Monday, February 16, 2009

February Bloom Day

This month begins the third year since Carol at May Dreams Gardens dreamed up and began hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Congratulations Carol, and thanks so much for bringing us together for this monthly event!

February also marks the first anniversary since I dreamed up this blog, started on a whim.

Initially I signed up for a Blogger account to make it easier to comment on other peoples' blogs. After registering I was taken to a screen to start a blog myself, and I thought, "Why not! Hmmm. . . what kind of blog?"

Not even technically a bloom yet, I uncovered the first bud in the garden last week - a lone hellebore sporting a lone bud.

I thought for only a moment, and decided since gardening has been my life-long passion, why not make it a garden blog? I'd recently come across a few garden blogs, and decided it would be fun to share my passion for gardening through blogging.

Ok, I admit they're not blooms either - not even buds - but I'm crazy about caladiums. This pot of them never went dormant, and continue to light up the basement 'greenhouse' with their beautiful, delicate, almost-translucent, stained-glass foliage.

Since then I've visited with and been inspired by garden bloggers all over the world. I've learned a great deal over the past year, and discovered a new passion along the way - photography! Like gardening there will always be more to learn. The thing I've enjoyed most about garden photography is learning to see things in a different way. I've been inspired by seeing the gardens of other bloggers through their eyes and the lenses of their cameras.

Last year this oxalis was dormant over the winter. This winter, like the caladiums, it has remained growing. Like the caladiums, it has beautiful foliage. I'd love this plant even if it didn't bloom.

Last year as I began discovering and visiting garden blogs, I learned that a group of garden bloggers were planning to gather in Austin, Texas, the World's Capital of Garden Bloggers, for what became the first annual Garden Bloggers' Spring Fling.

The meetup was so successful, a second Fling was planned for 2009 in Chicago, my hometown. Little did I know last February that I would be privileged enough to work with a wonderful group of Chicago-area bloggers on planning the Fling, to be held in Chicago the last weekend of May. (For more information on the Fling, please visit our event blog.)

The geraniums have provided constant bloom in the basement, and have become the parents of several offspring as they wait out winter with me.

Also this month, I started training with the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program, with the goal of sharing my passion for gardening through their volunteer program. I'm enjoying the classes, and looking forward to my first volunteer assignment next week.

I'll be at Chocolate Fest in a neighboring suburb, helping children transplant tree seedlings they can take home for spring planting in their own backyards.

It should be lots of fun. Combining chocolate, gardening, and kids . . . what could be more fun than that!

One of the geranium babies conceived in the basement is budding for the first time.

All in all, it's been a great year for gardening, and I've gotten so much pleasure from this first year of garden blogging. The best part has been getting to know all of you.

Who knew that a sudden whim to share the dreams, memories, and inspirations from my life and garden here in zone 5a would have led to such rich experiences?

Thank you to all who've shared these experiences with me this past year. I'm looking forward to discovering what pleasures the next years of sharing our gardening passions with each other may bring.


  1. Hi Linda, I didn't realize you were taking the MG classes this year. I'm a MG-2004. :) Please write more about that as you do other volunteer projects. Most people think MG is some kind of educational credential, and don't get the volunteer aspect. For the first tie ever I don't have a set MG project; I'm going to hover a bit. And I'm glad you like working with kids as I think it's very important they understand where food comes from, and just enjoy watching things grow. I like kids one-on-one (or maybe four-on-one) but I'd not be comfortable with a huge group! Good for you!

  2. What a nice post Linda. And Happy Anniversary to you and many many more to come!

  3. Anonymous8:09 AM

    Congrats on your one-year milestone, Linda -- your blooms are lovely. :)

  4. Hi Monica, I looked into it last year, but missed the 2008 session. So last year I started the application process as soon as they started taking applications. I'm very happy I made it into the program.

