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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Can I Write a Post Without a Question?

We are entering that time of winter when the major winter holidays, for which we actually want snow and cold and icicles and all, are past, and now we just have winter going on. And though this year winter has been warmer than usual, we are starting to have below freezing temperatures, which reminds us that we do have awhile to go until spring.

And during these days when there is not a lot one can do in the garden, at least in the Midwest, there is still plenty to think about related to the garden. Here are some things I’ve been thinking about. I promise no questions, just thoughts!

I’ve come to realize that not everyone thinks about how they would prune a particular tree or shrub when they see it in the winter without leaves (or even in the summer with leaves). I randomly surveyed a few people about this and their responses were along the lines of “huh?” I think they just see sticks. I see shape and form and branching and think about how I would prune the shrub or tree this way or that way when I see it.

In the wintertime, I don’t have that much opportunity to talk to other gardeners at length. I have to resort to asking non-gardeners about gardening topics, like pruning, only to find out they don't think about gardening or plants as much as I do.

I once belonged to a garden club, but I would guess it has been 8 or so years since I last attended. Stuff like “work” got in the way. It was nice, a room full of people, all wanting to talk about gardening and plants! For awhile they invited me to their Christmas party, even though I had not attended a single meeting all year long. But I politely declined because it was always at a new member’s house, and I’m not the kind of person who would go to someone’s house that I don’t know, and hope that at least one person that I remembered from the club was there.

That’s what’s nice about the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club. You can always ‘attend’ because it takes place right here on this blog, a safe place, as it were. There are places that aren’t all that safe on the Internet, you know that don’t you? (Oops, sorry that was a question, and I promised no questions!)

Speaking of the book club, I hope that everyone is enjoying reading Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web or if you couldn’t get the book, that you are reading something about soil and compost. I’ll be looking for related posts toward the end of the month, with a goal of publishing them in a book club blog post on or about January 30th. When you’ve posted about the book or soil or compost, just comment on my blog with a link to let me know so I can include you. Remember our motto for the month, “Once you learn about soil, it will never be dirt again”.

The February book selection, for those who missed the announcement, is Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White & Elizabeth Lawrence--A Friendship in Letters.

I’m still taking suggestions for the March book. If you’ve got any ideas, please comment. I’ve got comments from way back with suggestions, but I’m guessing people may have new ideas and new books to suggest, so I’m starting with a clean slate and am open to any and all suggestions. What gardening book is on your night stand right now? (Oops again, another question… you don’t have to answer it, I just thought it might help you think of a book to suggest.)

One type of book that we won’t be selecting for the book club is one related to growing a certain illegal plant. (Hey, I’m not naming it as I don’t want an online search for it to lead anyone here!) I’m always amazed at how much shelf space the local chain bookstore (Borders) devotes to this particular plant’s cultivation. But I suppose if one were to buy such a book, it is better to buy it in person with cash than through a traceable online purchase, or even with a credit card in a store. There is a risk of being seen in the store, but I suspect the buyer is already a risk taker and that being seen buying a book is the least of his (or her) worries. I actually did see someone select such a book and buy it a few months ago.

And remember awhile back when I posted about seeing a local Harvest Moon hydroponics store on my way home and wondering how it got there without me noticing? (Oops, sorry that was a question, but it is rhetorical, doesn’t need to be answered, so it doesn’t count.) A couple of people commented that a common perception is that most of the people who purchase supplies from stores like that are probably growing illegal plants and if I went in there I would probably end up on some secret video tape and my car license plate would be copied down by DEA agents. Well, I finally went in there one day a few weeks ago, and it was quite a visit. I learned enough there for a full blog post, which I will post soon. Yes, quite a visit…

I think that is enough random garden thoughts for this evening. I’ll post about my hydroponics store visit soon.

(By the way, I’ve been reading that this is “de-lurk” week in the blogosphere, when bloggers are encouraging those who read their blog but don’t comment (lurking around), to comment, even just once. So if you feel so inclined and don't usually comment, how about a comment, even if it is just to say “Hi” or “Happy Gardening”? (Shoot, I did it again, I ended with a question.))

(One more note... I'm declaring today the one year anniversary for this blog. I had six posts in 2004 and two in 2005, but I've decided those don't count. January 11, 2006 was my first post of 2006, and the beginning of posting on a regular basis, so this shall be the anniversary date!)

