If you haven’t been paying attention, you may have missed the memo about Austin garden bloggers taking over the world, or at least the blogosphere. Austin booster that I am, even I have been surprised by the number of garden blogs popping up left and right in our fair city.
In the spirit of welcoming the new bloggers and celebrating the unique community that the Austin garden bloggers have become, I am listing all the ones I know about, with a short description. If anyone has been posting a while and I was just slow to find you, I apologize and hope you won’t mind my calling you “new.” New to me, I should say. And if I missed your blog, please let me know and I’ll add yours to the list*.
If you live in the Austin area and are looking for a good source of gardening information, you’ve hit pay dirt. Reading this number of garden blogs—seeing real photos of plants (and plant disasters) and getting the insights of both experienced and newbie gardeners—is the best way I know (short of hiring a garden coach) to learn about gardening in Austin. Dig in!
New Austin garden blogs
THE NOT SO BIG GARDEN. Kelly is growing a drought-tolerant garden in north-central Austin and would like to connect with other local xeriscapers.
HORSELIPS’S HORSE SENSE. Randy gardens in upper-east Austin. His nursery-crawl posts are especially fun.
THE GARDEN GUIDE. Karla is gardening on eight acres in west Austin near Mansfield Dam and has a vegetable garden and a streamside garden.
ROCK ROSE. “Lots of rocks and a few roses,” the tagline modestly and pithily summarizes. This is the blog of Englishwoman-turned-Texan Jenny, whose beautiful walled garden in southwest Austin attracted throngs of visitors on the Inside Austin Gardens Tour and who gave the early-bird Spring Flingers a private tour. I’m eager to see more posts in order to visit her lovely garden on a regular basis.
GARDENING IN AUSTIN. Katina asks, “What do you grow in Austin, TX when everything you try dies?” After moving here from Colorado, she soon discovered that plants well suited to her old garden soon croaked in the heat and humidity of Austin. Frustrated with a lack of info on plants suited for Austin (I’m guessing she hadn’t discovered the other Austin garden bloggers yet), she started a blog about her experiments with a variety of vegetables and native perennials.
CENTRAL TEXAS GARDENER BLOG. Linda Lehmusvirta, producer of the popular “Central Texas Gardener” show on KLRU, our local PBS station, recently switched from an e-newsletter to a blog format for her weekly stories about her own east Austin gardening adventures. Reminiscing this week about the excitement of planting her first garden in her early-married days, she recalls sitting on the patio and gazing at their new eden. “Fire ants, weeds, struggling lawn, chainlink fence, and such dreams as we never thought could happen to us: our very own yard!”
PEOPLE WITH DIRTY HANDS. “Robin Chotzinoff bares her soil in this garden blog,” reads the tagline. Oh, how I love wordplay. Named after her book of the same title, Robin’s blog gives us a taste of her wry humor, gardening angst, and “pseudo-intellectual” theories. Gardening in south Austin, she’s a recent transplant from Colorado and is still adjusting to the humidity. She also writes a monthly gardening column for the Austin American-Statesman.
THE SUN IS KILLING ME. Lee17 describes herself as “a transplant from the Great Northwest attempting to build some gardening goodness in the great frying pan that is Austin, Texas.” In her “semi-arid suburb” she’s changed her gardening palette from Seattle’s dogwoods and azaleas to Austin’s persimmons, citrus, salvias, cacti, and the Anacacho orchid tree that started her gardening craze.
PUNK GARDENER. Heather’s blog is about green living and gardening for food. Her tagline is her wish for the world: “Let there be gardens where there were parking lots.”
SOCIETY GARLIC. Iris’s blog combines “adventures in beginning urban organic gardening” with, unusually, “observing a few criminal trials.” She trusts that it’s not too weird a blogging combo for Austin. She gardens in central Austin.
THE GARDENS OF CASA MARTIN. Maggie gardens on a large suburban lot with a pretty courtyard at the front door.
EAST-SIDE-PATCH. Philip lives in a 100-year-old house in east Austin, where he’s growing agaves, natives and semi-tropicals, and a water garden.
COOL AS A CUCUMBER. SMR is a nature observer and an ornamental and vegetable gardener in the north-central neighborhood of Crestview.
SOME LIKE IT HOT. Laura, a south Austin blogger, moved here from Phoenix and is enjoying her new vegetable and flower/xeriscape gardens.
GETTING GROUNDED. Robin is a chiropractor and nutritionist turned writer. Her new blog contains lots of big, beautiful pictures of her southwest Austin garden.
CONSCIOUS GARDENING. The Conscious Gardener joins us from the Crestview neighborhood in north-central Austin and blogs about her vegetable garden, her chickens, and living lightly on the earth.
CRAZY BILLIONAIRE. Kelly is vegetable gardening on the east side of Austin.
I HAVE IMPORTANT THOUGHTS. Samantha blogs about gardening in the West Campus area and whatever else strikes her fancy.
RENEE’S ROOTS. Renee Studebaker’s tagline reads, “The garden of an urban farmgirl,” but she writes about all kinds of gardening in the Austin area, and her essays and interviews frequently appear in the Austin American-Statesman.
Austin garden blogs from those who attended the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling 2008
AURORA PRIMAVERA. Libby gardens in black clay in a “postage stamp yard” in north-central Austin. Inspired by a visit to Key West a few years ago, she’s turning her unlandscaped yard into a “desert tropical cottage garden.”
SOMETHING ABOUT BLOOMING AND BUTTERFLIES. South Austinite VivÃ© works on making her garden a fall paradise for her upcoming back-yard wedding.
