed up briefly to 70F, and flowers that were just waiting for a bit of encouragement popped into bloom. We are promised several days of warm, sunny weather after a few hours of thunderstorms this evening. Unfortunately, our change of weather is because the nasty stuff is moving off to the northeast — which isn’t going to help you :-(.

  8. June 8, 2012 3:41 pm

    Hi Jean, This is sure nice of you to post information (and enticement) on unfamiliar blogs. The two you have featured here look really interesting. Sorry to hear you’ve had inclement weather lately but hopefully sunnier days are ahead. Have a great weekend.

    • June 8, 2012 10:49 pm

      Grace, Sunnier days are promised — beginning tomorrow! Yeah!! I have such a backlog of chores to do, but also want to spend some time just sitting out in the garden soaking up the sun and warmth.

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