Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why There Are So Many Austin Garden Bloggers

I think I have finally figured out why Austin is the garden blogging center of the universe. To explain my point, I will present my theory on why there are so few northern California garden blogs.

(I do know there are some very good garden bloggers in northern California. My statements are in no way backed by scientific analysis, but they do include a tongue firmly lodged in my cheek. I did try to do some searching on, but I have to admit that that site mystifies me. I managed to register on it but have since been unable to quite figure out what I am supposed to do with it. I've been faved a few times but can't even go to those bloggers' pages. So if you are one of them, I apologize. I've tried resetting my password, etc. I just think I've tapped out that portion of my brain!)

Okay, back to the main subject. Here's my thesis: There aren't that many northern California garden bloggers because gardening is just far too easy in that area. Imagine if you were a Berkeley garden blogger and every day, you had to write posts like, "Planted flowers. Didn't water, didn't fertilize, didn't sweat while planting, didn't get bit by mosquitoes. Everything grew well."


Where's the drama? Where's the fight for survival? Where's the worry over too high heat or an early frost? When your average temperatures vary by only 30 degrees ANNUALLY how can you make that exciting compared to Austin's temperatures that can vary by 50 degrees in ONE day?

When the biggest problem is controlling the unruly growth of calla lilies, can you really expect empathy from readers? When agapanthus grows like a weed and blooms at will, can you really expect the rest of us to ooh and aah over one of one thousand blooms? (Okay, well, I admit, I still find it beautiful no matter how many blooms I see.)

If your fuschia plant grows more like a tree than a container plant we struggle to keep alive, should you expect any comment other than "Yeah, yeah, yeah, what else have you got?"

Just because you could show us cute pictures of a fuchsia bloom turned into a ballerina, do you really think you can hold our attention for months?

I guess you could tell us about the geraniums that your neighbors are accidentally growing because they do NOTHING in the yard.

Or you could tell us how this rose just keeps coming back and blooming and perfuming your entire yard when you really just had had enough of the aromatic rose smell and have tried to kill it for months now?

I guess if all else failed, you could show us photos of your local flower shop to try to convince us that not everyone in the area has a green thumb and some people have to--gasp--buy flowers instead of just growing their own.

Maybe you could interest us by claiming that this is the yellow rose of Texas?

But I will anoint you the best, most interesting, scintillating blogger in the world if you let me come live with you for the rest of the summer.


  1. My gosh,
    LOVE this post. As I was waiting for it to load, I guessed to myself, "I bet it's because in Austin it's so dang hot in the spring, not to mention summer, that us gardeners NEED to show off our blooms to others to prove that we have what it takes!"

    Anyway, very entertaining, I always love a post that makes me laugh in understanding.

  2. You cracked me up, Vertie. Your theory is an intriguing one. If only I could move to northern California for a while and have a test garden and blog to see if you're right. At least in the summer. Only for scientific purposes, of course.

  3. I agree! Gardening in a place like northern California is too easy! Boring! Bland!

    But then, we struggle in the midwest, too, so why can't I find more bloggers from my city?

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  4. You're so right! We're all about drama here, that's for sure. And defiance. Every single plant that manages to survive, every single flower that struggles out a bloom is precious, marvelous, and deserving of its photograph in our hall of fame. Talk about a sense of wonder. I constantly wonder how anything lives. Time to celebrate and marvel and share photos of our precious babes with the world.

    That...and the fact that it's just too hot to be outside. I wonder what it's like to actually sit outside in the garden in the summer. You know reading a book in a hammock and all that.

  5. Your theory is entertaining, Vertie - and it could be right. I've never been to California so will have to take your word on the ease of growing things!

    Some of us Austin gardenbloggers do get a little dramatic, don't we? We rocket between triumph and tragedy and we take everything that happens to our gardens personally.

    Maybe this goes along with Austin's reputation for for navel-gazing, introspective, extremely personal music?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    BTW, in Illinois we had no hammock and I sure don't remember sitting in the garden reading any books!

  6. AGREED! This heat is tough on plants and tough on gardeners! I live much farther south of Austin - but at least I get a Gulf breeze to keep me goin'.

  7. LOL! Well, I like your theory, Vertie, but I can blow holes all over it... because there are only 2 other garden bloggers that I know of in the Cleveland area, and we have all kinds of challenges here, too! :)

  8. That's a hoot! It's good we can laugh at ourselves and our drought-stricken-miserable climate right now, huh? Your Agapanthus is stunning, btw. And the fuchsia ballerina is amazing! Keep up the fun and games -- we need it.

  9. HAHAHA! That was AWESOME. I believe the second year I was in Austin, it was 90 degrees one day and SNOWED the next! What is THAT about?!? I mean seriously. I come from Seattle and a 20 degree temperature fluctuation is a big deal. A 60 degree fluctuation in 24hours was unheard of for me.

    Then we get like 80 inches of rain last year (or something insane like that) and like what - 6 inches so far this year? What plants dare to thrive in an environment like that?

    And my fuschias back home were of mammoth proportions where here, they struggle just to survive. Ditto on the nastursiums.

    Austin is definately a gardening challenge! No wonder we are so proud to flaunt it ;)

  10. vertie:this was a hoot to read just imagining that it was true made me laugh.

    Only I would have to think that if it were true then Florida would be swamped with garden bloggers too and it isn't. I mean we really have more challenges than anyone right? Only teasing... but we do have lots of drama to contend with here too.

    Still... it was a fun read.

  11. LOL. Form my visits to my friends in San Francisco it does indeed seem as if with no effort at all these garden-including those planted on empty lots in residential areas, just manage to look great! I can tell you my friends don't even have the first clue about plants.

  12. HA! Awesome post, Vertie. I agree with your thesis. Where's the drama in an easy climate? I suspect that the harder it is to garden in a crazy climate, the more bonding opportunities exist when a bunch of obsessed gardeners get together to tell war stories.

  13. Very good, Vertie! I think you're right. My corollary would be that Californians are all outdoors enjoying their gardens instead of hiding indoors in the mid-day heat, peeking out windows at their flowers. Blogging when the weather is so lovely probably seems like a silly thing to do.

  14. This was a really fun read !
    I'm one of those boring N. California gardeners.
    My neighbor's agapanthus has been blooming outrageously for the past several weeks and today was the first time I actually acknowledged them as a sight of garden beauty.
    How blase' I have gotten.
    It was just 20 years ago that I coddled and lugged a single agapanthus in and out of a New England root cellar and thought of it as my most rarest prized plant.
    Thanks for jogging that memory.
    Michelle in Marin.

  15. I'm clearly a later bloomer/commenter, but CUTE CUTE CUTE. I aspire to be an austin area garden blogger, but alas, I'm just too lazy to keep up with the blog! ;)