"I'm an artist by training, a journalist by trade, and a gardener by choice." That's how I describe myself on my "About" page. I am also a feminist, foodie, history buff, fiber and design devotee; the list is endless. Thus, I am not a single subject blogger. Gardening may be the emphasis much of the year (and I've found gardeners to be among the most friendly and responsive readers) but I have too many interests to limit myself to one.
Thus I'm especially drawn to those bloggers who don't limit themselves either. The blogs I've mentioned (in alphabetical order) may have themes but they often present them in refreshingly different ways, if not actually veering off topic occasionally. I don't know for sure what I will find when I arrive, which is what keeps me coming back.
Mark posted his "significant" list yesterday; you can read it here. I should mention we had some overlaps in our individual lists, but decided to not cover the same territory. Julie Siegel (see below) took this photo of Mark and me on a very hot day last summer when the three of us toured the Allen Centennial Garden on the UW-Madison campus.
I've been following Becky Holmes' A Book A Week for a couple of years, which is strange in a way since we don't really read the same kind of books. I looked at her annual lists posted on the blog, and discovered I read one of her titles from the 2008 list, three from 2007 and four from 2006. Despite that discrepancy, I will read perceptive, well-written, succinct reviews — like Becky's — of books I probably will not read as a way to keep current with literary offerings. She keeps me in the know. She also lives in my town and we share the same library but we've never actually met — which makes me feel like a kid with a secret pal.
I love Les — A Tidewater Gardener — because almost everything on his blog is new to me. Sure, he lives in an area of the country that I barely know, but he's also a history and architecture buff, is not afraid to jump on a soapbox and consistently wows me with his photographs. I am hoping to meet him at the 2010 Garden Bloggers Fling in Buffalo. Yes?
Jim Charlier, of the Art of Gardening, keeps me current on the architectural and horticultural highs and lows of my former hometown, Buffalo NY. He has a gem of an urban garden but travels widely, offering inspiration on many fronts — always with a strong dose of opinion and wit.
I began gardening as a result of an interest in horticultural history. Garden History Girl feeds that interest with memorable images and intelligent commentary on subjects rarely seen elsewhere. She's not a garden snob so you'll find information on the gardens in the film, "Gone With the Wind," as well as the best list of gift ideas for gardeners I saw in the blogosphere this holiday. And her name is Arcady — how perfect is that?
Julie Siegel is one of the first people that Mark and I discovered on-line. We investigated her Web site while debating about taking a garden design workshop she was teaching in Madison. Her site was — and is — both logical and beautiful, letting Julie's personality and interests shine through. After taking two classes with her, we all became fast friends.
Certainly I follow Julie's blog — J. Siegel Designs Blog — because of that relationship. But also because she is deeply committed to social justice issues, especially where they intersect with environmental concerns. It's an area I'm interested in from afar; Julie's in the field. She's a role model, a font of information, an artist raised in a family of artists and a great garden tourist and guide.
Knitting Letters: A to Z is an abcdarium in which the letterforms being celebrated are knit. It's a mind-boggling concept to someone like me who does not knit. But as one who collects alphabet books, doodles alphabets, and loves fiber, it's a natural fit nevertheless. The knitted letters are stunning gems but what makes this blog so valuable is the informative essays, links and sources that accompany each letter. The most recent letter "T" is all about Turkey (the country, not the bird) and is a rich compendium of that country's textile history. The knitting will wow you, but you'll stay for the mini-courses.
Martha B. took a break from her blog — Nibs: My Points of View — last year that left me devastated. Now she's back and better than ever. Nibs has carved out a number of niches: Weddings (particularly the clothing), "Shop Your Closet," and (visual design) Vocabulary to name just a few. She has a stylist's touch with her fashion photos while her images of personal landscapes are timeless. Her posts range from whimsical to thoughtful but always with a palpable sense of her warmth and charm.
As a woman who has purchased a plenitude of Persephone Books by post, I was particularly pleased when the UK publisher started a blog, The Persephone Post. It's always one single image with a brief text — "a parallel in pictures" they call it — making it the perfect way to start my day. If you are not yet a fan of Persephone books, do visit the company's site where bookish types will also enjoy the fortnightly letter.
Style Court is one of the first blogs I ever read and I continue to follow it consistently. Courtney concentrates on interior design with an emphasis on textiles (new and antique), emerging regional artists and galleries, how to frame/group/display artwork, gracious living (a Southern specialty) — all topics I find endlessly fascinating. A Style Court post may range from the texture of handmade paper to the flounce on a curtain to the lighting in a film. All beautifully connected and presented in such a way that those in the know will benefit as much as those just being introduced to the topic.
WISCONSIN BLOGS: Suffice it to say that I buy local and read local, too. In addition to A Book a Week, I find the following blogs especially appealing as a state resident, but you don't have to live here to enjoy them. Letter From Here is written by a Madison guy who's a superb photographer with something to say, literally and visually. Outside the LIne is the offering of a newly transplanted Madisonian who is also a font designer and alphabet doodler. Reading her blog, I get to see my city in a whole new light — and realize all that I am missing by being — perhaps — too much of a homebody. The Impatient Gardener is a sailor, magazine editor, gardener and designer of the interior and exterior of her home. Lots of projects and inspiration to get me jazzed about my own home and garden.
There's no better way to start the New Year than with a visit to some of these great blogs!