    I'd love to be a part of a school gardening project. More and more schools in this area are incorporating hands-on gardening projects into their curriculums. I couldn't agree with you more that it's very important for kids to understand where food comes from.

    I'm sure I'll be writing more about the MG program and the volunteer projects I take on. I agree a lot of people don't understand the purpose of the MG program. I think it's a wonderful program and am looking forward to getting more involved.

  5. Thank you Nancy! There aren't many blooms here now, but it's nice to have any at all in February in Chicago!

  6. Hi Linda and congratulations, great post for GBBD! It is nice to see that spring is on its way.

    Take care Tyra

  7. Congratulations on your blogaversary, Linda! I knew you had started about the same time as I, but I still have about a month to go for my first year. It's been a wonderful experience, hasn't it? Thank you for all your hard work on Spring Fling; my friend Beckie and I already have made hotel reservations and have our calendars marked!

    Good for you for signing up for the Master Gardeners' classes--let us know how this goes. I thought about it this winter, but then decided I wasn't ready to make such a time commitment. Now I'm sorry I didn't; next year I'm just going to have to take the plunge! I have so much to learn. Chocolate, kids, and gardening--you're right, it doesn't get much better than that:)

  8. Happy 1st Blogaversary! It's amazing what happens when you start blogging.
    How exciting to have a Hellebore in bud already. None of my H. orientalis hybrids are anywhere near that stage yet. I'm smitten with the purple-leaved Oxalis. Must get some for the summer garden.

  9. Anonymous11:12 AM

    And we love you---whole heaps! You are a joy to visit and your pictures are awesome. Happy blogaversary.

  10. A year goes quickly when you're having such fun, doesn't it? Congrats on your first blogiversary. I just passed my 3rd in January. Hard to believe!
    My overwintering geraniums are putting out flowers too, and looking good. I must take some cuttings.
    I'd love to have a caladium and more hellebores (only have one tiny plant). Happy Bloom Day!

  11. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Congrats on your one year milestone Linda!

  12. Thank you Tyra! Our mostly-mild February weather is fooling me into thinking spring is almost here. But spring always seems to take its sweet time arriving in Chicago!

    Thank you Rose! I could have named this blog The Accidental Blogger, because starting it was such an unpremeditated act. But I'm glad I followed the muse that day and just went with it. I never knew all that it would lead to!

    I'm so thrilled, and looking forward to meeting you, Beckie, and everyone else who comes to the Fling. It's very exciting!

    I'll keep you posted on the MG project. So far I'm really enjoying it - learning alot, and making friends with a wonderful group of fellow students. The instructors so far are great too.

    I'm a little nervous about meeting the volunteer hours commitment, that's why I'm glad we're getting the chance to start early, before gardening season gets underway. It's going to be a bit of a challenge for me, but I think I can do it.

    Hi MMD, thank you!

    I love that oxalis, and am tickled that it didn't go dormant this winter. Last winter I thought it might be dead. I'm glad I held onto it, it's a neat little plant!

    Aw, thank you Anna! You're such a sweetheart!

    Thank you Kerri! Congratulations on your third blogiversary!

    That's my only hellibore now, but I'm obsessed with them know and plan to add more this spring!

    Thank you Racquel!

  13. Happy blogoversary:) Yes, I have really been enjoying my garden blogging and new friends. People are wonderful here and willing to share ideas. Looking at everyone's blooms is a joy each month...I could just sit on my couch forever!
    I need the exercise though, so I can't wait until spring to get out and do some 'real' and not just 'virtual' blogging//oops, I mean gardening:)

  14. Hi Linda, Wow you have alot of summer blooms hanging out in the basement! I love the caladiums, and is that a jasmine in the background of the oxalis? Can't wait for that hellebore of yours to fully open (my new growth was just an inch high when I checked). Your written words are endearing to read...

  15. Hi Linda, a very happy blogaversary to you! That bud on the hellebore means that spring is right around the corner, hooray! Even for the frozen north. :-) Chocolate and gardening sound like a perfect way to earn a master gardeners certification!