THE GARDENER OF GOOD AND EVIL. Wisconsin transplant Lori evokes Savannah with her title, but she’s going for a lush Texas look in her southwest Austin garden.
THE GRACKLE. Lee gardens in east Austin on the black clay of the Blackland Prairie. Boldly taking the name of one of the most despised birds in Texas, he frequently poses philosophical questions on gardening matters, like, Is it ethical to use hardscaping materials from far-off places, perhaps destroying their natural beauty in the process?
HUMAN FLOWER PROJECT. As Julie has explained to me, HFP is not exactly a garden blog but rather an exploration of the meaning and uses of flowers in society. Her insightful and humorous posts cover topics from around the world and across fields as diverse as “art, medicine, society, politics, religion, and commerce.” Julie reports from south Austin.
IN BLOOM. Rachel is growing vegetables and perennials in her first garden, located in north Austin. She has a great eye for detail and takes lovely photographs.
KISS OF SUN. In the hills of west Austin, Bonnie grabs moments to garden “between baby napping and children potty training.” She has a big veggie garden, lots of Texas natives, a wildflower garden atop her septic drainage field, and deer.
PLAYIN’ OUTSIDE. Vicki is the envy of the garden-blogging community in Austin with her giant cistern (water-collection tank) that she recently installed. She also has a good-sized pond in her Pflugerville (suburb of Austin) garden, so water seems to be a theme.
SEEDS. Growing her garden in the black clay of north Austin, Brianna blogs about transforming her yard into an “intentional garden space.” Her title evokes “hope, new beginnings, and the promise of miraculous things to come.”
SHARING NATURE’S GARDEN. Diana grows a variety of native and adapted plants, some tropicals, and vegetables on her large lot in southwest Austin. “Connecting to the earth, to our wildlife friends, and to my fellow gardeners,” her tagline reads.
SOUL OF THE GARDEN. Locally famous as host of the long-running “Central Texas Gardener” show on KLRU, Tom Spencer has also kept a blog for many years to “explor[e] the garden of life from an Austin garden.” In his Daily Muse section, Tom writes thoughtfully about spirituality and politics and posts beautiful photographs of his north-central Austin garden.
SUBURBAN WILDLIFE GARDEN. Florida transplant Dawn documents the process of “transforming a small, relatively barren suburban lot into a wildlife-friendly oasis.” Her northwest Austin garden provides her with the challenges of deer and caliche (thin, limestone soil) and the rewards of greenbelt views and proximity to wilder nature.
THE TRANSPLANTABLE ROSE. Annie in Austin, as she calls herself on this blog about her northwest Austin garden, is a “former Illinois gardener doing [her] best to bloom and grow in Zone 8.” She gardens on black clay in a traditional neighborhood and keeps most of her gardening adventures behind the garden gate. Fearless about trying plants not usually grown in Austin, she also fearlessly posts YouTube videos of herself singing and playing her own compositions about deer-proof salvias, spinning under the Zilker Christmas Tree, and an aging Arizona ash.
VERT. Hyde Park (north-central Austin) gardener Vertie calls herself a “wannabe” who’s killed innumerable plants. Starting over with vegetables and now ornamentals, she’s seen her thumb turn from brown to green.
ZANTHAN GARDENS. One of the pioneer garden bloggers in the world, not just Austin, MSS grows a spring-oriented meadow garden in south Austin. Her unique format groups weekly posts from across the years, so we can see how a week in today’s garden compares to the same week in years past. She shares not only her scientific observations about her garden but also oodles of seeds and bulbs, particularly oxblood lilies.
DIGGING. That’s me. As my tagline reads, I’m “growing a central Austin cottage garden” that contains a rollicking mixture of Texas native perennials, old-fashioned cottage classics like roses and irises, and trendy, architectural agaves. Thanks to numerous posts extolling their usefulness as garden decor, I may already have become known as the stock-tank lady.
Inactive or occasionally updated Austin garden blogs
HANA’S GARDEN CATASTROPHE. Dubbing her blog “the least Zen experience ever,” Hana confesses that although her name means “flower” in Japanese, she has a history of killing plants. Join the club, Hana! Starting a vegetable garden from seed, she has enthusiasm aplenty and a fun sense of humor. Her first post warns, “Be prepared for stories of heartbreak. Brace yourself for graphic images of death. . . . This is a blog about the seedlings unfortunate enough to end up in my care.”
THE GREAT EXPERIMENT. R. Sorrell says her blog is “all about an Austin garden whose keeper has no idea what she’s doing.” She grows roses, perennials, and fruit trees in north-central Austin.
SOUTH OF THE RIVER. Susan grows an intimate, colorful, yet serene garden on two elevations in her south Austin back yard.
Like a trumpet vine on a telephone pole…
…the group of Austin garden bloggers keeps growing and blooming. For whatever reason, this town has created or attracted a number of people who enjoy gardening, writing, photographing, computing, and meeting other gardeners online. But don’t assume that we’re all the same. We dig in different soils (some in black clay, others in caliche) and different neighborhoods (some strait-laced and traditional, others freewheeling and creative); some of us deal with deer, others with urban noise; some focus on vegetables, others on ornamentals; some have decades of gardening experience, while others are planting their very first gardens. In other words, there’s a wealth of knowledge to draw on right here in Austin among the garden bloggers.
Whether you blog or not, whether you live in Austin or not, won’t you join us in the conversation?
*Local blogroll updated on March 5, 2009.
All material Â© 2006-2008 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.