Why do we blog?

The social media explosion forever changed electronic communication around the globe.  The advent of web blogs brought a new, dynamic opportunity for gardeners to communicate with other gardeners.

Suddenly, as more and more gardeners entered the blogging realm, the could read blogs to get real-life information about what works and doesn’t work in their gardens.

They were able to share the highs, lows, quirky stories, and unique experiences and Gardeners embraced this new realm.

Even at the very first Garden Bloggers Fling held here in Austin a decade ago, we had breakout sessions to discuss the future of blogging.  Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens spoke about the evolving social aspects of blogging.  Kathy Purdy of Cold ClimateGardening discussed the emerging technical issues of maintaining a blog.  Bloggers shared their experiences with Blogger and Word Press programs, monetizing blogs, and the future of blogging.  Even a decade ago, this issue was a burning question.

As the next waves of social media washed over the internet, bloggers expanded their reach, adding Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to expand their outreach repertoire.  Families, jobs, and even gardening, got in the way of publishing detailed and let’s face it, time-consuming posts.

It’s so simple now – throw up140 characters, a great photo, and a snippet of information, and voila, you’re done.  More people see these condensed, tiny bytes of information.  It only takes a few minutes out of your day.

Does this mean that the world of blogging is quietly slipping into the dark of night, a light soon to be extinguished by the new rush to post as fast as you can in real time?

I’d argue no.  While some bloggers find other social media channels more to their liking, others prefer to continue blogging, using those tools to promote their longer, detailed posts.

I’m in the latter camp, and I’m not alone.  Blogging gives me something that none of the other outlets do.

It allows me to express my passion for gardening and to share it with others.  My posts provide information, tips, lots of photos and the story that is continually evolving in my garden.  In return, I’m grateful to have the perspective of others from around the world to expand my horizons with the same cornucopia of detailed information.

The blogging world may have lost a few gardeners to a faster medium that better suits their needs, but I would argue that there will always be a yearning for all that nitty gritty information we dive into on our respective blogs.  We trial plants for each other, we share tips, we experiment, and we celebrate our successes and commiserate over our losses.

There will always be a thirst for knowledge and a demand for detail.  Nothing will replace a blogs ongoing personal perspective that readers can’t always find on a newsstand or in a book. This fulfilling electronic connection cultivates a loyal readership and friendships that span the globe.  It’s why we blog and it’s why we garden bloggers gather each year for the Garden Bloggers Fling.

And, I feel privileged to be among this special group of garden bloggers.  We’ll celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Fling May3-6.  See you all in Austin in 97 days!


By | 2018-01-27T17:30:47+00:00 January 27th, 2018|Blog, bloggers, Fling, Sharing Nature's Garden|2 Comments

Garden Bloggers Fling cottage-style garden of Casa Mariposa

Long, hot days and late nights aside, the 2017 Garden Bloggers Fling, held two weekends ago in the Northern Virginia/DC area, had it all.  Surrounded by friends old and new, we toured botanical gardens, private gardens and the many gardens along the National Mall in D.C.

The Fling team did a fabulous job of hosting and things ran like clockwork.  Our chief organizer and hostess writes a garden blog at Casa Mariposa.  We were all excited to see her garden in person.

This quaint arbor and gate mark the entrance to the back garden.

The back garden was overflowing with a rainbow of blooms .

The back was a pollinator’s paradise,

Sweet birdhouses dotted the garden.

A collection of pots and garden art lined the back steps into the house.

A dry creek helps with drainage and provides a hardscape contrast to the delicate flowers.

The shady parts of the garden are brightened by variegated plants.

Bloggers, bloggers everywhere!

I may have to steal this clever idea.  Since dogs always want to run the fence line, we need to work with them, not against them! A cleverly concealed little fence gives the dogs room to run to their hearts’ content without tearing through the beds.

I loved all of the complimentary and contrasting colors in her garden.  I think this combination was my favorite. Opposites really do attract!

Stayed tuned for many more posts about the beautiful Fling gardens.

Marvelous Magnolia is a design destination…

I’m behind in my blogging right now (although I always feel like I’m behind!) because it’s been a very busy spring in the landscaping business.  I’m grateful for the nice weather and my fabulous clients and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Today I need a little pick me up, so I’m going to share with you my thoughts and photos from a recent day trip a few Austin garden bloggers took to visit Magnolia in Waco, Texas.

If you’ve been living under a cable tv rock, Magnolia is the brand-brain child of Chip and Joanna Gaines, whose wildly-popular television show, Fixer Upper, has taken the design world by storm.  They help people buy homes in need of updating and then transform them into gorgeous properties.

Following the Martha Stewart business model, they now have a retail outlet, online store, bakery, and food trailer court located at a property that previously only held old, dilapidated grain silos.  They now boast branded wallpaper, paint, you-name-it products for any kind of design imaginable.  They even have a small garden shop and garden at the Silos.

We put on our comfortable shoes and headed out for an early morning road trip on a beautiful day.

The silos themselves are under construction right now, and will be home to more retail space at some time in the near future.

I think modern farmhouse best describes Joanna’s most well-known style, but you could also call it romantic,




and ecclectic.  I was smitten with all the collections of quaint items, and loved the use of repetition in the design of the store.  Just as in our gardens, repeating patterns, colors, items and forms adds interest to the design.