  16. Anonymous6:23 PM

    Congratulations on doing the Master Gardener program! I've often thought of doing it myself, but it interferes with my work schedule. Maybe some day!

    Happy blogiversary! Love you mom!


  17. Congrats on your blog anniversary. Yes, who could guess where blogging about our gardens would take many of us. I look forward to meeting you later this spring in Chicago.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  18. Lots of goodies vacationing in the basement, Linda! Happy 1st Anniversary ... you are a 'blooming' gift and we are all blessed knowing you :)

  19. Thank you Jan! I know what you mean about the exercise! Actually, now's a good time to start getting in shape for spring. I hate getting out there and being all sore after a big gardening day.

    Hi Lynn, that's a Diamond Frost euphorbia, being overwintered for the 2nd year. They have the teeniest little blooms, but there's a profusion of them. It's one of my favorites!

    I have a jasmine plant down there too, and I'm a little surprised it hasn't taken over the oxalis - it's sprawling all over everything else. It's not blooming at the moment, but it has been perfuming the basement off and on all winter. I hope it does as well once it goes back outside!

    Thank you Frances! I expect we're still going to see more snow and frigid temps before spring finally arrives in the frozen tundra of Chicago! But I know from experience this time of year flies by, so you're right - spring's right around the corner!

    I've never been to the annual Chocolate Fest before, so it should be fun to check it out. I'm really looking forward to getting my volunteer feet wet! (and hands dirty.)

    Thanks K! I'm really enjoying it. You can do it online too in order to fit it into your schedule, but it is definitely a time commitment, both for the training and for the volunteer work. I'd LOVE to work with a school on planting and caring for a veggie garden!

    In your line of work, there'd probably be no end of volunteer opportunities. You can submit your own volunteer activities for approval, and if it's teaching and garden-related, chances are you would be able to count those hours towards your annual commitment.

    Thanks for visiting and for your comment! Love you too honey!

    Thank you Carol! You know, yours was one of the first garden blogs I came across, and I've been enjoying it since.

    Aw, thank you Joey for such a sweet comment!

    I feel the same about you, love your blog, and especially all the delicious recipes and beautiful photography.

  20. Congrats on the blogiversary, Linda. It's mine too this month---a good month for starting a blog, it seems. I'm so glad that you joined the blogging community and that you are helping to organize the 2nd Spring Fling. I look forward to attending and meeting you in person.

  21. Linda! Today is my blogiversary (17th February)and yours was one of the first blogs I came across after starting ESTHER IN THE GARDEN .

    In anticipation of today, I was (yesterday evening) explaining to (a half-listening) Ming how blogging has changed my life, influenced my world view, expanded my interests!

    It's quite exciting!

    And, I too, began on a whim.

    I was doing odd bits of bobs in the garden when I suddenly felt like writing about it - so I rushed indoors and started a blog. And it never struck me, even for a moment, that anyone else would be interested in blogs about gardening. I thought it would be just me. Why would anyone be interested in other people's plants, weeding, sparrows, snails, weather . . . ?

    Then I joined Blotanical.

    I've learnt!

    Esther Montgomery

    P.S. What I really came to say was . . . thanks for pointing out that twenty foot would be very large for a carrot. That, of course, was a mistake. What I meant was twelve foot. I've changed it - and added an acknowledgement that you pointed out the error. Thanks. E.

  22. Happy anniversary! I sure am glad you started blogging. It has been a treat reading you and seeing your lovely photos!

  23. I didn't know you were taking MG courses. If you're on Twitter Ron Wolford recently joined up.

  24. This is such a nice post Linda - and I am looking forward to another year of "garden girl's" posts.
    Good luck with your Master Gardener Class

  25. Congratulations on your first blogiversary, Linda - glad we got to hear your unique voice!

    It was funny to realize you started blogging for the same reason I did in make it easier to comment. And once you start commenting it's awfully easy to fall over the cliff and end up rafting down Blog River.

