Cool Blogs to Follow: Not Just Your Garden Variety

October 8, 2010 by

Photo by Ellen Shapiro, Dig-it-Blog

I’ve made some new friends in and out of the garden lately. Some I met at the Garden Writers Association Annual Symposium in Dallas last month, some through other bloggers and on Twitter, others just by happenstance. I want to introduce a sampling of them to you so you can also enjoy their talents:

Aha!ModernLiving is Jayme Jenkins’s wonderful blog and online shop offering a mixture of unique, modern, and eco-friendly home and garden accessories for, as she says, “people who like to be just a little different.” Jenkins blogs about cool things like How to Attract Wildlife to Your Garden and How to Bring the Outdoors in With Nature Inspired Accessories. One of my favorite items in the shop is The Stylish Girl Gift Set (above) that inlcudes an elephant watering can, Chrysanthemum Eggling, a Daub & Bauble Hand Wash & Lotion Set, and a Matchstick Wildflower Garden.

Sarah Kinbar’s Good Garden Ideas post about Cottage Gardens of Petaluma.

Sarah Kinbar, former editor-in-chief of Garden Design magazine, recently launched Good Garden Ideas, a blog that covers a little bit of it all–from gardening and design to travel and photography. A writer and floral designer who “loves flowers, trees and being outside as much as possible,” Kinbar  says she was inspired to launch the blog because, in the ten years she’d been a gardening editor, she had not yet seen a website that covered a full range of garden-related topics. “So, I decided to create one with some of my gardening friends and my family,” she says. “What sets this site apart is that it is written in a friendly, engaging tone that invites readers to participate.”

Tuffits at Cottage Garden of Petaluma. Photo, Good Garden Ideas

In Kinbar’s virtual tour of the Cottage Gardens of Petaluma, she highlighted a very cool shop, Tuffits, that onsite at the nursery, manufactures pillow-shaped concrete stepping stones that mimic vintage accent pillows.

It was on Good Gardening Ideas that I was led to Ellen Shapiro’s blog, Dig-It! On her blog, Ellen takes us on jaunts to some of her favorite spots, offers recipes like Farm Succotash Salad from her Food from the Garden section, and sells her 32-page limited-edition Peace and Garlic–a memoir/cookbook with 14 international recipes (below).

Shapiro is a graphic designer, writer, and gardener based in Irvington, New York. She’s a frequent contributor to design magazines including Print, Communication Arts, and Etapes, where she writes about trends, issues and personalities in design, illustration, photography, and visual culture around the world.

Steel edging gets critiqued on Austin garden designer Jenny Peterson’s blog

When I launched Urban Gardens in May 2009, Austin garden designer and Master Gardener Jenny Peterson was one of the first to leave a comment. I was so excited, I immediately dialed up several friends to share that “someone commented on my blog!” Known on Twitter as “@MulchMaven,” Peterson and I continued to exchange tweets and comments, but it wasn’t until I got to the Garden Writers Symposium, that I realized Jenny, in her cowboy boots drawing a crowd of fans, was more than a knowledgeable garden designer and all around nice person–she was loads of fun and we spent much of our time together laughing.

Some bloggers go on to publish books. I had the pleasure of recently meeting Rebecca Sweet of Gossip in the Garden, and  Susan Morrison of Blue Planet Garden Blog, who have teamed up to publish Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces, which will be available from Cool Springs Press in Spring 2011. Here’s a preview:

Venturing out of the blogosphere for a moment, there are a few more folks I’d like to share with you. Like Dency Kane, who shoots horses…and gardens–with her camera–she’s a photographer.

Fresian horses by Dency Kane

Adriana Martinez, Anarchy in the Garden, and Fern Richardson, Life on the Balcony

After meeting on Twitter then cementing the relationship in person, two Los Angeles bloggers, Adriana Martinez of Anarchy in the Garden, and Fern Richardson of Life on the Balcony, joined forces to establish Beetnik Media, “a creatively driven digital strategy firm.”  The two are Master Gardeners and, in the process of blogging and promoting their own blogs, have become pretty expert in social media. They are both interesting women who have found a way to extend their offerings beyond their blogs. Fern is also working on a book, My Balcony, My Garden, so stay tuned.

Stepping outside the blog allowed me to meet Joe De Sciose, a former Southern Living Magazine photographer who did all the photography for the 442-page Garden Guide: New York City, a handy pocket sized book you can take with you when you visit some of the city’s lesser-known gardens like the Vera List Courtyard in lower Manhattan, and the Garden of Happiness in the Bronx. The new edition is out, so excuse me, I’m going on a field trip…


  1. Christine B. said:

    Drat. I guess this means I need to plan another trip out of state. That Tuffitts place looks very tempting. Someday there will be a nursery/garden place that cool in my state. Someday….

    Thanks for all the good leads on new (to me) blogs and bloggers.

    Christine in Alaska

    — October 9, 2010 @ 02:24

  2. Susan Morrison said:

    Hey Robin –
    Thanks for the shout out! My favorite part of GWA is all the new people that I meet, whether they’re gardeners, writers, designers or bloggers.

    — October 13, 2010 @ 11:43

  3. Jayme said:

    Thanks for including aHa! in your blog feature Robin. I was so thrilled to finally meet you in person at GWA. I’ve been a silent stalker of your blog for awhile. Keep up the good work and congrats again on your GWA media award!

    — October 21, 2010 @ 11:29

  4. A Stone’s Throw From the Garden | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces Pingback said:

    […] outdoors, I wrote a while back about Tuffits pillow stepping stones after reading about them on Sarah Kinbar’s cool […]

    — January 13, 2011 @ 13:30

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