Let me tell you, this place is POPULAR.  Tour companies bus people in every day.  It is a zoo.  But it was a zoo we all had to see for ourselves.  The line to check out was 3 x the width of the large store.  But we chatted with others, picked up more items along the way as the line moved and just settled in.  It moved pretty fast and I have to give them credit for a very efficient check-out system with multiple helpers at each station that kept things moving smoothly.

After we conquered the store, we went outside to grab a table and peruse the food trucks for some tasty lunch.  My travel partners for the day, left to right  –

Rebecca of Rebecca’s Retreat   Wendy of The Rabid Gardener   Robin of Getting Grounded

The hand-washing station and dog water bowl.

We didn’t stand in line at the bakery, having had enough of standing in the store and at the food trucks, but it looked adorable and had a lovely seating area.

The center of the outside area sported an artificial turf play and lounge area, bordered by slouchy-bean-bag-style chairs.  Toys were available to use and families relaxed here and let their kids enjoy the open space after being forced to keep their hands to themselves inside the crowded store.

No design opportunity wasted, this industrial steel framework now serves as a series of giant planter boxes and holds a large array of hanging baskets to soften and brighten the area.

In front of the entrance to the garden and garden shop, vegetables and colorful plants welcome visitors.

The garden shop is quite small, so we were only let inside in small numbers, but as expected, the wares included quaint succulents, pottery, seeds and garden art.  

The vegetable garden looked neat and lovingly tended.

I’d shopped at the online store before we went on our excellent shopping adventure, so I already owned some sweet Magnolia paraphernalia.  Here are just a few of the things I bought on our trip.

We had a delightful time, did some serious shopping and even stopped at a north Austin nursery on our way back into town.  Here’s what we learned about planning our next trip:  Tuesday afternoon is apparently the best time to visit.  Weekends and Mondays are always busy, and mornings bring in busloads of people.  So, if you’re planning to check it out, Tuesday mid-day may be your best bet.  Pack the patience, wear comfortable shoes and a hat and sunscreen, and enjoy!

Buffalo gardens amaze & impress

As I traveled home from a delightful time in Buffalo for the garden bloggers’ Buffa10 gathering, I tried to think of the best way to describe the gardens I’d seen.

It wasn’t easy.

We had a whirlwind 4 days — seeing sights, touring gardens, meeting and making friends and smelling the roses.

Our hosts, Elizabeth Licata of Gardening While Intoxicated and Jim Charlier of Art of Gardening took us on a fairytale tour of their beautiful city and its gardens. They were perfect ambassadors who opened our eyes to not only the gardens of the city, but the art and the architecture and the city’s rich history.

A wide variety of gardens and gardeners welcomed us with open arms as we descended upon the city.

And while they ranged from jam-packed cottage gardens to simple, zen-like Asian gardens, they all had one thing in common.

They were lush.

Really lush.

There — that was it, that was the word that captured all the gardens we had the good fortune to see. According to, there are many ways to describe something lush.

Main Entry: lush
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: profuse and delightful
Synonyms: abundant, ambrosial, delectable, delicious, deluxe, dense, elaborate, extensive, extravagant, exuberant, flourishing, fresh, grand, green, heavenly, juicy, lavish, luscious, luxuriant, luxurious, opulent, ornate, overgrown, palatial, plush, prodigal, prolific, rank, rich, riotous, ripe, ritzy, scrumptious, sensuous, succulent, sumptuous, teeming, tender, verdant,

Oddly enough, the weather when my travel companion Pam, of Digging, and I arrived, was actually hotter than in Austin, Texas! Back home – 86, Buffalo – 91!
On our first afternoon, we enjoyed a walking tour of the Allentown Gardens, including a stop for happy hour at Elizabeth’s garden.
Then we were treated to a fabulous dinner and a tour of the 20th Century Club and its gardens. See that sun?!
Garden bloggers Leslie of Growing a Garden in Davis, Robin of Bumblebee Blog and Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening are probably discussing the uncharacteristically hot weather in Buffalo as we wait for dinner.
And now, more lushness.
The beauty was blurred, one stunning garden after another, as we stumbled along – not knowing which street we were on or whose garden it was, just struck by the amazing displays of annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and garden art.
And then there was the amazing architecture, including some borrowed views of historic buildings like this one.
Each garden delivered a new perspective, a different plant list and a unique feel to our troupe of 70 visitors.

And I, for one, will carry these amazing memories with me for a long time. Buffalo is a beautiful, historic city, and one I would gladly visit again and again.

There is so much more to see — stay tuned for more posts about our amazing adventure. This just covered the first 6 hours!

Passalong present … awesome Oxblood lilies

What wonderful garden blogging friends I have. Today I had a delightful tour of Zanthan Gardens and tonight I am the proud and thankful owner of a bucket-o-Oxblood lilies.

MSS shared her amazing bounty with me, as she has with so many others in the gardening community. Her post and her photos of her collection, truly are amazing, as is her garden. We had fun talking to her goldfish in the pond and sharing garden tales.
So I promptly brought my bucket home and found special places to tuck these beautiful specimens. I divided them into four groups — two went into the corner bed and two went into the shade bed.

They are all safe and sound asleep tonight inside the fence, as I learned that the deer do like them with their salad.

For more on deer salad – see the sidebar!

By | 2017-11-29T23:27:52+00:00 October 7th, 2008|Blog, bloggers, Oxblood lilies, Sharing Nature's Garden|0 Comments