    Your indoor garden is a good way for a northern gardener to escape to a tropical isle!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  26. Linda-love, congratulations on your blogiversary, as well as starting the MG course. You are such an inspiration, not to mention talented, beautiful, intelligent ...
    Can you tell I'm a fan? Love you always.

  27. Thank you Pam! And congratulations to you on your third blogiversary! I always enjoy stopping by for a visit.

    I'm really looking forward to meeting you at the Fling!

    Congratulations Esther! I do remember you started blogging right around the same time I did. I'll never see Mars the same way again, and you've inspired me to see ordinary objects in new ways.

    It's surprising to learn how many people started blogs on the spur of the moment as you also did.

    Like you I was also very surprised to learn how many garden blogs there are, and since that time only a year ago, how many more have been started.

    Oh yes, a twelve-foot carrot - now that I can imagine! They must have some powerful fertilizer on Mars.

    Thank you Melanthia! It's always a pleasure for me visiting your blog too! Besides enjoying your garden and your writing, I must admit I've become very fond of the Little Guy!

    Hi MBT, I just started the classes earlier this month - still have a ways to go before I'm 'official!'

    Thank you Karen! I'm really enjoying the class, and learning alot. One of the most fun things about blogging is being able to visit gardens around the world, including yours!

    Thank you Annie! I'm in awe of people like you and Pam who have been blogging for so long. Yours was one of the first garden blogs I came across. I thought it was really neat that you were a native Illinoisian who was able to adapt to such a different gardening climate so successfully. Having lived here all my life, although it's fun to imagine living in climate where I could garden in the winter, in truth I'm sure I'd be a bit lost and disoriented with such different conditions.

    Aw, thank you Mom! Of course it goes without saying I wouldn't be me if I hadn't such a wonderful mom. I'm grateful to you for so much, not the least of which are the values you raised us with, and how you've shared your love of gardening and nature with us. Love you too! :~)

  28. And we are indeed so, so very glad you were taken to that screen to start a blog yourself. Congratulations on your blogaversary, on widening our gardening horizons and making a blogging sphere a richer place. Cheers!

  29. By the way, Linda, a friend just loaned Michael Pollan's "Botany of Desire" to me. I'm really enjoying it. He has a different perspective in looking at plants that I'm finding quite refreshing. Perhaps you and some of your blog-friends have read it. If not, it's well worth it, in my opinion. He, of course, also wrote "Omnivore's Dilemma", and "In Defense of Food", both very good books, too.

  30. It is amazing how we have all grown from sitting at a desk and typing a bit. Okay, not a bit, a lot! It has really opened up a new world for us all. I am impressed as to how this has motivated you along the way. I think blogging is a wonderful outlet. Congrats on your Year and glasses up to another year filled with wonderful chit chat...

  31. Thank you Violet - what a sweet comment! One of the best things about starting this blog is how its led me to gardeners around the world, and to their blogs.

    I always enjoy visiting your garden in Croatia through your blog. It has opened my eyes to how beautiful it is in your corner of the world.

    Hi Mom, sounds like a book I'd enjoy - thanks for the recommendation. I haven't read any of his books yet, but they are on my list. I think I have as many books on my list as I have plants on my list! (or maybe more, if you count the books about plants.)

    So true Skeeter. It's truly an enriching experience.

    Cheers to your lovely toast!

  32. Happy first blogiversary Linda. It's amazing what can happen when you start blogging, isn't it?

    Well done that you are taking the MG classes this year.

    I agree, chocolate, gardening and kids make a wonderful mixture.

  33. Thank you Yolanda!

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  34. Congrats on your blogiversary! It is great fun to share the garden and meet fellow addicts!

  35. Thank you Layanee! It will be really fun meeting fellow addicts in person at the Spring Fling!


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