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Garden Blogs of the Month: July 2012

July 6, 2012

Another month has rolled around, the garden is in high gear, and so is the garden blogosphere. When I checked the blogs newly listed at Blotanical in the month of June, I was amazed at both the quantity and the quality, making it difficult to narrow my focus to just a few. In the end, I chose three to highlight as garden blogs of the month.

imageReed’s Garden Ramblings is the newest blog in this grouping, only a few weeks old, but author Reed Pugh has already set a high standard for quality of content. Reed is a professional landscape designer who works and gardens in the US suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, and his blog posts draw on both professional knowledge and personal experience. Some of his posts chronicle what is currently happening in his garden; others provide portraits of favorite plants, including trees. His post on Some of My Perennial BFFs is a great way to get to know both him and his garden. What I appreciate most about this blog, however, is Reed’s talent for explaining basic garden science in a clear and engaging way. I would recommend his post on mulch (Mulch? This Is Not Mulch!) to anyone with questions or confusion about that topic, and I found his explanation of Garden Degree Days (in Ticks, bugs and disease, Oh my!), a concept that was new to me, both useful and intriguing. Only a few days after I first found my way to Reed’s Garden Ramblings, this blog has become a go-to source for garden information that I trust.

imageUrsula’s Cambridge Garden is another blog that is only a few weeks old, this one focused on the author’s home garden and allotment in Cambridge, England. The “About” page on this blog is a must-read; it provides not just a brief biographical introduction, but a statement of gardening philosophy:

I am a completely organic gardener, and, as I live in one of the driest counties in England, I am attempting to grow only plants that can tough it out through drought conditions….I do not artificially irrigate my garden at all, except to water my few pots with my watering can.  This is a very fascinating challenge – nerve racking if the rain takes ages to arrive, but very gratifying.  Somehow the fact that your plants have survived without artificial watering gives you a feeling of pride – like seeing your children out in the world, fending for themselves….

Ursula’s blog focuses primarily on happenings in her garden, but it also includes occasional forays out into the larger gardening world. Her review of the show gardens at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show (Off to the Chelsea Flower Show) was the most interesting and engaging I’ve read, giving me a sense both of individual gardens and of larger trends in the world of high-level garden design. It made me wish I had Ursula by my side when I visited the Chelsea Garden Show more than a decade ago! I look forward to reading more about her own plants and gardening experiences and her reflections on gardening more generally.

imageSunil’s Garden, another UK garden blog about the personal gardening experience of a gardener in Cambridgeshire, was begun last September and is a more established blog than the other two. In it, Sunil Patel chronicles the development of his first garden, which he characterizes in the blog’s subtitle as “a tiny plot crammed with flowers.” The very first post, about planting 1000 snowdrops, gives some sense of just how crammed!  Sunil is an IT professional when he’s not in the garden, so it’s not surprising that this blog is beautifully organized. The home page includes a menu of links to both gardening and non-gardening information. Click on the “gardening” link, and you get a drop-down menu that includes a page on the characteristics of the garden, another on the back story and history of the garden, a plant list, and portraits of a few “special plants.” I have not yet read every word of this blog, but I probably will; Sunil’s writing style is very engaging, and I find myself scrolling from one post to the next, unable to tear myself away. Visiting this blog is like repeated visits to the developing garden of a talented friend.

If you’re looking for some excellent garden reading, check out these blogs; they’re a special treat.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2012 6:12 am

    Some lovely blogs for me to go and check out. And I’m particularly interested in the no iwatering approach. As an allotment holder myself, watering is always as issue and I believe in getting plants to put down their roots and not fussing over them, but to stand back and watch during a dry spell must be a tough one indeed!

    • July 10, 2012 9:47 pm

      Claire, It sounds as though Ursula’s garden experiences will be very relevant to your own.

  2. July 7, 2012 2:35 pm

    I will be sure to check these out Jean…they do sound intriguing. Thx!!

    • July 10, 2012 9:48 pm

      Donna, They are intriguing. I hope you enjoy them.

  3. July 7, 2012 2:38 pm

    Oh, Jean; that’s a really lovely review of my blog. Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments. I hope you have an enjoyable time reading through my posts and I hope to keep you and others returning for more! Sunil

    • July 10, 2012 9:48 pm

      Sunil, It was my pleasure to help bring your blog to the attention of others.

  4. July 7, 2012 3:06 pm

    Thanks again for some wonderful suggestions, Jean! These blogs sound like they are full of great content and terrific photos. Will check them all out in detail soon….

    • July 10, 2012 9:49 pm

      Astrid, I hope you enjoy these blogs. I found the content of all three terrific.

  5. July 7, 2012 5:04 pm

    Hard to imagine that it’s that time again. Thanks for the recommendations.

    • July 10, 2012 9:51 pm

      Carolyn, It’s shocking to me how quickly time is flying. My summer in Maine is already more than half over, and I can feel the fall semester breathing down my neck. I am so looking forward to the summer of 2014 when I won’t have to feel as though summer is practically over the second week of July! (Looking forward to seeing you soon.)

  6. July 7, 2012 5:07 pm

    I can’t imagine how much time you must spend sorting through blogs to bring us your excellent recommendations. Thank you seems too small a gesture, but it will have to do.

    • July 10, 2012 9:53 pm

      Ricki, It’s probably not as much time as your imagining — maybe 3-5 hours. First, I skim through all the new listings at Blotanical, opening 4 or 5 at a time and just reading the most recent post. If anything there interests me, I’ll go on to read the “about” page and the first post. If I’m still interested, then the blog goes on my short list. Usually I end up with a short list of 5-8 that I then go back and look at in more detail, finally narrowing my choices down to 2-3.

  7. July 7, 2012 5:29 pm

    Thank you for the recommendations, Jean. Your summaries of content make it easy to see where I’ll find good information. Much appreciated!

    • July 10, 2012 9:55 pm

      Cindy, I’m glad you find the recommendations helpful. My job emphasizes summarizing information and ideas and presenting them clearly to others, so these posts draw on skills that I’ve had many years to develop.

  8. July 9, 2012 8:21 am

    Great recommendations Jean. I had to take a look at the mulch post and it was very interesting, I don’t often think of mulch as contributing to my soil development.

    • July 10, 2012 9:56 pm

      Marguerite, I was so glad that Reed left a comment on my mulch post with a reference to his, because it was how I first learned about his blog; and I learned new things from his post on mulch.

  9. July 9, 2012 10:24 am

    As always, thanks for links to some great new blogs!

  10. July 9, 2012 12:31 pm

    I stumbled across Reed’s blog as you did on the Blotanical site and forwarded his link to my daughter who lives in his area, Her garden is infested with a bug problem similar to those that Reed deals with in his blog.

    • July 10, 2012 9:58 pm

      Allan, Wasn’t that bug post interesting. The warm winter and spring this year definitely increased the garden bug population; I have never seen so many ticks, and I’ve had a slug problem for the first time ever. Today, I saw my first Japanese beetle of the season and immediately thought about garden degree days.

  11. July 9, 2012 2:50 pm

    Jean, I’m looking forward to digging into these three very interesting blogs!

  12. July 10, 2012 6:58 am

    Hello Jean, I don’t know anyone else who does this as good as you do. I just paid Sunil a visit.

    • July 10, 2012 10:00 pm

      Alistair, Thank you so much. These posts draw on my teacherly skills for nurturing talent. As long as others are interested in reading them and then click through to the blogs I’m reviewing, I’ll continue to write them.

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