The Best of the Summer Blogs

One of the things I enjoy most about reading gardening blogs is that they’re so *now*. I’d be the last one to criticize books and magazines, but there’s just something more fun about reading blog posts. They’ve not been smoothed and processed by a series of editors, copyeditors, fact-checkers, and designers; the writing may be a little rough or have a few typos, and the photos may be a little out of focus or color-skewed. But for the most part, they’re fresh, and they’re passionate: a reflection of whatever the writer currently finds fascinating about his or her garden, whether it’s a weather-related issue, a favorite plant or tool, a design challenge, or visiting wildlife.

Books and magazines do have one advantage: At least you have something to hold and keep and refer to later, and it’s still there even if you don’t have time to read it right away. With blogs, new posts come along so frequently that it’s way too easy to miss some gems. And gosh, with so many new blogs popping up every week on Blotanical, it’s astounding to think of how much we’re all missing.

So, here’s your chance to save some of those past posts from archive obscurity and tell us about your favorites from the last few months (let’s say from May 1 to September 1). You’re welcome to share links to other people’s posts, but what we’d really like to know is your favorites from your own blog. If you want to participate, feel free to leave a few links (anywhere from one to five would be fine) to posts that have special meaning for you, that you think were especially interesting, or that you just had a great time writing and want to share again. We won’t leave comments on individual responses below, but we will appreciate every one, and we’ll try to check them all out, even though it may take us all winter to catch up!

(By the way, the photo above? Well, I was hoping to come up with some clever analogy about blog achives being like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and sharing favorite old posts being twice as nice, but well, it just sounded corny. So, it’s here just because I think it’s neat, and it’s one of my own favorite memories from this summer.)

About Nancy J. Ondra

Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.

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24 Responses to The Best of the Summer Blogs

  1. Lisa at Greenbow September 12, 2008 at 8:54 pm #

    Oh Mercy, this is gonna be good. I can’t wait for that pot o’ gold to show up.

  2. Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden) September 12, 2008 at 10:04 pm #

    We built our house in 2005, so I had to start these gardens from scratch. I like to blog about the obstacles that I’ve overcome; perhaps to show others than gardening can be done!

    Outside our cottage garden fence has been especially challenging — deer, rabbits, full sun, drought last year — so, my favorite is seeing my vision of a colorful, deer resistant garden look good after being started in 2006, with most perennials planted in 2007. I’m not a collector of anything special, I just use perennials, shrubs, bulbs and grasses that I like.

    http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com/2008/07/designing-colorful-deer-resistant.html

    My second favorite blog is the one that I wrote about managing rain. We built a rain garden and a dry streambed to handle the runoff from storms, while growing moisture-lovers in those areas (that could also withstand drought).

    http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com/2008/07/managing-heavy-rains-in-garden.html

    #3 would be the one on Knock-Out roses. With deer outside the fence, I have a small area where I can grow any roses. Even with that the Japanese Beetles do terrible damage each year — another obstacle to garden around.

    http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com/2008/08/knock-out-roses.html

    Thank you for the opportunity to mention these favorites.
    Cameron at Defining Your Home Garden

  3. Les September 13, 2008 at 7:14 am #

    I love to garden and my blog is one way to share that, and it enables me to see what other people do. However, I think I am just as happy when I am in the uncultivated natural world. My church aisles are hiking paths, my stained glass the sky, and the pews are boulders or a sandy spot on the beach. So I would like to share three of my favorite natural spots that I wrote picture heavy posts on this summer.

    The first is a short day trip from my house:

    http://atidewatergardener.blogspot.com/2008/06/chippokes-plantation-state-park-surry.html

    The next is a bit wilder and one of my favorite mountain spots well out of my horticultural zone:

    http://atidewatergardener.blogspot.com/2008/08/mt-rogers-grayson-highlands-state-park.html

    Finally, the last post is is an island that is very special to my family:

    http://atidewatergardener.blogspot.com/2008/08/metompkin-island.html

    Thanks for the invitation to share.

