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.

***********


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.

***********


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!

***********


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.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Meet Our Community: Dee Nash, writer, podcaster, and red dirt rambler

 


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.)


Dee Nash



My front border (ignore the potting soil)
I started out in roses and later daylilies. After rose rosette disease had its way with most of my roses, I replaced the dead ones with native shrubs because they help pollinators. Native shrubs and perennials also shrug off some of our weird Oklahoma weather. As I’ve gotten older, these plants make it easier for me to garden. They require less care than roses, but I still love roses too. In fact I ordered several David Austin roses this spring to use as structural plants. I buy only the easy-care, disease-resistant roses like ‘Desdemona’, which is one of the most beautiful shrubs I’ve seen.

Gardening is a solitary project, and I’m home by myself most of the time. I started reading blogs, including May Dreams Gardens and Digging, and enjoyed interacting with other gardeners who loved gardening as much as I did. Soon I was sharing my garden online too, in part because none of my family or friends was as passionate about growing things as I was.

Tartarian aster
I started Red Dirt Ramblings to help people garden in Oklahoma, which has a changeable and difficult prairie climate. I was already writing for magazines, but the blog let me share my own trials and tribulations in growing a rural garden that’s both wooded and sunny. I garden on 7.5 acres, with about 1.5 acres in cultivation, just south of Guthrie.

Asters and flowers formerly known as asters are favorites of mine. I like their late-late show, blooming in fall, and how they help pollinators get ready for winter. They’re easy to grow and look charming as they wind around other plants in the fall garden. I still enjoy daylilies too and have over 200. I buy only a couple new ones each year now. There’s only so much room. I also grow warm-weather veggies like tomatoes, chile peppers, and eggplant. There’s nothing like homegrown food. And how could I not grow flowers for cutting? I guess I’m a generalist gardener.

Goldenrod and liatris
Sissinghurst is my favorite garden because it’s so accessible and reflects Vita Sackville-West’s personality and choices, especially now that the head gardener is going back to Vita’s notes. I also love that it has a meadow. I recently planted a meadow of my own in my upper pasture. This will be its 2nd year. I’m thrilled to see how it does.

Three years ago I became a beekeeper, and it’s been a huge learning curve. I love my little ladies though. I also co-host a podcast with Carol J. Michel called The Gardenangelists.


***********


Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Dee! You can follow Dee on her blog, Red Dirt Ramblings; on her website, Dee Nash; and on Instagram and Facebook. Listen to her podcast at The Gardenangelists.

Photographs courtesy of Dee Nash.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Meet Our Community: Laurin Lindsey and Shawn Michael, Houston designers and yaupon fans

 


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.)


Laurin Lindsey & Shawn Michael


Our home garden
We’re a husband-and-wife team who own a small landscape design/installation company in Houston called Ravenscourt, which is named after a London park and Tube station near where Laurin lived during a year abroad.

We met 13 years ago and are going into our 12th spring as business partners. We work on city residential gardens and challenge ourselves with creating gardens that invite you in, offer seasonal interest, and support wildlife. This winter provided a new adventure, as we are learning what can survive a sustained freeze and a low temperature of 11 F – in Houston! Our own garden is a pollinator/collector’s/trial garden - a hot mess that’s actually pretty if you like plants.

Our favorite plant is yaupon holly, in all its forms, because it’s bulletproof and beautiful and wildlife use it for nesting and food. Laurin’s favorite garden is RHS Garden Wisley, in Surrey outside of London, which she visited 3 times a year over a 10-year period, even after she moved back to the U.S. Shawn’s favorite “garden” is Muir Woods National Monument for its trees and feeling of tranquility. It is a place of deep communion for him. 

One of our design installations
We mostly post on Facebook and Instagram because it’s quick. But on our blog, Ravenscourt Gardens, we share personal tours and plants that do well in Houston, including plants you don’t see everywhere and those that support wildlife. On our business website we share our work and gardening info. We also share project photos on Houzz.

We believe gardening has something to offer everyone. And no matter our differences, gardening is a bridge that connects us all.

***********


Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Laurin and Shawn! You can follow them on their blog, Ravenscourt Gardens; their website Ravenscourt Landscaping & Design; Houzz; Laurin's Instagram and Ravenscourt's InstagramPinterest; and their Facebook business page and home page

Photographs courtesy of Laurin Lindsey and Shawn Michael.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Meet Our Community: Theo Margelony, fuchsia fanatic

 


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.)


R. Theo Margelony



The Fuchsietum - formerly Fuchsias in the City - is all about fuchsias! The sheer love of plants inspires me to share about them online (with major contributions of photography from Kevin Gepford). People sometimes ask where my obsession with fuchsias comes from and how long I’ve had this affliction…err…passion, and I joke that I was probably born in a bed of fuchsias.

When Kevin and I lived and gardened in Manhattan (on 1/94th of an acre), there was no greenhouse, no shed, no garage, only an apartment window and a shelf by the rear door to shelter a few favorite plants in winter. Each December I would sadly have to toss four-fifths of my fuchsias and begin again with mail-order starts in February. On the bright side, I got to experience different fuchsias every year.

