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Take time to blog the roses

Gardening blogs offer advice, reflections, beauty and wit

By Kate King
Blogs let green thumbs share their adventures in gardening.


Do you trust gardening advice from a blog?
Only if I know the blogger's credentials.
Sure, they know as much as the people at the garden store.
No, bloggers are more interested in talking about themselves than giving advice.
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Sure signs of spring include balmy temperatures, busy birds and bees -- and passionate gardeners obsessing over how to make their blossoms brilliant and their veggies vibrant. Where there's passion, you'll find blogs, and gardening is no exception.

Gardening blogs range from serious dissertations on plants, soil and climate, to fanciful musings and poetry accompanied by artistic pictures of flowers.

Many of the blogs chronicle their authors' individual triumphs and tribulations, and invite advice and/or sympathy.

For instance, "JohnAndrewsThoughts" describes the blogger's attempts to create a maintenance-free (but beautiful) landscape in his yard in Knoxville, Tennessee, starting from almost nothing.

Urban gardener Christa uses her blog, "Calendula & Concrete," to tell how she and her husband are cultivating a plot that's part of a community garden near their home in Washington, D.C.

In "Sign of the Shovel," Michele Owens writes about her upstate New York gardens (and other matters) in a distinctive and quirky voice. Among her gardening principles, she includes "Add manure. There. That's all the advice you'll get from me," and "Advice is ridiculous if it's not local. It's all about the terroir, baby." ("Terroir" is a winemaking term for a group of vineyards that share the soil and climate of a small region.)

She also discourses on what she's planted lately, why she had to give away her flock of free-range hens, and what's wrong with the landscape design in upscale New Jersey suburbs.

In her blog "Cincinnati Cape Cod," Kasmira gives readers the play-by-play on what she's putting in her Cincinnati garden: "My first plant order arrived yesterday. I excitedly open the box and sifted through the treasures. Goodness gracious, did I really mean to buy TWELVE Siberian Iris?... After the initial excitement wore off, I started to worry: Where am I going to plant it all?"

Matt Mattus of Massachusetts uses his blog "Growing with Plants" to extol the virtues of rare plants and detail his amateur attempts at crossbreeding. He writes that his blog is for people who are "bored with the ordinary, and enjoy learning about new and interesting plants that you won't see at your local garden center."

On her blog "In My Kitchen Garden," Susan writes about her organic gardening adventures since giving up city life in California for a Missouri farm "in the middle of nowhere." She describes different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers and offers advice on how to grow them, as well as recipes that put them to good use.

If one blogger at a time isn't enough for you, try "You Grow Girl," where 10 "journalers" from Australia, Canada, England and the United States share their gardening adventures.

Most of the blogs are not limited to gardens. The gardeners have lives beyond their flower beds, and they share their happy, sad and funny moments with their readers. For example, "Nancy's Garden Spot" includes plenty of pictures of Nancy's tomatoes and roses, but also moving stories form her life.

Of course, there are many other blogs that are more official and exhaustive, and less personal. "The Inside Dirt Blog" is part of a Web site offering gardening tips and bargains. "Takoma Gardener" is from a blogger who says she's taking classes and completing other requirements to become a Master Gardener. "Gardening and Yardening" is written by two gardening columnists for the Detroit News.

One place to find links to scores of blogs is GardenWeb, an online resource for gardeners, which has a section called "Voices" that offers "clippings" from blogs and other online sources.

Also, the Providence Journal's Sheila Lennon maintains a blog, Subterranean Homepage News, with links to a long list of gardening blogs, including descriptions and quotes.

Chances are you'll find a gardening blog that appeals to you, whether you're looking for authoritative advice on when to plant your peonies, or witty remarks from someone who just happens to have a garden.

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