  4. Louise September 13, 2008 at 7:35 am #

    My absolute favorite blog this year was night blooming cereus. I had 10 blooms at a time and since it only blooms for about 4-6 hours, it was truly an event!
    http://buddygarden.com/blog/2008/07/21/night-blooming-cereus/

  5. Craig at Ellis Hollow September 13, 2008 at 8:11 am #

    Five seemed like a lot at first, but it was tough to narrow down, Nan:

    Minns Garden gate by Durand Van Doren
    http://www.remarc.com/craig/?p=385
    Wrought iron flowers woven into magnificent (and huge) garden gate on Cornell campus.

    Early July bloom day scans
    http://www.remarc.com/craig/?p=420
    Judging from the comments, one of my better efforts capturing flowers on an office scanner.

    Backlit
    http://www.remarc.com/craig/?p=424
    Taking a different angle when the sun is low.

    GBBD scans and pix: Details, details.
    http://www.remarc.com/craig/?p=446
    More scans and photos from August.

    It’s Like That
    http://www.remarc.com/craig/?p=386
    And just for fun, a lesson in globilization: ‘ 30s-era Russian soldiers dance competitively to Run-DMC.

    It was fun to take a quick look back this morning. Thanks, Nan.

  6. Jim September 13, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    I tend to like what posts I’ve done for the Garden Blogger’s Workshops you are kind enough to host here at Gardening Gone Wild. It makes me tackle topics I might not think of on my own. And it’s a chance to impart some useful information, rather than ramblings.

    Here’s a few:
    Deck Envy:
    http://web.me.com/charlierj/ArtOfGardening/Home/Entries/2008/6/22_%22Deck_Envy%22.html

    Full Frontal:
    http://web.me.com/charlierj/ArtOfGardening/Home/Entries/2008/4/29_Full_Frontal.html

    Someone Said Color?:
    http://web.me.com/charlierj/ArtOfGardening/Home/Entries/2008/2/7_Someone_said_color.html

    And this minimal-text post on my iris I think is graphically stunning, if I do say so myself:
    http://web.me.com/charlierj/ArtOfGardening/Home/Entries/2008/6/5_My_iris_eyes_are_smiling..html

    And, I enjoy anything written here:
    Leave me Alone, I’m Digging:
    http://leavemealoneimdigging.blogspot.com/

  7. susan harris September 13, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    Nancy, whatever makes you think bloggers might want to brag on their favorite posts? Me, I’m simply too modest to tell you about:
    “Golf, will it ever go green?” http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/08/golf-will-it-ev.html

    “Radical Front-Yard Farmer Throws in the Towel”
    http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/07/radical-front-y.html

    “‘The Garden” wins top documentary prize and is a must-see”
    http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/06/documentary-the.html

    “Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”
    http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/06/barbara-kingsol.html

    And “Movie Event: ‘A Man Named Pearl’” http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2008/05/movie-event-a-m.html

  8. Nancy Bond September 13, 2008 at 8:56 pm #

    Three of my favorite summer links are:

    http://nancybond.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/blotanical-one-growing-season/
    Blotanical: One Growing Season, because it was nice to give Stuart his dues and observe how much we’d all grown in one season

    http://nancybond.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/treasure-your-garden/
    Treasure Your Garden, because I love sharing my poetry when someone will read or listen :)

    http://nancybond.wordpress.com/2008/06/29/salty-rose/
    Salty Rose, as I posted a photo from one of my favorite places on Earth, and I liked the sentiment of the quote

    Thanks for the opportunity to share these again!

  9. Jen September 13, 2008 at 11:28 pm #

    Hi Nancy, I have got to say what a wonderful idea this is. I read about it on Fern’s blog, Life on a Balcony, linking to your post.

    This is my favorite post, since I have only been blogging since July.
    Very tongue in cheek, but it did get some favorable reviews……

    http://muddybootdreams.blogspot.com/2008/07/garden-hint-you-might-never-have-heard.html

    And it does work!
    Thanks for letting us share.
    Jen

  10. Fern September 14, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    What a neat idea for a post! I’ve enjoyed reading the posts other people linked to above.

