Sharing Gardens; Bloggers and Beyond

One of the many wonderful things about being a gardener is the companionship of other gardeners. After all, it is a time-honored tradition to trade seeds and extra produce from garden to garden, over the fence or otherwise. Plus, most people who enjoy getting their hands dirty, making and tending gardens of any size, are just nice people. I had the opportunity to meet many interesting and generous gardeners and writers at the recent Garden Bloggers Conference in Atlanta.




As people may know, this blog, per-joy, was a finalist in the Best New Garden Blog category. No, I didn’t win, but being in the top five of my category, in this illustrious group, is an honor…and I’ll take it. The top award went to Paul Dysinger for his new blog Born to Grow, which captures his passion for sharing how to grow organic edibles, who can’t appreciate that? But I’m really glad that I went to the conference and had the chance to meet other garden writers and designers and to hear inspiring speakers who I very much admire. Thanks to everyone who did vote for per-joy and for the encouragement and support for the little things I’ve written.




I loved hearing from keynote speaker Dan Hinkley about his journey from loving plants of all kinds to appreciating the role of design in creating a “spirit of place” and just a few of his adventures along the way. Amy Stewart, who is so well known for her books, most recently The Drunken Botanist, was funny and informative about using interesting botanical information to tell a spell-binding story.

It was inspirational to hear Robin Horton from Urban Gardens  speak about her path-blazing journey to harness new media in the world of gardening. Michelle Slatalla was an informative speaker too, recounting her journey from print media to editor at web-zine Gardenista. She was also kind and generous as we briefly shared a chat in the back of the auditorium before her time to speak.




My seat-mate Dee Nash from Red Dirt Ramblings was also nominated for Best Overall Blog and I was excited to hear that she has a new book coming out that will be perfect for sharing gardening with the next generation. Amazon is taking pre-orders and the book is being published in spring 2014. If you are a new-by gardener, or you know one, check out her book ‘The 20-30 Something Garden Guide’.

I also had the privilege of sharing lunch with the author Ruth Kassinger and hearing a little about her new book; ‘A Garden of Marvels’. It sounds right up my alley because it combines the history and science of botany and what that means, in practical ways, for a gardener.  It is due out in 2014 as well.




Theresa O’Connor, from the well-loved blog Seasonal Wisdom, was another keynote speaker. She was funny and informative, sharing her well-earned wisdom, seasonal and otherwise, from her on-going journey as a gardener, interviewer and writer. I was interested to hear that she has moved from Idaho to California and will be encountering the joys and privileges of gardening year round, with less summer water, as I am.

I loved meeting other garden designers from all over the US and Canada. It’s always so helpful to share insights and frustrations in our gardens and our professions, as they vary across different ecosystems and climate zones.  I felt a particular kinship with Darbi from Red Bark Design in Arizona as we compared notes on helping clients appreciate the beauty of the places we actually live and not always trying to follow the garden templates of the summer-rain English traditions. Sharing the myriad options and alternatives available to those of us in the west is always so inspirational.




There were many other interesting speakers and people who I  admire, such as Rochelle Greayer, of Studio G, Steve Aitken the editor of Fine Gardening Magazine and Felicia Feaster the editor-in-chief of HGTV Gardens, to name a few. I wish I had met my writer-designer crush Susan Cohen, who also attended. I even had an extra pleasant trip back to the airport by unexpectedly sharing the time with Amy Murphy a garden historian who writes a blog called Of Gardens.

By the way, the Best Overall Blog award was given to A Way to Garden, created by former Martha Stewart Editor Margaret Roach and congratulations to the winner of Best Blog Graphics; David Corscadden, the Irishman whose winning blog is Beyond The Wild Garden.  I have a soft spot in my heart for David because Irish gardens have had a big impact on me during previous travels and I particularly enjoyed a visit to Powerscourt Estate, for whom he does guest posts.




Even though per-joy didn’t bring home the crystal trophy, the conference organizer, Adam Japko, shared one of his favorite organic bubblies with us in a celebratory moment and the whole event was organized very well by his company Digital Sherpa.

Best of all, when I got home (well…next best after having my husband greet me at the airport with a consolatory bouquet), my mother’s neighbor Edith had a big bag of green tomatoes waiting to share with me from her garden, in return for a batch of Satsuma Plums I had given her earlier…. after all….that’s what we gardeners do.



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Categories: Garden Inspiration


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4 Comments on “Sharing Gardens; Bloggers and Beyond”

  1. October 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Wonderful recap of the Conference! And so nice of you to give me and OF GARDENS a mention.I enjoyed our trip to the airport and continue to enjoy your blog and learning the details of California gardening.

    • October 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      Thanks Amy. I’m so glad you are enjoying perjoy and thanks for adding to the fun of the conference. It’s nice to see what other gardeners and writers are up to.

  2. July 31, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    Joy! It’s Darbi. I just discovered this post! I too loved speaking with you and while I haven’t communicated it directly, you have crossed my mind in terms of Cali-gardesn more than once recently! Cheers!

  3. July 31, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Great to hear from you Darbi! I hope you and your design business are doing well. I really enjoyed our time together at the conference.

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