Since beginning this garden blog, gardening has become an oxymoron of sorts – an entirely new pastime. What was once a simple task – something that I could take care of with little thought – has now become, well, post material. Everything is fair game. Weeding is no longer an act of pulling and discarding. It’s now an opportunity to write, to inform, to be witty. It’s a photo op – and how many of you have tried to garden with one hand while holding a camera in the other?
And so my dilemma. Do blogging and the need for content take away from gardening or does gardening interfere with blogging time? Does one need to suffer for the good of the other, or can both activities find a balanced and peaceful coexistence?
I’m never quite sure what to think. I guess it all depends on the day. There are days when I’m in the garden and I think that I’d rather be writing. Then there are those moments when I can’t possibly think of a post and the garden presents a fine, inspirational escape.
I think what keeps me going is the saying coined by my friend Alisa. “Gardening,” she says, “is like a natural surprise party.” And I find myself getting a little thrill from all of the surprises that seem to pop up, like this begonia, which reseeded itself and managed to survive winter. I know our winter was quite mild this year, but I do think this was a monumental task nonetheless for this little seed – and what a magical surprise for me.
I’m also learning that the same thing can be said about garden blogging. Surprises can come from the most unlikely of places.
A few months ago, my friend Cathey announced that she was writing a freelance article about using antiques in the garden for Old House Journal. I was thrilled for her. She then asked if she could borrow my potting shed and my hands for a photo demonstrating how to plant in an antique urn.
When she arrived, she brought terracotta shards, the antique urn, potting soil, and plants. I supplied the hands. In a few short moments, she taught me the art of staging as she placed potted plants around the urn, spilled out some dirt, and handed me the shards with instructions on how to hold the pieces. I stood still, even afraid to breathe. Then we laughed and shared a potting shed moment.
I’m happy to say that the issue is out, and her article can be read at Old House Online. I can honestly say that those hands are mine. All mine.
Soon after the print issue appeared, I received an email from Marshal Zeringue, the man behind an amazingly original and fun blog called Coffee with a Canine, a site that features bloggers of all kinds who are invited to go on a coffee date with their dogs. What Marshall couldn’t have known is that his request came at an interesting time for me and my dog, Murphy.
Joe and I had recently learned that out 8-year-old Tibetan Terrier had torn ACLs in each of her hind legs, as well as lymphoma. There was no way I could say no to Marshal’s request. All I had to do was go on a coffee date with Murphy and answer a few questions.
Joe and I laughed our way through the assignment as we took photos of Murphy, putting together all of the staging techniques that Cathey had taught me. Then, it was time to answer the questions – which allowed me to be creative and to laugh with stories of Murphy.
I cannot thank Marshall enough for this honor and for the chance to permanently plant my date with Murphy in cyberspace. If you would like to read the interview, please visit Coffee with a Canine.
To garden or to blog, that is the question. And my answer to both is “yes.”