    Here are mine:

    Step-by-Step Tips for Creating a Garden on a Shady Balcony

    How to Keep Your Cats From Eating Your Plants

    10 Dirt Cheap Ways to Have a Gorgeous Container Garden

  11. Jeff September 14, 2008 at 4:21 am #

    Thanks for doing this – I’ve enjoyed reading the GGW blog all year, and it’s inspired me to do some writing of my own. It’s amazing what technology has done to bring gardeners together. I’ve done lots of posts about the specifics of my garden and the variety of plants I enjoy growing, but my favorite posts have been about people and their influences.

    First, a story about my grandmother and her attempt to bring some “culture” into the formative years of her grandchildren:

    http://transitionalgardener.blogspot.com/2008/07/cbs-evening-news-for-friday-may-19-1972.html

    My best day of 2008 – a visit to the garden of new friend and longstanding favorite garden writer Pamela Harper:

    http://transitionalgardener.blogspot.com/2008/04/pocket-of-joy.html

    And finally one of several posts which focus on specific plant groups and my experiences in growing them over the years; this one’s about Bletilla orchids, many of which are hardy in our climate.

    http://transitionalgardener.blogspot.com/2008/04/playing-chicken-with-bletillas.html

    Thanks for the chance to share these – it’s always a pleasure to visit your site!

  12. gina September 14, 2008 at 7:14 am #

    Hi Nan! What a great idea! Rather than post my favorites from my blog, I’ll just post the link to my one post where I asked my readers to tell me what their favorite posts were from my blog as an entry into a contest to win chocolate. It was a lot of fun.

    http://myskinnygarden.blogspot.com/2008/09/and-chocolate-goes-to.html

  13. Cindy McNatt September 14, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    Let’s see. Since I blog everyday for a newspaper, it is churn out the information for me. But, every once in a while I blog to amuse myself. Favorites? What kind of dog is your garden? http://homebody.freedomblogging.com/2008/05/26/what-kind-of-dog-is-your-garden/
    I tank with tomatoes prompted a lively discussion with close to 70 comments. http://homebody.freedomblogging.com/2008/07/25/tomato-crazy/
    And here’s a poll where I asked if gardening was over. http://homebody.freedomblogging.com/category/garden/poll-is-gardening-over/

  14. wiseacre September 14, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    I don’t consider any of my posts ‘gems’ but I do have a favorite. It is one of my favorite photos.

    Holy Flowering Fangs Batman
    http://wiseacre-gardens.com/wordpress/holy-flowering-fangs-batman/

    Thanks for a chance to post a shameless plug to my blog. Most people get there by mistake and this will ensure the tradition if anyone uses my link :)

  15. Sue September 14, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    here are a couple from The Balcony Garden – I’ve picked one a month :

    May – the start of my annual clash with red spider mite : http://balcony-garden.blogspot.com/2008/05/im-having-mitemares.html

    June – An interview with Stuart of Blotanical :
    http://balcony-garden.blogspot.com/2008/06/interview-with-stuart-of-blotanical.html

    July – On guerrilla gardening in Milan : http://balcony-garden.blogspot.com/2008/07/guerrilla-gardening-in-milan.html

    August – An “info” post on Plumbago – one of my favourite balcony plants : http://balcony-garden.blogspot.com/2008/08/plumbago.html

    September – A post about combining form and colour to produce beautiful container combinations : http://balcony-garden.blogspot.com/2008/09/form-and-colour.html

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to “revive” these posts.

  16. Gayle Madwin September 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    I’m a brand new gardener and haven’t written many gardening-related blog posts yet, but here are a picture of my gardening efforts and a recent post about them:

    http://pics.livejournal.com/queerbychoice/pic/002203d4/

    http://queerbychoice.livejournal.com/598936.html

  17. Stacy September 14, 2008 at 11:05 pm #

    Wow, what a great idea, thanks for suggesting it!

