I went from a house with a backyard roughly 50 feet long and less than 15 feet wide with no front yard:
|A large, mostly sunny front yard|
|A large backyard with a view of the Los Angeles harbor|
|A good-sized yard on the southeast side, which became much sunnier after the removal of a 60 foot Eucalyptus tree this past February|
|A largely empty slate on the northeast side of the property, which I converted into a dry garden|
|And a difficult sloped area at the back of the property, which is still very much a work in progress|
Once started, I wasn't sure if - or how - I'd keep the blog going. For one thing, it was a very difficult year on a personal level, with the loss of my mother in March, followed by the loss of my mother-in-law barely 10 weeks later, and all the related family issues that accompanied those events. I also wasn't sure I had enough to share about developments in my garden. But, a year and 160 posts later, I'm still taking photographs and writing posts. I credit this fact mostly to the support I've received from other bloggers and readers. My husband is not remotely pro-blog and has little to no interest in gardening (although he's always helpful if called upon for tough jobs). Many of my friends don't garden and those that do aren't nearly as obsessive as I am about it. In this context, I've appreciated those of you who are as crazy about plants and gardening as I am for the camaraderie, the feedback, and the willingness to share your own experience. I can't tell you how pleased I was to hear from other bloggers, some of the earliest of which were Tammy of Casa Mariposa, Louis of Parallel 49 Palms, and Sue of Idyll Haven. Jean at Jean's Garden gave me a major boost when she reviewed my blog on her site in June.
Blogging has provided me a disciplined way of chronicling developments in my garden I didn't have before. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, sponsored by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, and Foliage Follow-up, sponsored by Pam at Digging, have helped me to create a pictorial record that I can use to assess my garden's status year-in and year-out.
From reading other blogs, I've learned a lot about plants. Loree's favorite plants meme at danger garden has been especially helpful in that regard. It not only provides me an opportunity to learn about new plants, many of which I've never even heard of, much less seen, but it has also led me to delve more deeply into the history and culture of the plants I grow in my own garden. Nan at Hayfield has provided new insights into plant combinations (and a supply of seeds too).
And Heather's wide shots meme at Xericstyle has forced me to look at the big picture, to evaluate how the plants in my garden relate to one another, and consider the overall design of my garden rather than just the never-ending accumulation of plants. Not that collecting plants for their own sake is a bad thing! Reading the posts of others with the plant acquisition "disease" has made me comfortable with my collector orientation.
I appreciate the opportunity to view your gardens and your own plant collections. Denise at A Growing Obsession and Hoover Boo at Piece of Eden have given me the opportunity to, figuratively speaking, peer over the fence into gardens subject to the same vagaries of climate as my own but there are takeaways from every garden I visit via the blogosphere.
I also appreciate the chance to virtually visit places I've always hankered to see, like the Chelsea Garden Show seen through the eyes of Mark and Gaz at Alternative Eden, the Portland Japanese Garden viewed through the lens of Scott at Rhone Street Gardens, the Coastal Maine Botanic Garden toured with Kathy of GardenBook, the Atlanta Botanical Garden viewed courtesy of Deb of Deb's Garden, and the US Botanic Garden visited through photos provided by Shirley of Rock-Oak-Deer. I've also enjoyed participating in expeditions led by Peter, the Outlaw Gardener and Alison of Bonney Lassie.
My thanks to all of those named above and the many authors of the other blogs I regularly read, as well as my local friends who kindly check out my blog at regular intervals. This bouquet was prepared in your honor.
|Westringia fruticosa, Erysimum linifolium, Papaver nudicaule, 'Joseph's Coat' rose, and Antirrhinum majus|