Last week I was invited to speak to the Little Garden Club in Leland, Michigan about why I started a blog and how I went about it. That was a great honor for me and I really enjoyed myself. In preparation for my presentation I took the time to put into words exactly what inspired me to do this blog.
Here it is in a nutshell. I’ve been hanging out in the garden since I was little — see the circa 1954 photo of me at the right where I’m using my beloved watering can.
Since I grew up on a farm, the idea of being outside and digging in the dirt (and what kid doesn’t like digging in the dirt) was pretty natural. I followed mom into the garden during the day and occasionally got the treat of heading into orchard with dad. Attending a rural school we had lots of science fairs and looking back on my entries they were always focused on some aspect of horticulture.
When I married and moved to the city I brought plants to every place we lived and our last house in the city, before “moving home” featured a backyard with border gardens, shrubs, hops, and raised beds. One of our final gardening projects there was planting the “Hell Strip”. The Hell Strip is that space between the curb and the sidewalk that usually looks terrible every summer. The winter’s salt applications in our cold climate pretty much kill grass so without a planting plan and salt tolerant plants in the strip you have that gardener’s bane, weeds.
Since moving home, which is on 15 acres of the family farm, I’ve converted the front yard fully to garden that combines native and adaptable plants. The payoff — more color and after the planting mania — less work.
This summer we’ve redone the plantings nearest the house, most recently ripping out three Japanese barberry shrubs and a bunch of lavender that grew there and uncovering a paved walkway that the lavender had obscured.
So that’s how my garden emerged. Along the way I gained Michigan Master Gardener certification and got heavily involved with the organization at the local and state levels. That’s put me in touch with gardeners who share my passion and who are great sources of information.
My decision to blog came out of my experience as a professional writer. I started as a journalist and then moved into public relations and advertising. I spent a career writing for others and there was a great appeal to writing in my own voice PLUS my husband kept urging me on to write about my experience. Of course, advice to writers is always “write what you know” so I decided to develop a blog where I share the knowledge I gain from my successes and failures in the garden. I also blog about the books I’ve read on different gardening subjects and also the tools I’ve begun using that allow me to continue gardening into my “later years”. My passion for tools comes from my farmer father who taught me early on that you need the right tool for the job. Digging in the dirt with a teaspoon just doesn’t work!