    My five favorite posts are…

    #1 – Bright Jewels: the gorgeous colors to be found every day in my garden.
    http://floridabackyard.org/?p=407

    #2 – Year of Ambition Meets Crushing Reality: this was our first year vegetable gardening in central Florida, and we’ve already learned some tough lessons.
    http://floridabackyard.org/?p=409

    #3 – Raincatchers: our huge spider collection is never more beautiful than after a rain.
    http://floridabackyard.org/?p=440

    #4 – Huntsville Botanical Garden, July 2008: we ventured back to the place we were married for a visit.
    http://floridabackyard.org/?p=461

    #5 – Red Rice Beans – Grow ‘Em Then Eat ‘Em!: the red rice bean was our most successful crop this year…and delicious too!
    http://floridabackyard.org/?p=604

  18. Carol September 15, 2008 at 6:11 pm #

    I had a a great time outside this year. Here are my garden faves:
    http://www.mycitygarden.net/index.php/gardening-in-the-city/35-container-gardening/74-a-collage-of-late-summer-in-the-garden
    and
    http://www.mycitygarden.net/index.php/gardening-in-the-city/65-july-in-the-garden

    I am in an urban area with a tiny front yard plot but I use containers (pots on the stoop and windowboxes on the fence) to expand what I can grow.

  19. Kim September 16, 2008 at 8:45 am #

    I’m new to garden blogging but not all that new to blogging. From my garden blog, these would be some of my favorites.

    What’s Your Zone, where I discuss zones, how some “sources of info” seem a bit arbitrary and what do the zones really mean, anyway: http://toomuchstuff.typepad.com/instrument_of_grace/2008/05/whats-your-zone.html

    I’ve Got A Name – about my adventures trying to ID a common as heck (as it turns out) hosta that maybe I’d be better off getting rid of: http://toomuchstuff.typepad.com/instrument_of_grace/2008/05/ive-got-a-name-and-ill-bet-you-cant-say-it.html

    Sloggers – The Best Garden Shoes – not that I particularly like the post, but I sure do like the shoes, and because this post gets multiple Google hits every day: http://toomuchstuff.typepad.com/instrument_of_grace/2008/07/sloggers—the-best-garden-shoes.html

    A New Visitor – because it was the first visit of a Monarch to my garden: http://toomuchstuff.typepad.com/instrument_of_grace/2008/08/a-new-visitor.html

    Thanks for letting me post. I am looking forward to checking out everyone else’s favorites if I haven’t seen them already.

  20. zora naki September 16, 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    i gardened with intent this year, and my favourite posts arose from discovery and necessity (what to do with what i grew).

    no-pectin strawberry-rhubarb jam:
    http://gardenopolis.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/no-pectin-strawberry-rhubarb-jam/

    growing a green wall:
    http://gardenopolis.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/growing-a-green-wall/

    lemon-balm mojitos:
    http://gardenopolis.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/lemon-balm-mojitos/

    graffiti cauliflower:
    http://gardenopolis.wordpress.com/2008/07/04/it-really-is-that-purple/

    my spring gardening enthusiasm:
    http://gardenopolis.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/dew-on-my-toes/

  21. Chookie September 17, 2008 at 7:32 am #

    Summer? What summer? It’s Spring! Anyway, I offer you my three wattle posts:
    http://chookiesbackyard.blogspot.com/2008/07/wattle-is-out.html
    http://chookiesbackyard.blogspot.com/2008/08/parramatta-wattle.html
    http://chookiesbackyard.blogspot.com/2008/08/sydney-golden-wattle.html
    Hope you enjoy these winter-blooming Aussies!

  22. VP September 17, 2008 at 11:42 am #

    Hi there,

    I know it’s a blog rather than Posts, but I have to nominate my ‘Open Garden’:

    http://vpopengarden.blogspot.com/

    I always think of it as one post (your visit to my garden), that I’ve had to split up into bite sized chunks so you can digest it all in easy stages :D

  23. Valerie September 20, 2008 at 1:39 pm #

    My blog contributions slowed way down during the summer but my favorite theme was ‘grasses’. Inspired by Rick Darke, I decided to not mow this year and call my front yard a meadow. After a while, I chickened out and just did a mini-version. Here are my posts about it:
    http://thinairgarden.blogspot.com/2008/03/maybe-maze.html

    http://thinairgarden.blogspot.com/2008/05/sculpturing-grass.html

    http://thinairgarden.blogspot.com/2008/05/im-liking-meadow.html

    http://thinairgarden.blogspot.com/2008/07/mid-summer-meadow.html