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Garden Blogs of the Month: July 2013

July 12, 2013

In my part of the world, it is high summer in the garden, the peak of the gardening season and the peak of the garden’s pleasures. Even at this time of year, however, I like to take breaks from gardening for garden reading and garden visits (both real and virtual). So I was happy to find these two virtual gardens to visit when I perused recent new listings at Blotanical.

imageTown-Farming is a blog about vegetable gardening. Although my own gardening and blogging focus on flowers, I have a strong interest in fresh, local produce, am a member of a CSA, and  follow several vegetable gardening blogs. Brett, the author of this blog has been vegetable gardening  for two years and blogging for the past three months as a way to document and share that gardening experience. What first drew me to this blog was a recent post about How To Freeze Summer Squash. As part of my commitment to eating locally, I try to preserve produce when it is in season and at the peak of freshness (and when there is more of it available than I can possibly eat!) to enjoy at other times of the year. Detailed instructions like these for putting food by are very helpful to me. An earlier post on Building a Standard 6’ x 3’ Raised Bed is also a very useful touchstone as I begin to build my first raised bed (albeit for perennials rather than vegetables). Practical information – on gardening techniques, how to harvest various kinds of crops, how to deal with garden pests, and how to prepare food – are the hallmark of this blog. I love the fact that Brett has prepared YouTube videos to accompany many of the how-to posts.

imageGarden Design Exposed is not a conventional blog at all, in the sense that it does not have dated entries organized in reverse chronological order. Instead, it is an amazing compendium of garden design information and advice. Doug, the author of this information, does not tell us what his background is, just that he is passionate about garden design and that you don’t have to be a professional to do it well. The mission of this blog is to teach basic garden design principles and to provide amateurs with the information and resources they need to design their own gardens. When you open the home page, you find links on the left sidebar to information about Design Basics, Design Inspiration, Starting a Garden, Small Spaces, and Container Gardens, as well as a link to Garden Pictures, a What’s New link that will take you to the most recent posts, a link for Web Resources, and a site map. Click on any of these and it leads you to a page with more links and opportunities to explore any number of topics in greater depth. The Design Basics page, for example, includes links to material on eight basic elements of design – color schemes, color values, rhythm and motion, focal points, rules of composition, spatial organization, visual texture and visual balance. Other pages have equally rich links. The depth and wonderful organization of information on this blog just keeps drawing you in deeper and deeper; I’ve found that I have difficulty tearing myself away. It’s like having a wonderful and comprehensive garden design reference book (maybe a whole shelf of such books!) at your finger tips.

Blotanical Update: Many of us who found a wonderful community of garden bloggers and made new friendships at Blotanical have been saddened by the decline of that site since Stuart Robinson, Blotanical’s founding genius and owner, announced last year that the programmer he had hired to develop a new, improved Blotanical 2.0 had absconded without finishing the job. Recently, I learned that Stuart has been hard at work trying to get the new version of Blotanical up and running. Click here for the announcement he posted recently at Blotanical about these new developments.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2013 6:47 pm

    It would be interesting one day, if you did fresh research about Blotanical 2. I remember how interesting your earlier report was. You were going to follow up, but then things changed at Blotanical and the wheels came off. Can’t wait for the next round of beta testers, and then the real thing, one fine day.

    • July 16, 2013 3:25 pm

      Diana, I haven’t forgotten about my Blotanical research. I spent some time this summer copying all the archives from the “news” discussions on Blotanical 1 — because I’m afraid they’ll disappear once Stuart gets Blotanical 2 up and running. I like the idea of documenting what happens as Blotanical 2 makes its debut; thanks for the suggestion.

  2. July 13, 2013 6:55 pm

    Well I am glad to hear Blotanical is coming along…2 more blogs to explore and they seem like they will be a storehouse of info…I am not retiring at the end of this month and am up in the air for a while…it is OK but I really was looking forward to moving onto a new path…I am going to make some trips down that path and pave the way so it is a clear way to retirement soon.

    • July 16, 2013 3:26 pm

      Donna, I’m sorry to hear that you have had to delay your retirement plans.

  3. July 13, 2013 9:50 pm

    My server couldnt connect with blotanical with a click. I would be interested in knowing how he plans to continue.

    • July 16, 2013 3:28 pm

      Jayne, I’m sorry the link didn’t work for you. Here’s the full text of what Stuart posted:

      “To the wonderful members who have persisted with this site while we have been building Version 2 it is time to confirm that the new site is almost complete. Thank you for your patience.
      We have had a few of our esteemed gurus – namely Diana, Crafty Gardener, Jean, Nell Jean and Esther – beta testing the site and it is slowly coming together. The new and improved Picks feature is undergoing its final development stage and once this is up and running we will invite a few more of you to continue with the testing.
      Diana already has a list of who will make up this next list but if you want to ensure then feel free to comment to this thread.
      Looking forward to new beginnings…. “

  4. July 14, 2013 5:10 pm

    Love your blog-of-the-month post as usual, and now I have time to read it because I am at Casco Bay Lines waiting for the ferry. Thanks for the great day touring. Maybe we can do it again. Summer is not over!!!

    • July 16, 2013 3:32 pm

      Carolyn, I thoroughly enjoyed our day garden touring. As soon as I got home, I got online to look up information on Deinanthe cerulea. It doesn’t seem to be easy to find, but Tony Avent offers it via mail order at Plant Delights.
      Next year at this time, I won’t feel as though summer is almost over. For this year, I have two weeks left to finish various projects and then 3 weeks in August of heavy-duty course prep (one week for each course) before I head back to Gettysburg one last time.

  5. July 14, 2013 7:13 pm

    Hi Jean, you always feature some great blogs! I look forward to finding out more about this month’s recommendations. And I am really glad to hear about Blotanical! I never gave up hope, though it dimmed a bit.

    Also, thanks for your comment about the bush morning glory. You asked about means of dispersal. From what I have read, cultivated plants rarely spread by seeds. They mainly form thick clumps through means of underground suckers and layering of stems that touch the ground. This is a problem, as I said, primarily in wetlands.

    • July 16, 2013 3:35 pm

      Deb, I hope you enjoy the blogs. Your bush morning glory sounds a bit like my Hemerocallis fulva. I love these plants, but they are considered invasive in some areas. Since the flowers are sterile, however, and they spread by roots, I figure I can keep tabs on where mine are spreading to and keep them contained.

  6. July 16, 2013 2:58 pm

    I missed some of your monthly reports on new blogs. Thank yout for your always excellent recommendations.

    • July 16, 2013 3:35 pm

      Lula, I think you missed some of the monthly reports, because I missed writing them several times this year :-|.

  7. July 22, 2013 3:55 pm

    Hi Jean, I love your monthly blog discoveries! I get to discover new, interesting blogs vetted by someone whose taste and intelligence I trust. And these two are no exceptions. I especially enjoyed looking over “Garden Design Exposed.” I’m terrible at landscaping. I get too impatient and just buy the plants that strike my fancy and stick them in where, with luck, they won’t die. And his sections on color and mood and the leading line approach to composition are helpful for my photography as well as my garden. Thank you!
    Also, a HUGE thank you for your report on the imminent resurrection of Blotanical. When I found the site not too many months ago, I kept having problems and was terribly disappointed to think that it was just struggling on without a webmaster. I’m so glad that it appears that it will soon be back in full health.

    • July 22, 2013 9:25 pm

      Emily, I had the same reaction to Garden Design Exposed. I, too, am glad that Blotanical will soon be resurrected.

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