First Bluebonnet of 2009
2009 was an interesting year for me, personally and in the garden. I spent much of the year looking for a paycheck and also trying to figure out where my future lay. For the first time ever though, I found more of my time focused on one of the real joys in my life - gardening.
Blogging and Writing
Wow, I did not anticipate, when I started blogging in the summer of 2008, that I would get so into it. Granted, I don't actually blog as much as I'd like to and I don't get to read as many blogs as I'd like to. But boy has it been fun. I attended the garden blogger's Spring Fling in Chicago, not really knowing what I would take away from it but knowing I'd see some great gardens. It was SO MUCH MORE than great gardens. Getting to meet some of the bloggers and really connect with some was such a highlight. Reading their blogs now is like chatting with a friend.
Cindy, Beth, and Pam at Chicago Botanic Garden
Over the year I picked up a few pass-around awards and then was surprised to see Blotanical subscribers award my blog Best Louisiana Blog. And then to find out that Horticulture picked my blog for one of their Top 20 garden blogs. Well it was almost too much.
I have been writing the newsletter for our farmers' market this past year. That effort combined with my blogging confirmed that I wanted to pursue more writing so I am happy to say that I have almost completed my first article for a garden magazine, scheduled to come out in June (I'll let you know about that when it happens).
Learning and Sharing
In 2009 I decided to pursue a Louisiana Master Gardener certification. In order to retain your certification you must contribute hours to other efforts, mostly ones that benefit the community. Our class decided to update a garden bed in a local park as a teaching tool on butterfly and bird gardening. Although it was a group effort, I designed the planting plan, learned how best to measure a garden bed from my friend Alexis, and learned how to stay patient when the fall rains wouldn't quit!
Kathy and Virginia busy planting the butterfly garden
I gave a talk at a local nursery about butterfly and bird gardening and plan to give another talk in March on perennials. I started a garden coaching business but it's growing VERY slowly.
I worked part time in a nursery, learning more about the plants that folks in this area prefer and hopefully sharing some of my knowledge of different plants with them.
I managed to visit several public gardens that were great (and some outstanding). Here's some links to posts I did about them: Wildwood Gardens in Little Rock, Chanticleer Garden in Pennsylvania here and here, Chicago Botanical Garden, and Briarwood Garden in north Louisiana. And here's some great private gardens I visited: Layanee's Ledge and Gardens in Rhode Island and Rick Bayless's garden in Chicago.
I also learned a lot more about photography through the Gardening Gone Wild photo challenges and hints from my photgrapher brother Brian.
Well, the gardening was frugal but fun. The successes? Finding some plants that are more native to the area.
Viburnum obovatum ‘Mrs Schiller’s Delight’
I also managed to plant and even grow some favorite plants from my past gardening experience (by travelling back to Texas to buy them!).
Malvaviscus drummondii, 'Turks Cap'
I was also finally able to attract some much wanted butterflies to the yard.
Monarch and Coneflower
The failures in the yard in 2009 include very few fall tomatoes, mis-labeled daylilies from the big box store, a rose that grew way out of its normal bounds and on to the driveway (The Fairy), and the inability to find any plants in this area in the fall that weren't pansies, snaps, or mums.
Although there's not much I can do about it, the rather strange weather was a bit much - first, no spring rains; then too much spring rain; then August temperatures and drought in June and July; then June-like weather in August and September; then 40 days and 40 nights of rain; then early freezes. Hmm.
Now what? What will 2010 bring? Well I hope it brings me more garden blogging friends, more opportunities to pursue my writing, more garden coaching clients, more learning opportunities, perhaps a steady paycheck, and a chance to grow into my full potential as a person.
This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.