In 2019 we traded the Atlantic coast for the Pacific, moving west to Portland, Oregon. It took a few months, but we finally found just the right place, a garden surrounding a 1905 cottage. That’s old by local standards, so we’re calling the project of making it over “This Old House. This New Garden.” The USDA Zone 8b-9 climate here in the Pacific Northwest is perfect for fuchsias, especially garden hardies, plus a ton of other plants from Chile to New Zealand to South Africa. In Manhattan I was mostly into ornamentals - fuchsias, hostas, ferns, and other shady characters - because of a lack of sunlight and space. But in Portland, in addition to our new garden, I have a veggie plot in a local community garden. I got misty-eyed planting tomatoes for the first time in ages.

I suspect I’m a love-the-one-you're-with kind of garden visitor. Every place I visit has something I love. Longwood Gardens and the Montreal Botanical Garden for their sheer size and diversity. Chelsea Physic Garden for its intimacy and history. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for newness and spunk. Kirstenbosch for its unrivaled collection of native plants from one of the richest floristic provinces in the world. Those proteas!

***********


Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Theo! You can follow Theo on his website, The Fuchsietum, and on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. A YouTube channel is coming soon.

Photographs courtesy of Theo Margelony.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Meet Our Community: Claire Jones, garden traveler, designer, and bouquet maker

 


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.)


Claire Jones



Favorite design for a client: a healing labyrinth
I did not pop out of the womb with trowel in hand, but close to it. My first memories are of planting seeds, and I became a landscape designer after majoring in biology/botany at Towson University. I have done just about everything you can think of in the gardening sphere, and now my passion for nature and plants has transitioned into a passion to see other gardens around the world. While still managing my landscape design business and writing, I organize and lead tours with other curious gardeners to see the world. A full schedule awaits me in the next 18 months, and I will be traveling to France, Ireland, Portugal, and Amsterdam to see Floriade, the highly anticipated garden extravaganza held every 10 years.

#bouquetoftheday: pink pussy willow
My blog, The Garden Diaries, covers a wide range of garden-related topics: beekeeping, cooking, seed starting, native plants, garden travel, floral arranging. I am always outside photographing, weeding, working in my greenhouse, or planning new gardens for clients, and my posts follow my gardening-year activities.

As an avid flower arranger, and with more time at home due to COVID, I started #BouquetOfTheDay, a Facebook group of hundreds of people from around the world. Every day I forage in my garden, greenhouse, or along roadsides to create and photograph a bouquet. This creative exercise has made me look at my garden and environment in a whole new light. It’s also become a possible future book project for me to work on. Join me on Facebook and post your own creations.

Stone sofa at Chanticleer
I live in Baltimore County, Maryland, and within a few hours’ drive I can visit a varied and eclectic palette of gardens, including Longwood. My favorite is Chanticleer, which is a laboratory for cutting-edge gardening. And their sofa and armchair made entirely of stone, with accompanying stone remote control, is so fun! I learned about my favorite plant there: balloon plant, or hairy balls (Gomphocarpus physocarpus), a milkweed that monarch caterpillars adore. I use the puffy round pods for structure in floral arrangements, and the plant gets tons of comments in my garden.

Right now I am working on Zoom presentations, and my newest is called "Earth Stewardship: What You Can Do in Your Own Backyard." As gardeners, we have the responsibility and mission to change the world, one backyard at a time.


***********


Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Claire! You can follow Claire on her blog, The Garden Diaries, and on Facebook, Instagram, and her website, Claire Jones Landscapes.

Photographs courtesy of Claire Jones.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Meet Our Community: Jason Kay and Judy Hertz, bloggers at Garden in a City

 

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.)


Jason Kay and Judy Hertz


A garden should be a private island of beauty and benevolence, a retreat from a world containing an excess of ugliness and malice. 

We’re not disciplined enough to be into just one kind of gardening. We like native plants, for sure, but not just natives. Tulips! Clematis! Gardening for bees, butterflies, and birds. Ours is sort of a prairie-style, cottagey garden with lots of colorful blooms, like Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). It grows 6 feet tall and sports fabulous, intensely orange daisies from midsummer until frost. Plus it’s a butterfly magnet!

Gardening in the Midwest, with its hot summers and freezing winters, keeps us on our toes. We live in suburban Chicago, whose motto is urbs in horto, or "city in a garden." Our blog, Garden in a City, is mostly about our own garden, native plants and wildlife gardening, and visits to other gardens and related travel. 

What drives us to share about gardening online? We crave praise and attention. :) Blogging 
is a unique space for making friends and exchanging insights -- enhanced beautifully by the Garden Bloggers Fling! Judy is the primary photographer, Jason the primary writer, although lately Judy has been writing more posts.

Our favorite garden is Monet's garden at Giverny. We love its fullness, abundance, and explosions of color.

***********


Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Jason and Judy! You can follow them on their blog, Garden in a City, and on Instagram.

Photographs courtesy of Judy Hertz.