Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Global Gardening

To sit and to share - the essence of a garden.
 My design.

Gardeners are friendly people. We share seeds, plants and ideas freely – often over a cup of tea while visiting one another’s Eden. While our gardens have been designed to suit our own personal tastes and needs, we covet the approval of others and are thrilled when someone else glimpses our vision.

Many of my closest friends and special memories are associated with gardening. My post ‘Ramblings of a romantic gardener’ will introduce you to a few. However, with the miracle of the internet I have met many more wonderful gardeners around the world who share my passion and I just know that if we ever have the opportunity to meet in person we will instantly become the best of friends. How did I find them? Through a fascinating site called Blotanical, developed by Stuart Robinson from Western Australia.

Marvel at the butterflies of Mumbai, India with Sunita
Photo credit; The Urban Gardener
Blotanical (blog/botanical) invites garden bloggers like me to register their blog on this site and become part of a global network of fellow enthusiasts. From this database anyone can explore thousands of blogs based on geographical location, name, by popularity or content. I have admired the dragonflies of Mumbai in ‘The Urban Gardener’ and virtually-visited South Africa with ‘Elephant’s Eye’ to gaze in wonder at the wildlife and exquisite native flora. There are blogs focused on homesteading, organic gardening, landscape design and personal anecdotes as everyday folks enjoy their gardens. In other words there is something for everyone.

An armchair safari to South Africa
Photo credit; Elephant's Eye
We don’t all look for the same thing in a ‘good’ blog, any more than we all like the same gardening magazine or book. Personally I enjoy well written text supported by high quality photographs over say a photo essay with minimal text. I love to learn and revel in exploring new areas, new ideas and new techniques. However, I also enjoy the more reflective posts, especially those which celebrate the breathtaking beauty which surrounds us.

With that said I’d like to introduce you to three of my new gardening friends and their blogs, all of which I found through Blotanical. I feel a strong connection to these women. Although they live thousands of miles away I have strolled through their gardens with them, admired the new plants they have added, made notes on some of their ingenious ideas and chatted (online) about our shared experiences. The only thing missing is that cup of tea – and I hope that one day we may be able to share that too. Let me introduce them to you;

Take a journey with Deb's Garden
Photo credit; Deb's Garden
Deb’s Garden; Deb Elliott has gardened in Helena, Alabama since 1985 so we are treated to enjoying a garden nurtured and molded over several decades. This is a blog for plant and nature lovers. Deb takes us through her majestic woodland garden to see the fall color showing us how she has used the color blue to tie it all together in ‘The Secret of my Woodland Garden’. This is an unexpected choice that works so well I am going to copy it! She tells hilarious stories such as ‘The War of the Planter’ , invites us to join her in a glider plane adventure as she soars above the Hiwassee River in Tennessee (Fall Foliage by Trains and Glider Plane) and gives us permission to stand still and appreciate the wonders of Nature with her exquisite macro shots of spiders spinning their webs, luscious leaves backlit by the slanting, watery rays of fall sunshine and shiny acorns still snuggled in their knobby cups (September Plans and an Alien in my Garden). When I read Deb’s Garden I seem to breathe a little slower as I stroll around the garden with her, savoring all that Nature has to offer. Without a doubt, we are kindred spirits.

Who can fail to be moved by such natural
Photo credit; Microcosm
Microcosm is written by Stacy from Albuquerque, New Mexico – a place I have never visited but is now firmly on my wish list! Her awe inspiring photographs of a recent trip to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument are to blame. The images of wind chiseled rocks and deep canyons combined with her expressive writing allow us to experience this surreal landscape no matter where we live. An amusing yet poignant post ‘Pre-emptive Strikes’ is another favorite of mine as Stacy shares her dismay at her damaged desert olive trees in August. Disease? Caterpillars?  No – but you’ll have to read the article to find out what was responsible for such devastation – and why she didn’t mind. Stacy’s eloquent narrative deserves to be read slowly, allowing time to savor each reflection before moving on.

