It’s Thursday, when Diggin’ It visits several gardeners around the world who write frequently about their plants and landscapes. Today we whiz from Switzerland to the Hudson River Valley of New York to Louisiana, finishing up with a jaunt to a country garden in Ireland.
The Abenteur Garten (Adventure Garden) is written in alternating paragraphs of German and English, so I could practice my German while peeking occasionally at the translation to see if I’d remembered a word correctly or not.
The writer, who lives in a small village near Basel, Switzerland, especially enjoys peonies, roses, hostas, and hydrangeas. Reading about her plant-related vacations in Portugal, Scotland, and Spain, I discovered that Centranthus ruber – one of my favorite perennials, an unassuming jewel – is called Lilac d’Espagne in French, a charming name. (Much better than red valerian in English.)
She has a photo of one growing out of a wall in Barcelona's Park Güell, in a very precarious situation – and yet it was blooming quite happily. That’s my kind of plant!
When I read Anne Raver’s story in The New York Times about Margaret Roach stepping down as editorial director of Martha Stewart Omnimedia to live and garden in the country and blog about it, I – and thousands of others, no doubt – knew I had to learn more about her new adventure.
Margaret's blog, A Way to Garden is a delight because it’s so beautifully written. But it also owes its strong appeal to the fact that she’s living a life that many others secretly dream of and would love to make a reality.
In Louisiana, Thais Perkins is the Accidental Gardener for Life . She’s married to an environmental engineer and teaches at Southern University in Baton Rouge. They’re almost ready to begin picking corn and have been harvesting tomatoes since mid-June – I turned chartreuse with envy at the photo of a wheelbarrow piled high with the red fruits.
But then I read about the days and days of torrential rains they’d endured recently and decided I would be content with waiting till those little green balls on my own plants finally turn red, gold, and orange.
Across the Pond in rural Ireland, Silvia is a freelance artist who also gardens extensively and maintains WindyWillow . Each day she posts lovely photographs of what’s in bloom – from roses and perennial geraniums to hawthorn trees and lupines at the moment.
Obviously, Silvia's mother also has a green thumb and I loved the photograph (taken from an upstairs window of the house) that shows her little “cottage garden.”
It's fun to see the real thing after all the fancy pictures we're bombarded with in garden books and magazines. And who says you need elaborate paths? Some well-placed rocks to guide you and keep your feet dry are an authentic and inexpensive choice, the photo shows.
That’s what I enjoy about visiting others’ gardens through their blogs – this sense of what’s being done by real people in real gardens. We’ll do more next week.