Thursday, April 8, 2021

Meet Our Community: Jean McWeeney, container and pollinator gardener

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week or so we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Jean McWeeney



My former garden in Ruston, LA
My gardening chops were honed in the South, where I’ve been gardening my whole adult life, first in Austin, then north Louisiana, and now Houston.

When I first heard about garden blogs, I thought it would be a great way to keep a journal about my own garden and learn from others. So I started Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog, naming it after the gardening cycle. For 10 years I blogged about my garden in north Louisiana and my travels, which usually included a plant-y thing or two. In 2019 my husband and I moved to Houston and a rented house, and I’m now gardening exclusively in containers. What a switch! I’ve also moved over to Instagram because of the ease of posting photos there. I do miss musing on lengthier topics though.

My patio garden in Houston
Even though I’m now gardening in containers on my patio, I still try to create a sense of peace and tranquility. I also love wildlife, so there are lots of pollinator-friendly plants. A good day is watering the pots and topping up the fountain, maybe potting up a plant, and sitting on the patio watching the bees, butterflies, wasps, and birds. Besides pollinator plants I grow succulents, herbs, peppers, orchids, water plants, and the odd tree and rose.

I love just about all types of gardens, and through attending the Garden Bloggers Fling over the years I’ve seen some fabulous ones, both public and private. In fact, I have to put in a plug for attending the Fling. The annual tours have opened my eyes to the rich variety of gardens in North America and the passion of gardeners everywhere, and they’ve introduced me to some wonderful people I now call friends.


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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Jean! Visit Jean at Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog, and follow her on Instagram.

Photographs courtesy of Jean McWeeney.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Meet Our Community: Chris Link, co-founder of Plant Addicts

 

Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Chris Link




I started Plant Addicts 3 years ago with my business partner, Richard, whom I’ve known since elementary school. We sell plants online in the Lower 48 states and provide plant care information. Our goal is to help new gardeners be as successful as possible. That allows them to enjoy gardening more and makes happier customers for us. It also gives us brand recognition with people who may not be in the market for a plant at the moment, but who will hopefully think of us the next time they are looking for a plant.

I live in Valley, Nebraska, near Omaha. The more I learn and write about gardening, the more I love it. I started gardening 6 years ago. Hydrangea is my favorite plant, and I also like sedum, a super-underrated plant in my opinion. Sedums are evergreen, great for butterflies, and soooooo easy to care for! Lately I'm getting into growing food and herbs. However, growing rosemary indoors has been my nemesis.

Garden Walk Buffalo in New York is my favorite tour because you get to visit so many gardens. It’s truly a community event. Even the yards that aren’t on the official tour are beautiful, and the entire city makes an effort to grow beautiful yards and gardens. I haven't seen any other place that takes so much collective pride in their yards.

When we launched Plant Addicts -- essentially from our couches -- Richard and I were still working at full-time jobs. Last fall we took a leap of faith and now focus on our business full-time. Somehow we’re even busier than before! A major project we’re working on with our website is providing info for people who have never gardened before, explaining the differences between each plant type and how to pick out plants that are perfect for their spot. We hope to encourage more people to start gardening.

Chris (left) with his family, Holly, Lydia & Delilah, and Richard (right) with his family, Stephanie & Krew


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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Chris! Visit Plant Addicts and its gardening blog, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram

Photographs courtesy of Chris Link.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Meet Our Community: Lisa Wagner, garden educator and blogger

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Lisa Wagner



Raised-bed vegetables in mid-May
My gardening passions are solidly divided between naturalistic gardening with native plants (providing habitat for wildlife) and vegetable gardening. Growing up, I took a keen interest in my grandma’s garden in Northern California, which was full of vegetables and fruits, much of which she canned. My own first gardening enthusiasms were for edibles too, including fruit trees and berries. At the time, I was founding director of a small botanical garden on an old homestead willed to the Georgia college where I taught. There I focused on adding native plants, creating pollinator-friendly borders, and overseeing a children’s vegetable garden program. Later, my husband and I moved to a wonderful old house in upstate South Carolina surrounded by a LOT of lawn. Over 20 years we transformed most of that lawn into a native woodland garden, native perennial beds, a meadow, naturalistic shrub borders, and a vegetable garden.

I have a special fondness for early-flowering native wildflowers like bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), hepatica, and trout lily (Erythronium americanum). When bloodroot flowers in late March, it’s a wonderful sight.

I’m a plant ecologist by background but spent most of my career connecting people to plants and nature as a garden educator. I continue to teach and do presentations as a volunteer in Asheville, North Carolina, where we live part time. We also have a house in Le Bic, Quebec.

Two of my favorite gardens are Great Dixter in southern England and Jardins de M├ętis/Reford Gardens in eastern Quebec. Both are remarkably individualistic creations by passionate horticulturists and continue to be beautifully managed as public gardens while still exuding the creativity and passion of the original gardeners.

Pocket meadow in late August
I started my blog Natural Gardening in 2007 to reflect on what I had been doing, observing, and enjoying in the garden. I loved writing posts and sharing photos, and it became an almost daily practice. Three of my gardens are now documented: our former S.C. garden, our garden in Asheville, and our native plant-oriented garden in Quebec. Blogging connects me with the natural world by allowing me to revisit past seasons and track things like the arrival of the first hummingbird in spring or flowering times of native wildflowers or when I planted sugar snap peas. I appreciate having a visual record of how the gardens have changed over time. But equally important, regular writing has honed my observation skills, clarified my writing, and encouraged me to expand creatively in other ways, especially by returning to art. Several years ago I started a second blog, Places of the Spirit, as part of a year-long daily writing challenge. I continue to write there about a wider range of topics, including foodways, culture, nature, and sense of place.