Explore the Irish hedgerows of Foxglove Lane
Photo credit; Foxglove Lane
Foxglove Lane comes from the garden of Catriona Ni Draoi (the Gaelic translation of Catherine Drea)  down a winding country lane in Ireland where she celebrates the “ordinary, everyday stuff of rural life”.  She shares the treasures to be found in the Irish countryside through the lens of her camera in ‘Hedgerows of silver and white as everything, including me goes to seed....’ (This is another phenomenal photographer I might add). We can sit with her at the little lake she enjoys every day from her window, sharing in the simple thrill of watching herons fly by and the sun go down in ‘For once the little lake gets a starring role’.  And we can marvel at the beauty of the tiny birds which visit – and laugh at the patience required to photograph them in ‘Bird photography may require a bit more patience than I have......’

In the future I’ll introduce you to some more of my favorites as there are far more than just these three and I feel bad about not including them all at once. However I want to invite you to visit these gardeners first and to see our amazing world through their eyes, their words and their images.

Remember you can head over to Blotanical and do a little exploring on your own too. I suggest you start in the section ‘Most faved blogs’ (I know the grammar is horrendous; Australian-Blotanical language, not mine!). Just dip in here and there and see what draws you.

Share your favorites!

Related, nature-inspired posts from my own blog which you might enjoy;


  1. Karen - my dream is to have a patio like the one in your first photo. When I win the lottery... I'll give you a call. ;-)

  2. Julz - You know that is one of the cheapest - and easiest to lay. I'd be happy to explain how to do it yourself. Just shoot me an email

  3. Microcosm was one I found, and lured, to Blotanical. Deb's blue bridge is one of the icons of garden blogging - did you read her post - she built it herself!

  4. Elephant's Eye - I'm SO glad you introduced us to Microcosm. Stacy is an incredible writer.

    Yes I love Deb's bridge and have already told my husband I'll be staining ours blue as soon as the wood dries out in spring! I had thought about it before but hesitated until I saw her photographs.

    Incidentally this blog was posted on LinkedIn and I have received comments already about your own beautiful site. Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing with us all.

  5. Karen, what a lovely, generous post! Thank you for the kind words about Microcosm--and about New Mexico, which I'm so glad to have sparked your interest in! If and when you find your way here to explore, I will have the kettle on and will look forward to that cup of tea!

    I'm well acquainted with some of the other blogs you mention, especially Elephant's Eye, but am just discovering some of the others. Thanks for recommending particular posts--they're always such a helpful introduction to another blog!

    Your own blog has been a delightful discovery, you know--your love of what you do and where you are and of plants and gardens and nature really shine from every post.

  6. Stacy, your blog Microcosm is a treasure to be savored. You deserve recognition not just for the quality of your work but for the insights you share. Let's hope we meet one day.

  7. Karen, I share your preference for well written text supported by good photographs, so most of these are already favorites of mine. But Foxglove Lane is new to me, so I'm going to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation. -Jean

  8. Some of my favourites too but there are just so many...

  9. Thank you for including my garden too, Karen :)
    And thank you for those great links to the other blogs you've featured.
    I love pottering in thousands of gardens around the globe with Blotanical. It's a great resource and like you, I've built up strong friendships with gardeners thousands of miles away. I love it when I get messages from garden-enthusiasts from places I've never heard of before. Amazing! Suddenly the world is a smaller place and all it took was a garden to make it so :)

  10. Sunita, I feel exactly the same way and with your incredible photographs on the Urban Gardener you show me plants and wildlife I could otherwise only imagine.

    Love your comment that "suddenly the world is a smaller place and all it took was a garden". So very true.

  11. Thanks for putting the post on LinkedIn. I am there too, but don't 'use' it much.

  12. Thanks to your mention in this post, my Icerocket rank has bounced up beautifully!

  13. Great news Elephant's Eye - happy that I have helped more people find you!

  14. Dear Karen, I have been away from the computer for a few days and just discovered your wonderful feature about my blog. I am so honored. I enjoy your own blog immensely and respect your opinion, and so this means a lot to me! Thank you!


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