Let’s get to know each other!
Since we’re not able to meet up in person this year, let’s meet online. Today we’re introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We’re excited to see what everyone’s talking about and sharing with their followers!
(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you’d like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)
My name is Maria, but everyone calls me Angie. I’m originally from Puerto Rico but now call Minnesota my home. I love sharing the ups and downs of gardening, especially lessons learned from a rookie perspective, on my blog, The Happy Gardener. When I started gardening and reading garden blogs, some of the information seemed complicated and overwhelming. So I decided to learn from trial and error. A lot of what I share on my blog is from that perspective. But now that I have more knowledge I’ve updated some of my posts to reflect that.
I am obsessed with English roses. I love watching the buds open into the most gorgeous blooms. But here in zone 4 I have to be imaginative in order to overwinter them. In my garden, roses are my spoiled babies. I have a love/hate relationship with dahlias. When I lived in North Carolina, they were easy to grow. But in Minnesota it’s a completely different game. For the past 3 years I’ve had the worst luck with them! First they got hit with the dahlia mosaic virus. The next year constant rain rotted the tubers. Last year burrowers took hold of them. It can be heartbreaking, but I love a challenge.
I use herbs as companion plants to deter pests. But on a more personal level, growing herbs reminds me of summers in Alsace-Lorraine in France. When I was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany, I visited often because it was so close. I remember pots of herbs everywhere and at the farmers’ market. The scent of herbs brings back those memories.
Lavender is one of my favorite plants. I associate its scent with my mom, who wears lavender perfume. I’ve been told the ‘Munstead’ variety, while officially hardy only to zone 5, does well here in zone 4, and I’m growing it this year. Fingers crossed.
The pandemic turned me into the quintessential crazy plant lady. I love the variety of houseplants available today, and the challenge of keeping them healthy. And any garden with a palm house immediately gets a piece of my heart. I love the Victorian quality of conservatories. The care that goes into growing tropical species in those environments always impresses me.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The American Rose Society, in partnership with the Tomb of the Unknown Society, is encouraging members to grow a Never Forget Garden to commemorate the occasion. I’m partnering with my hometown community center to create a rose garden there, selecting cold-hardy white roses (the official flower of the Centennial of the Unknown Soldier) like ‘Long John Silver’ and ‘Polar Express’ and others with theme-appropriate names, like ‘Hope for Humanity’ and ‘Bordeaux’.
I am also starting to create gardening content in Spanish. That is my first language, and I have not found many Spanish-language gardening blogs for my area, so that is potentially a project for later this year.
Photographs courtesy of Angie Baer.