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Garden Blogs of the Month: October 2012

October 7, 2012

After a one-month hiatus, “Garden Blogs of the Month” returns with two months of new listings at Blotanical to select from. Although the three blogs I have chosen to highlight are all newly listed at Blotanical, they are not necessarily new blogs.

imageBluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery is a case in point. This UK blog has been around since 2007, the year after author Sue Beesley won the BBC’s Gardener of the Year competition and the year she bought a cottage in Cheshire with a 1 acre attached garden open to the public and a perennial nursery. With that purchase, Sue went from being a hobbyist “weekend gardener” (the title of her previous blog) to a professional horticulturalist. It’s worth going back to read the early posts on this blog because they recount the process of getting a neglected nursery ready to open for business. It provides much useful information for anyone who has ever dreamed of owning a nursery, but it’s also just a compelling story that is well told. Those who prefer an abbreviated version of the backstory can get it in three posts from February 2012 (In the beginningBluebell Cottage, five years on. Part One, and Bluebell Cottage – the first five years – Part Two). Some of Sue’s posts include a behind-the-scenes look at the garden shows she participates in as a nursery owner. Most, however, are reflections on gardens and gardening practices. I was intrigued by her recent discussion of using grasses in perennial borders (Perennial grasses, perfect partnerships), and I loved her very thoughtful reflections on what it means to garden organically (Am I ‘Organic’?)and on weeding (Weeding is not a dirty word). This is a thoughtful, thorough and well-written blog; and whether you are a professional or amateur gardener, it is not to be missed.

imageHer Way at Crabtree Gardens is another blog associated with a business, this time US blog author Sandi Crabtree’s gardens and guest house in Drums, Pennsylvania. I was first attracted to this blog by its subtitle, “Work with her or against her, either way Nature will have her way,” a philosophy of gardening that resonates for me. The early posts in this blog (begun this past July) also look back on the first five years of starting a new garden-related business. But most posts provide the reflections of an enthusiastic and experienced gardener. There are posts that take joy in a bit of gardening serendipity (Floating Hearts), others that show the garden’s growth and development (Her Masterpiece), some that share gardens Sandi has visited (Goodell Gardens and Homestead Tour), and many that provide helpful gardening advice (Take a Chance). Because Sandi gardens in a climate similar to mine and because she grows many of the plants that I love, I am looking forward to the information and inspiration waiting for me here.

imageFleeting Architecture, the third blog in this grouping  is the newest (a little over two months old) and one that also attracted me because it speaks to my own gardening experience. The author, Shenandoah Kepler, describes herself in the blog’s subtitle as “An Ancient Gardener Aging in Place.” And “aging in place,” particularly aging in place in the garden, is what this blog is all about. As Shenandoah encountered health problems, she discovered that she and her “dear husband” (DH in the blog) had to think differently about their garden. In an August post (Aging in Place in the Garden: Eight Reasons I Started This Blog), Shenandoah reflected on her reasons for wanting to write about their experiences: “Interior design has quite a bit about aging in place, but exterior features might also need to be modified to make it accessible over one’s lifetime, not just if one becomes disabled.” Many of the posts in this blog are opportunities to delight in the garden, including many Wordless Wednesday photographs. In a post about the name of the blog (Fleeting Architecture, What It Means), Shenandoah reflects on how aging has shaped her philosophy of gardening:

When I was younger, I made plans, worked on projects, had lists pages long, kept journals and notebooks, and loved crossing something off one of the lists… I still do these things, but ….

Nowadays, I have taken the time, at least every hour in my projects, to stop and enjoy where I am, what I am doing. I don’t fret about getting something done as I used to. I don’t frantically try to finish up when the light, or my strength, or the heat gets to me.

I now realize I will never really finish anything in the garden. It is a work in progress, and in a way that is the point. It is fleeting.

As much as I appreciate these reminders to slow down and enjoy the garden, what I value most about this blog are the posts of concrete advice about how to design a garden with physical limitations (your own or others’) in mind. Three of these (Steps to an injury-free garden – part 1, Steps to an injury-free garden– part 2, and Steps to an injury-free garden – part 3) have been highlighted as separate pages that are featured on the blog’s header. As I move toward my own retirement and think about aging in place in my Maine garden, I am happy to have Shenandoah as a mentor.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2012 9:08 am

    Thank you very much Jean! It’s an honor to have been chosen by you and listed among such other great garden content. I love what I do and I love to share my knowledge with anyone who will listen!

    I just adore your blog (congrats on 3 years) and I am looking forward to a visit from you in person! One day, I hope you can review my book (just putting it out to the universe)!

    It was so nice to see your hand-drawn garden plan, it was a very personal touch.
    Your pairings and photos are just beautiful and I enjoyed seeing My Not So Secret Garden, it reminded me of the Secret Dale at our own gardens.

    I’m looking forward to reading much more of your posts.

    Sincerely,
    Sandi Crabtree

    • October 15, 2012 11:37 pm

      Sandi, It’s my pleasure to have discovered your blog. …And I’ll look forward to that book :-).

  2. October 8, 2012 3:33 pm

    Thank you so much for noticing my blog and for expressing your understanding of what it is all about. You have hit it on the nail! I am honored to be your “mentor” and this will drive me to continue to note my mistakes and victories in the garden and elsewhere as I revel in this stage of my life. As Jonathan Swift said “Everybody wants to live forever, but nobody wants to grow old.” This may be an indictment of our attitude towards aging, something we don’t want to think about, much less plan for, something we might be lucky enough to experience! Best to you, Shenandoah

    • October 15, 2012 11:39 pm

      Shenandoah, I’m really happy to have found your blog.

      I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but you seem to have your comments on a very restrictive setting. I think there are a lot of us getting-older gardeners who are very interested in the issues you are addressing. Your blog might be a great place for those discussions to take place if you were willing to consider making it a bit easier for people to leave comments.

      • October 16, 2012 4:15 pm

        Jean, Thanks so much for telling me that comments are hard to leave! I wondered whether anyone was reading my blog at all! I will look into the settings, and change them accordingly. Since I am new at blogging, I know I am making a lot of mistakes, so it really helps to have someone to tell me what is right and what is wrong! You have done both. Thanks a million!

      • October 18, 2012 2:54 pm

        Jean,
        I’m embarrassed to ask, but would you please try to comment on my blog site now, and see if I have made it easy enough, or if there is something else that the blog software is making you do that I can fix? I hope it won’t be too much trouble, but it would calm me greatly to know now that other can talk and leave a message. Thanks so much!
        Best to you,
        Shenandoah

  3. October 9, 2012 5:23 pm

    Jean, I love all three of this month’s blogs and thank you again for telling us all about them.

  4. October 11, 2012 7:01 pm

    Jean I am excited to look these blogs over. They sound interesting.

  5. October 13, 2012 11:20 pm

    These look wonderful! Thanks Jean!

  6. October 29, 2012 8:45 am

    Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge. The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time. I was looking for information about garden, thank you so much for the blog.

  7. October 31, 2012 8:14 am

    Great post and wonderful blog. i like your October garden.

  8. November 6, 2012 2:27 pm

    Jean, I read your post, but did not comment and I want to say thank you for taking the time to discover new blogs for us, your readers. I am still quite behind reading and interacting with fellow bloggers, but hopefully wonter wil bring more time for that

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