Garden Blogs of the Month: June, 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.
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.
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.