Here are some favorite plant blogs our garden writer Valerie Easton turns to regularly for their fresh perspectives on all things garden.
There’s plenty of plant pontificating going on out there in cyberspace. The blogosphere is clogged not just with political cacophony but advice and opinions on all things garden.
As an avid book lover, it’s taken me a long time to succumb to the free-fall of the Wiki-hole, where minutes morph into hours as you click here and there, following the trail of bookmarks, rants and raves. Virtual reality just seems such a long way from the garden.
And while books, magazines and newspapers have editors to vet what they publish, poking my way through the blogs I’m reminded of a favorite New Yorker cartoon. A dog sits at a computer keyboard, paws at the ready, and beams down at his canine friend on the floor. “They don’t know you’re a dog on the Internet,” he says smugly.
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But it turns out there’s a lot more than barking going on in cyberspace. While blogs can be self-indulgent and error-filled, they can also offer fresh perspectives and knowledge more current than you’ll find in books and even magazines. Here are a few I turn to most weeks:
Garden Design Online (www.gardendesignonline.com) is what’s known as a “pro-blog” for good reason. I always learn something new from this easily navigable site, brainchild of journalist and landscape designer Jane Berger, who seems to have her keyboard on the pulse of the gardening world. Public-garden updates, what’s best in the current crop of journals, award-winning plants, as well as Berger’s concise take on the books she reads and gardens she visits, keep this blog fresh.
The Savvy Gardener (www.savingwater.org/savvygardener/ ) is our local cut-above-the-others site, from the Water Saving Partnership (the city of Seattle and local utility districts). Recently redesigned into a colorful newsletter format and delivered electronically to you, this site has expert advice on climate change and sustainable gardening practices. It keeps dirt gardening lively with tips on products, nurseries, discounts, voices and gardens of local people, and always a climate update and seasonal tasks. Also local and well worth visiting are www.rainyside.com and www.westsidegardener.com
Frugal Gardening (www.frugalgardening.com) could have spent a little more money on design, but makes up for its stodgy look by offering all those tips and tricks we wish our parents or grandparents had taught us. If you’re flexible, assertive, creative and patient, you’re the perfect frugal gardener, according to the site. The topics are amazingly varied, from using vinegar in the garden to harvesting rainwater and repurposing objects for garden use. The main writer gardens here in the Northwest.
Garden Rant (www.gardenrant.com ) is just that — a quartet of dedicated gardeners bored with perfect magazine gardens and not going to take it anymore. Amy Stewart, author of “Flower Confidential,” is the best known but all are feisty and full of good humor and passion for plants and gardens. And did I mention opinionated? This is one of the most visited gardening blogs out there, because it’s like talking to a bunch of keen gardening friends who just happen to be professional bloggers.
A Way To Garden (www.awaytogarden.com) is blogging at its best, with glorious photos and the strong voice of Margaret Roach, who, for 15 years, served as garden editor and then executive editor for Martha Stewart Living. Roach left corporate life to stay at home in rural New York where she gardens and blogs, and we’re all the richer for it. Her work is a model of brevity, seasonality and love of plants and nature, written in a voice so full of joy in her new life that it makes eschewing words written on paper worthwhile, for a few minutes, anyway.
Valerie Easton is a Seattle freelance writer and author of “A Pattern Garden.” Her e-mail address is email@example.com. Gabi Campanario is a Seattle Times news artist.