I’m currently working on a book about the improbable story of how two Americans, who spoke little French at the time, bought a historic cottage in Quebec surrounded by ornamental gardens and rustic outbuildings. It includes our experiences over the two summers and winters we’ve spent there. I’m hopeful we can return to Quebec this summer after a year away.

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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Lisa! You can follow Lisa on her blogs, Natural Gardening and Places of the Spirit.

Photographs courtesy of Lisa Wagner.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Meet Our Community: Angie Rose, food grower and “crazy chicken lady”

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)



Angie Rose



In my early twenties I discovered the wonder of small-town farmers’ markets here in the northern suburbs of Boston. I was fascinated to taste fruits and vegetables I had never seen at my grocery store, like cucamelons and ground cherries. Inspired, I decided to try growing in my own yard. While assessing my soil, however, I ran into a giant problem - rocks. So with my newfound internet knowledge of healthier, amended soil, I made my first raised bed. That’s how it all began!

One of my early experiments was trying cold-weather growing in a raised bed. I created an inexpensive hoop house and planted a bunch of cold-hardy crops to see what worked and what didn’t. More grew than I had anticipated, and I enjoyed fresh greens even in the coldest months. My favorite parts of gardening are experimenting and sharing with others. It brings me great pleasure to be able to grow fresh, organic food that I can share with friends, family, and the farm animals I care for. As a side note, I’m definitely classified as a crazy chicken lady!

One of the first plants I grew from seed was a morning glory. It amazed me how tall that little seed grew in just a tiny cup of dirt sitting on my windowsill. Ever since, I’ve been drawn to vining plants: honeysuckle, climbing roses, sweet peas, clematis, and hops. I love watching the stems grow tall, reaching for the sun, and seeing the butterflies and hummingbirds they attract to my yard.

Joining social media opened my eyes to different gardening concepts. The online community was so encouraging, and learning from others helped build my confidence as a novice gardener. I created my blog, Angie The Freckled Rose, to share my triumphs and failures with others who are passionate about gardening.

I’ve visited many beautiful gardens on my travels, but my absolute favorite is at Hillwood Estate in Washington, D.C. I’m especially drawn to its variety of naturalistic water features. Those gardens are so elegant!

Recently I’ve joined the houseplant craze. I love propagating cuttings from pothos, philodendron, and tradescantia. I’m also having fun designing small terrariums and reading up on aquascaping art like wabi-kusa. I have a freshwater aquarium filled with fish, snails, and plants, and I find it relaxing to work on my underwater garden.

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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Angie! You can follow Angie on her blog, Angie The Freckled Roseand on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Photographs courtesy of Angie Rose.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Meet Our Community: Maya Bartolf, secret-garden seeker and blogger at Flowers and Grapes

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Maya Bartolf



"Honey Bee," one of my favorite arrangements for its rustic farm vibe

I live in San Rafael, California, gateway to the wine country of Northern California. Like so many during the Covid-19 lockdown, I’ve experienced the loss of loved ones, loss of a job (as an education tech consultant), and the absence of some of the simple joys of daily life I took for granted. My blog, Flowers and Grapes, is a creative endeavor that’s reconnected me to my garden and flower communities while living in isolation with my husband as new empty-nesters.

Each day I look for poetry to feed my soul. I’ve begun to see it everywhere in the garden, trees, and surrounding hills. I’ve also found it in family, friendships, art, books, movies, and culture. Beauty is everywhere. Seeing the world through nature and culture nourishes my creativity and hope.

I love abundant, romantic, and whimsical secret gardens. The unexpected and a sense of time, theater, and intimacy are hallmarks of gardens that I seek out in my travels – like the small, poetic garden I visited at the back of the Fortuny factory showroom in Venice, with ivy-covered walls, grapes, roses, and even a pool.

My garden in the fall
In my first career I was an art historian and curator, and that background still inspires me as a self-taught gardener. In a second career as a designer, I launched Today’s Bouquet, a boutique floral design business using heirloom flowers from my garden. Unfortunately I had to pivot away from this dreamy career because of the challenges of ongoing drought as well as family demands.

My garden is a small suburban cottage garden at the edge of the Lucas Valley Watershed. I garden densely because of limited space and love an abundance of colorful flowers. However I’m transitioning to the realities of my summer-dry climate, where rain comes mainly in winter and temperatures can exceed 100 F in summer. Inspired by Saxon Holt and his important new book, Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates, I’m integrating more climate-appropriate plants into my garden.

With this transition, I’m discovering the beauty of native and drought-tolerant plants and plan to write more about sustainable gardening. I also enjoy connecting with the garden blogging community and learning from other gardeners and flower fanatics. I dream of a Garden Bloggers Fling in the California wine country. Wine, gardens, and the extraordinary fellowship of our blogging community - perfect pairings!

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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Maya! You can follow Maya on her blog, Flowers and Grapesand on Instagram and Facebook.

Photographs courtesy of Maya Bartolf.