Garden Blogs of the Month: August, 2012
How can it be August already?! I’m in an “omigod, I have to start teaching in three weeks and I don’t have my syllabi written yet” state of near-panic. But how better to respond to near-panic than with a little procrastination! And one pleasurable way to procrastinate is to peruse the new blog listings at Blotanical. From those added in the past month, I’ve chosen two to feature here.
Licencetokillslugs is a UK blog just begun this summer. Subtitled “Battles against nature in a small-town garden,” this blog is clearly focused more on the trials and tribulations of gardening than on the romance of communing with nature. And author Claire Davies’ most important message about dealing with those trials and tribulations is that it helps to have a sense of humor. Fans of Mary Gray’s Black Walnut Dispatch will find a similar style of humor here, but with a British accent. Many of these posts are laugh-out-loud funny, especially for those with a keen appreciation of irony. Claire’s first post, on choosing a name for her blog, sets the tone and begins to identify some of her natural enemies. At the top of the list are slugs (of course) and cats:
Cats are up there with slugs as the enemy so I was thinking of catsinthegarden.blogspot.com. This might attract armies of cat lovers who would be inflamed [by] my feline unfriendly slug pellets. I would have a cat fatwa on my hands. Cat lovers would break into my garden and plant signs saying ‘cats, welcome to crap here’ in my veg patch. Cats already feel welcome there anyway.
Perhaps my favorite post was a recent one (Garden’s Illustrated are coming) in which she imagines how her garden might be written up in a garden magazine. Here’s a flavor of this wicked send-up of both the genre and her garden:
An urban paradise, designed and managed by its owner, Claire, who fled the leafy lanes of London’s Stoke Newington in search of the harder landscaping of Upper Clapton where dub ‘n’ bass throb from every neighbour’s window. Filled with common plants found in most garden centres, splashes of red from poppies and pelargoniums mirror blood spills from the gang warfare outside on London’s notorious ‘murder mile’. From a bare alley favoured by slugs, the eye is lead effortlessly beyond to a patio and then a raised gravelled area and finally a compost heap. Here and there a skilfully placed object catches the eye: some random bottles, an old trowel, a handful of bamboo canes discarded by the owner.
This blog is a delight for those who enjoy an irreverent look at the gardening experience.
Romancing the Bee is about the romance of gardening – or, more accurately, about the romance of beekeeping. Blog author Deborah DeLong combines beekeeping with English gardening in the US city of Cincinnati, Ohio. She began the blog in January and has posted frequently in the months since. Her subtitle, “Making urban beekeeping beautiful,” clearly indicates that she wants to focus on beekeeping and gardening as beautiful experiences, and this focus is reflected in the visual beauty of the blog’s design. While this blog includes humor (see, for example, Should Beekeeping Be an Olympic Sport?), most of the posts are informational. Some provide information about beekeeping (e.g., types of honey bees, styles of hives, hive management), while others provide information about flowers that bees love or delicious recipes that can be made with honey provided by the bees. There is a wealth of practical advice here for anyone who is considering taking up beekeeping. But this insider’s look at beekeeping is also fascinating for those (like me) who have no plans to become beekeepers.
Deborah’s philosophy of beekeeping is that it should be a source of joy and beauty in life, not a stress-filled activity, and she includes information and advice to make beekeeping easier. Consider, for example, the following (from Bees Love Honey Too!):
One of my goals in writing this blog is to convince gardeners that they can keep bees in their gardens without having to harvest honey every year. Or even open the hive.
They can just let their bees be bees. I guarantee the bees will be better for it.
It’s difficult to adequately convey the richness of content in this blog. In addition to being a beekeeper and a gardener, Deborah is a writer, and blog posts are always beautifully and clearly written — which is amazing given the frequency with which those posts appear. Deborah sometimes includes video clips, especially when the visuals provide a rich source of information, and she supplements her own writing by reblogging helpful posts from other blogs.
Whether you are a beekeeper, thinking about becoming a beekeeper, or interested in a little vicarious beekeeping, take a look at Romancing the Bee.