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Garden Blogs of the Month: June 2013

June 12, 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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2013 8:32 pm

    I was hoping Blotanical might not die as I have time to visit there more..too bad. These blogs look intriguing and I will have to check them out…thanks Jean

    • June 17, 2013 9:39 pm

      Donna, See Diana’s response below re: Blotanical. Apparently, Stuart has actually been working on the new version and now has it ready for some initial Beta testing. For reasons known only to him, he just decided not to communicate about those efforts. This gives me hope for Blotanical’s future.

  2. June 12, 2013 9:05 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to these blogs. :o)

  3. June 12, 2013 9:37 pm

    Thank you, Jean! It’s an honor to be featured as one of the blogs in your “Garden Blogs of the Month”.

  4. June 12, 2013 9:41 pm

    Reblogged this on OF GARDENS and commented:
    Of Gardens has been chosen as one of the Garden Blogs of the Month at jeansgarden.wordpress.com. Just about every month Jean highlights gardening blogs worth following. I am thrilled she has chosen Of Gardens to highlight this month.

    • June 17, 2013 9:41 pm

      Amy, It’s my pleasure to highlight your blog, and thank you for reblogging the post.

  5. June 13, 2013 5:12 am

    I am so surprised and delighted to be one of your gardens of the month. I now have an incentive to keep up the blogging. With regards to the Blotanical website, it would be a shame if it stopped. I have only recently discovered it. In the meantime some of the blogs listed on my site have comprehensive lists of garden blogs to explore .

    • June 17, 2013 9:42 pm

      I’m always happy to give good bloggers incentive to keep blogging. I know how it can feel as though no one is reading, especially early on. See Diana’s news below about Blotanical; apparently, my announcement of its demise was premature :-|.

  6. June 13, 2013 12:59 pm

    What a delightful surprise this morning to open my blog and find your note, your site, and your generous commentary on my blog! I appreciate the time you took to look at my site and I’m happy to have discovered yours. I’ll be sure to check in regularly.

  7. June 13, 2013 7:24 pm

    (don’t give up on Blotanical. I’ve seen version 2. Just a couple of weeks, Stuart tells me – but after last time I think he’s wary of announcing anything – till it is up and running!)

    • June 17, 2013 9:45 pm

      Diana, Thank you for sharing this good news. I don’t understand Stuart’s thinking here — there are many options between promising a date and no communication for almost 18 months!! But I’m glad to have a source of hope that I can share with those who ask. (In recent months, I have not been recommending Blotanical to those who ask about it because I thought Stuart had abandoned the site.)

      • June 18, 2013 5:22 pm

        Being left in the lurch by that coder must have put him off Blotanical for a while. But now we go forward together.

  8. June 13, 2013 10:24 pm

    lthough I am not surprised, I am sorry to that Blotanical seems to be experiencing a slow death. I haven’t visited for a while, but I did discover a lot of wonderful blogs through Blotanical that I continue to read today.

    I also enjoy your “Garden Blogs of the Month” and will be checking out these blogs. Thanks for sharing.

  9. June 14, 2013 12:54 am

    I have found some great blogs through your recommendation. I look forward to checking these out. Blotanical introduced me to the gardening blogosphere, and it is still a good place to meet new garden bloggers. Perhaps the answer is for it to simplify, though I don’t know if Stuart is interested in doing anything with it any more.

  10. June 15, 2013 11:42 am

    I hope Blotanical can be saved. I used to enjoy it very much.

    • June 17, 2013 9:47 pm

      Rachel, Deb, and Cindy, See Diana’s comments above re: Blotanical. Apparently, Stuart has not abandoned the site, but has been working behind the scenes on the new version, which is now in an initial beta testing phase. Good news for those of us who haven’t found another community out there to replace what Blotanical offered.

  11. Daughter permalink
    June 22, 2013 7:02 pm

    So proud of you mom! Me and my friends are all loving ze blog xxxxx

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