English Trees to Orkney via Garden Blogs

Diana Studer gardens for biodiversity at Elephant’s Eye on False Bay. She will highlight interesting garden blog posts from around the world in a feature we’re calling “Garden Blogs Through the Elephant’s Eye.”

About Diana

In November 2014 we moved to False Bay (Cape Town in South Africa) in suburbia between the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Our first garden was in Camps Bay, halfway up the Atlantic end of Table Mountain, icon of the city of Cape Town. Our second garden was in Porterville between wheatfields and vineyards. The long hot summers and cool wet winters of our mediterranean climate link all three gardens. I was a librarian at universities in Cape Town and Zurich – my garden focus is more Latin plant names than this season’s horticultural horrors and there is NO LAWN. My first blog post was in June 2009, and I’ve been learning to blog ever since. I’ll share blogs that interest, amuse or move me. Mostly gardening, but with a wild card. Follow Diana Studer on G+ to connect with her. To have your blog post featured here, your best bait is a comment which lures us to your blog.

Garden Blogs Through the Elephant’s Eye in January 2013

Johnson of Life in the Cotswolds. “Part of my everyday job as a practical gardener is pruning, a subject which is a mystery to many people and often fills them with terror at the very thought of wielding secateurs to a treasured shrub. Mahonia is one of those useful winter flowering plants that so often look dreadful as they become ever more gaunt and ungainly. This was the case with one in a client’s garden so it seemed a good idea to photograph the process of restoration and blog about it. That post has rapidly become my most read.” September’s Roman Mosaic and November’s Childhood Trees are two more that stay vivid in my mind.

Who better than a Londoner to revel in London plane trees? “Then on a sunny day in mid-October I was perched on the front seat of a double-decker bus when I saw trees in the distance which made my heart skip a beat. To my delight they were banks of plane trees which had been allowed to grow more fully than their brethren which usually line our suburban streets. Cruising by in a stream of traffic was a surreal experience (though the other bus passengers didn’t seem so affected!)”

I’ve shed tears with The Wind and the Wellies, as she tried everything to make a garden on a windswept Orkney island. She planted a windbreak of willows, and watched the wind claim her tiny plants one by one. “The village xmas tree arrived and was justly tethered on four corners to protect it from the gales which slaughtered us this week. We had a spell of nasty easterlies which reached over 50mph this week. So guy ropes on trees are quite normal here, aside the gales, the trees are generally quite feral in this treeless landscape and need restrained lest they run off down the village pier and attack the fish on a bid for freedom to far off lands with forests. The Orkney flag stands guard, watching the tree’s every move, just in case.”

A pinch of salt from Patient Gardener in England. “Here is a gardener after my own heart; someone who isn’t afraid to say what he really thinks about this trend and that trend. So much garden writing these days is samey and in my opinion pandas to whatever trend is being promoted by the middle classes or maybe the gardening media think people are or should be interested in. We have had: grow your own, wildlife gardening, meadow planting, prairie planting and like sheep we all nod our heads and follow along. But I have dabbled in these trends and they do not fulfill my gardening urges or needs. The glossies and newspaper articles do not address my desire to learn about plants, to discover what is out there beyond the ubiquitous plants that are on trend.”

The wild card is Ingrid Of Spring and Summer, Swedish living in London. She brings me a fresh way to think about colours and textures as I plan my new garden.

Do tell – did any of these blogs interest, amuse or move you?

1 thought on “English Trees to Orkney via Garden Blogs”

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    The Garden On Loch Ness

    Some great choices Diane, ‘The Wind and The Wellies’ is also one of my favorite blogs, so much personality mixed with great persistent gardening.
    There are several other wonderful blogs from the Scottish Islands where gardening is an extreme sport – such as ‘Island Threads’ from The Isle of Lewis and ‘Croft Graden – Gardening In a Gale’ from the Hebrides.

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