Let’s get to know each other!
Since we’re not able to meet up in person this year, let’s meet online. Every week 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 interest in gardening started when I was a kid visiting my grandparents’ farm. I sat on a terrace ledge, picked a tomato, and took a bite. It was a revelation! Fast-forward 20 years, and I had my own postage stamp-sized square of grass, which I promptly tore up to plant my very first vegetable garden. That garden is long gone, although I have a feeling the mint that I planted in the ground is still there – one of my first lessons in what NOT to do! These days, I garden on 1 acre in a small rural town in Southern Ontario, and my mint is confined to a pot.
When I first became aware of garden blogs, I was thrilled. There were people out there, just like me, sowing seeds, growing vegetables, and planting flowers, and they were writing about it for all the world to see. I learned so much, not only from their successes but also their failures. Gardening books had always made everything sound as easy as 1-2-3. My personal experience, however, told me that gardening is full of nuance, the unexpected, and one undeniable fact: that every garden is different, as is every gardener. Garden bloggers spoke to this reality.
In 2014 I joined the blogging community. My blog was originally called Homegrown – Adventures in my Garden because the primary focus was my vegetable garden. But in 2018 I renamed it The Gardening Me to better reflect my evolving gardening journey, both in and out of my own backyard. While I’m still an avid vegetable gardener, I’ve become more and more enamoured with ornamentals, especially pollinator-friendly perennials. I attribute this to the wonderful gardeners I’ve met and the incredible gardens I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, thanks in large part to the Garden Bloggers Fling.
Whenever I travel, I make a point of visiting botanical gardens and parks. My favourite kind of garden to explore, however, is one that belongs to a regular individual who simply loves their garden, big or small. These are the spaces that I not only enjoy spending time in but also give me the best ideas for my own garden. I’m a backyard snoop and have no shame about peeking through the fence wherever I go, much to my husband’s chagrin!
I’m currently restoring many of the ornamental areas on our property – at last count, 18 distinct beds! – which gives me plenty of opportunity to try out new plants. While I have many favourites – echinacea, hydrangeas, hostas, and rudbeckia, to name a few – each year I find that one or two plants really capture my attention. Last year, Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘New Hybrids’ and Nepeta faassenii ‘Purrsian Blue’ always made me stop and smile. Both put on a season-long show, and pollinators love them.
Discovering unexpected treasures is one reason I prefer a fluid garden plan rather than one that’s set in stone. Last spring a solitary “get out of the house” drive to grab a coffee morphed into a spur-of-the-moment visit to the garden center. Two hours later, every nook and cranny of my truck was packed with 76 perennials, shrubs, and trees, most of which were not part of the “plan.” When it comes to the garden, I’m all about experimentation. My early experience with mint, however, did teach me to do a little bit of research before planting in the ground, just in case.
Photographs courtesy of Margaret Mishra.