Garden Blogs of the Month: June 2013
In the rush of end-of-semester grading, I didn’t manage to review garden blogs in May; so I’m making up for lost time with my June selections. The three blogs I’ve chosen to highlight are not necessarily new blogs, but all are new to me (within the past two months).
Late to the Garden Party is Kris Peterson’s chronicle of renovating an established garden in southern California. In 2010, Peterson moved from a house with a small garden that she had lovingly developed over 20 years to a property with much more room for gardening. The new house already had a garden – one that had been part of what attracted her to the house, but also one that was not entirely to her taste and that she needed to make her own. Two years later, in December 2012, she began blogging to document and share that process, noting that “Although I’ve devoted hundreds of hours to the garden (and managed to do serious damage to my right knee in the process), I feel as though I’ve barely made a dent in what I want to accomplish.” Kris’s blog posts are very engagingly written and include the problems (heavy clay soil and multitudinous rocks) and pleasures (having room to grow fruit and vegetables) of renovating this garden. Along the way, readers share her excitement about the garden, are asked for advice, and also get snippets of life philosophy. One of my favorite posts is a recent one, The “B” Side, which uses the metaphor of the “flip side” of a hit record to compare the public view of a garden with the more personal perspectives that only the gardener normally sees. This is a delightful blog, and I am looking forward to sharing more of Kris Peterson’s garden.
The Garden in Rainy Valley is also about buying a house and renovating the garden, this time in southeast Wales. This blog is only a few months old, begun about 18 months after moving into an old stone house that was accompanied by “a fairly run of the mill garden.” The garden project here is primarily one of restoration; as the blog’s author explains, “We are determined to restore a wilder character to the garden and some of the features that would have existed in 1870, which is the oldest recorded mention of the house I can find in local records.” Readers are treated to accounts of projects and garden choices and to beautiful images of the Welsh countryside. I was entranced by the beautiful dry stone walls that the owners of this property found hidden behind hedges. But my favorite posts thus far are those about choosing heirloom varieties to plant in a newly created orchard (It’s an Orchard – Actually and Buying Our Trees). This kind of restoration work is an adventure that requires research, sensitivity, determination, patience and hard work; I am looking forward to sharing the adventure and to learning from it.
Of Gardens is a much more established blog than the other two highlighted here and also a very different type of garden blog. Amy, the blog’s author is both a master gardener and an art historian with a specialization in the history of photography. These skills have come together into an interest in garden history and in photographing gardens. Amy is based in Boston, Massachusetts, which she describes as “one of the best cities in the world to study garden history.” She also travels widely to visit gardens in other locations. The blog combines her own garden with gardens she visits, award-winning photography, and reflections on the meanings of plants and gardens in our lives. While I enjoy the virtual garden visits that this blog provides, my favorite posts are the reflective ones. I was charmed by Amy’s reluctant relationship with an annual geranium (Pelargonium) as recounted in The Geranium Project, and I found her recent reflections on garden and memory (Memorial Gardens) both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
For many of us, this is the busy garden season, and there doesn’t seem to be enough time for both gardening and blogging. But even for us, there are rainy days where garden blogs can provide some relaxing virtual gardening. And for those in climates where this is not garden season, these blogs can provide a promise of things to come.
**Once again this month, I chose blogs to feature by trolling the recent listings (April and May) at Blotanical. In doing so, however, I noticed that site seems to be in its death throes, with fewer and fewer garden bloggers visiting there and more and more features no longer working. I have received several announcements recently of interactive garden directories, and I hope to use some of my summer break time to check them out. Meanwhile, if any readers have found particularly good sites for discovering and interacting with other garden bloggers, I would love to hear about them.