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Gardening and Happy Blog Anniversary

LostRoses said...

Carol, I had to laugh over your reference to a certain illegal plant. When I got my first computer and joined AOL I was so thrilled to find a Garden Chat Room. Finally, a place to talk about gardening with people who weren't bored with the topic! That was long ago and I haven't visited that room in ages, but back then there was at least one person each night who "came into the room" just to find out how to grow that stuff. I guess they thought that was what gardeners talked about!

Leslie said...

Hi Carol! Happy Anniversary! I'm thinking a little signature that a reader could leave to show they were there might be a good idea...hmmm...I might actually do it! Because I am certainly a lurker...I love reading posts even when they don't prompt a thought I want to share. And I would talk about pruning with you if I lived in Indiana...I love looking at the leafless plants and figuring out what can stay and what needs to go. And I hate to mention it but your title is a question....!

Pam/Digging said...

Congrats on your first blogiversary. Mine is coming up too. It's been a fun year to get into blogging, hasn't it?

Sally said...

I've only just come to blogging, but I'm enjoying reading your blog, and I"m de-lurking

Anonymous said...

Hi. H appy Gardening. Happy Anniversary.

Kathy said...

You have a lot in common with some preschoolers I know: Why doesn't everyone like to prune shrubs? Why do people want to grow those kind of plants? Why is the sky blue? Why does the sun follow me around? LOL Looking forward to another year of May Dreams Gardens.

Colleen said...

Happy anniversary, Carol!! Think about what you've done just this year: started the Garden Blogger's Book Club (something that I hope we will repeat next winter...yes??), asked some great questions that made us think about who we are as gardeners, and written post after wonderful post. I'm looking forward to another great year of reading your blog.

Annie in Austin said...

What Kathy said~ plus a few more: What made you first dip your toe in the blog-water in 2004? Why did you then let the blog go semi-dormant? I wonder how many people are lurking? Why don't they comment? How can you keep coming up with such great conversation starters?

Happy Journal-versary, Carol!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

GirlGoneGardening said...

Hey carol, I did a post on qualifactions of a gardener, which I thought you might enjoy ;) I've been enjoying all your topics :)

Jenn said...

"Can I Write a Post Without a Question?"

Laughing Out Loud!

Now I have to go back and actually read the piece!

Jenn said...

How to grow that 'stuff.'

Buy a house in winter. Note the lovely green plants coming up outside the door come spring. Sigh as you pull them because they really are fairly pretty when they are young.

Good compost.

Nature Girl said...

Happy Anniversary! I am sure you would agree how quickly time flys!
:)NG

Sissy said...

Happy Anniversary!
I never thought of DEA agents, I thought of Disney World. They have an entire greenhouse full of hydroponic plants. I took the Disney Botanic Tour while my hubby did the Epcot with the kids!
No illegal plants in Disney's greenhouse!

Jenn said...

A suggestion for March's book -

My Weeds: A gardener's Botany
by Sara B. Stein.


Botany lessons in a breezy essay style, with lovely botanical illustrations by Ippy Patterson.

A good read for those who want to more about the inner workings of the plant world.

Gary said...

Since winter is a big part of my gardening time down here in Houston, I ty to make my garden almost all evergreen.

I do have about fifteen crape myrtles, though, and in the winter I definately think about pruning and shaping them. But I usually don't actually do the pruning until March.

Petunia's Gardener said...

Happy Anniversary! Ohhh... I need to look for that Two Gardeners book! Nice thing about the blog, too, is that we all don't have to be at the same place at the same time (like a meeting), but we still have discussions. We have employee groups at work and started a gardening one. I think we had 2 meetings before spring/summer hit and we found we were more motivated to do our own gardening thing, than to fit in time to plan & attend meetings, fun as they could be.
Celebrate & buy a special 1st anniversary seed you've always wanted to try.

Carol said...

All
Thanks for the kind comments. I think I'll answer *some* of the questions on a future blog post, such as why I started blogging and why this past year it seemed to stick. I don't know that I'm qualified to answer questions like "why is the sky blue".

I'm going to keep blogging, keep asking questions, and keep the Garden Bloggers' Book Club going!