And The One Lovely Blog Award Goes To . . .


Streaked Sphinx Moth

I was as surprised by the emailed notice as I was by the mysterious moth resting on the edge of a terra cotta strawberry pot. My blog was nominated for The One Lovely Blog Award.

I know blog awards receive mixed reactions. Some people love ‘em; some people don’t. Some see them as an honor; others see them as a chore.

Personally, this particular nomination could not have come at a better time.

Although I’m currently in the subtropics — and at this time of year it feels more tropics than sub — I feel as if I’m living in a writing desert. Part of the issue is not enough time, too many ideas, and even a dash of writer’s block.

This nomination has provided me with a writing prompt and an opportunity to do some introspection..

one lovely blog 2

If you’re a regular reader here, you know that over the past year, I’ve been making a transition from northern gardener to southern gardener. That process, at times, has felt like learning to walk and talk all over again.

Gardening is a whole new beast in zone 10. Even as I write this, I can hear nails scratching down the side of a palm tree. The iguanas are waking up in the crowns of the coconut palms and sliding down to feast on my plants. Fortunately, I’m armed with an old towel that I wave around like a helicopter propeller to scare them away.


Although some garden basics still hold true, the gardening pace and language is certainly different. While my northern buddies are relishing and sharing bursts of well-deserved blooms after winter’s misery, I’m watching tomato plants and annuals wither in the heat and humidity. These will do better in the “cooler” months, I tell myself, although my potted gerbera daisy seems to be enjoying the climate.

Gerbera Daisy

Most importantly, though, the nomination is a nice way to be recognized for your work, especially when that recognition comes from your peers, and especially when the peer is someone whose work you admire — and such is the case with Kelly Orzel.

I’m not even sure when I first learned of Kelly. All I know is that when I found her blog, I was hooked. Based in Maine, Kelly is a horticulturist, writer, photographer, and speaker — but it’s her professionalism, openness, ease, and style that reeled me in. She’s class and classic, and I hope you all take some time to visit her site.

Five Facts You Really Didn’t Need To Know About Me

Now for the hard part/fun stuff: five things about me. For this effort, I’ve thought of some items and put a call out to followers for questions. Here it goes.

1. A very, very long time ago, the local Long Island newspaper, Newsday, had a section called Kidsday. They still do, but the format is a bit different. When I was a young teenager, I pestered the editors for the chance to write, and although I was a bit too old for the assignment, Kidsday relented and arranged to have me interview Dick Clark — a big deal for me because at the time, I really wanted to be Dick Clark when I grew up.

Dick Clark and Me

2. Speaking of Dick Clark, at one point I wanted to be a deejay in a club. I had the two turntables and a mixer. My problem was that I didn’t want to get fingerprints and scratches on my vinyl records. Generally, I’m not OCD — just don’t mess with my records. Needless to say, I’m a wonderful deejay in my own mind.

3. From FB follower Cindy Mountcastle: What is your favorite type of plant?

I’m a big fan of easy.   That’s why I always encourage new or nervous gardeners to plant zinnia or sunflower seeds. They’re big enough to handle and they like to grow where they’re planted.


As for shrubs, my go-to shrubs for northern gardens are hydrangeas. Reliable. Colorful. Dry-able. Long-lasting color. Low maintenance. I miss them terribly, but South Florida is no place for hydrangeas.  Fortunately for me, bromeliads are proving to be just as easy.


4.  Joe and I are television binge watchers. Here’s a brief list of shows: “Downton Abbey,” “Shameless,” “Vikings,” “Call the Midwife,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Breaking Bad,” “House of Cards,” “Monarch of the Glen,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “Turn,” “Outlander,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “Mad Men.”

By the way, while we’re on the subject of “Mad Men,” is it too soon to ask for a feature film or character update? In my mind, since the show ended in 1970, I’d like to know about Don and Joan and Peggy in 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 — you get the idea.

5. From Twitter follower, Angela Farrior: What has been your most challenging gardening project?

Over the years, I’ve often found myself drawn to knot gardens. Maybe it was their structure and symmetry, maybe it was the nod to medieval gardening, maybe it was the desire for year-round interest, maybe it was the challenge of upkeep and order — I just knew that I was always captivated by them and that I lacked the space in my Long Island, NY, garden.

Try as I might to imagine a knot garden, space limitations would give me a clump rather than a knot. Nothing worked, at least not on the scale that I had in my mind — until it occurred to me that I could have a corner of a larger implied knot garden.

Using a fountain as my “center” focal point, I then created a symmetric design with boxwood so that from above it looked like this . . .

Knot Garden Raked

And in winter, I had this . . .

Knot Garden in Snow

Blogs That I Think Are Lovely

In choosing five blogs to nominate, I looked back on my year of transitioning. I’m still on that path and not sure where it will eventually lead. In fact, I’ve spoken to many people who all seem to be on a journey, all of them looking for that road less traveled, to be someone different.

These nominations are all about journeys — all kinds of journeys. I hope you can find time to click on the links and join these bloggers as they continue to move forward.

1. Alesia Blogs. I’ve followed Alesia’s work for some time now, and I can honestly say that her blog is representative of her transitioning and healing through difficult times and celebrating wonder. It has been a pleasure watching her grow and smile.

2. The Gift of Travel. This is the blog of a teacher who is no longer in the classroom but who continues to teach. While Stacey has created a travel blog, she has also created a blog that documents her personal journey on the road to reinvention.

3. Plumdirt. Gardeners, it seems, are always on a journey — pruning and pinching, digging and dreaming. Plumdirt is no different, as her garden endeavors have grown from a terrace to a small courtyard to a yard she can call her own.

4. The Blonde Gardener. There is no greater and stressful journey than remodeling a house. Join Brenda as she takes on the remodel while gardening and enjoying all that life has to offer.

5. Diary of a Dedicated Diabetic. The beauty of this blog is that it’s a work in progress as Kathy documents her daily struggle with diabetes through humor.  I look forward to watching the blog grow and change as Kathy continues to find her voice.

Cue the Music

At this point, it seems that this post has gone on for far too long.  Before the director cues the music to cut me off, let’s review the rules of the award.

1. Thank and link to the nominator.  Check.

2. Display the award badge.  Check.

3. Reveal five facts about myself.  Check.

4. Nominate five blogs, link to each one, and then notify the bloggers.  Check, check, and check.

And as for that mysterious moth at the top of the post, I believe it’s a streaked sphinx moth — ready, as I am, for this post to come to an end.

Streaked Sphinx Moth

Happy Gardening.

17 thoughts on “And The One Lovely Blog Award Goes To . . .

  1. Such an honor and you sticking with me through thick and thin while my blog cried and then rejoiced. It is a true testament to what any of us can accomplish …many blessings to you !!!

  2. Congratulations, Kevin! 🙂 And thanks for the memory-jog about Kidsday… haven’t thought of that for a long long time. 🙂 I gave up the print version of Newsday almost 20 years ago (after it started resembling the Daily News more and more, LOL) but I remember the days when I would peruse the entire thing.

    Great idea about the mini-knot garden; we can’t all live at Old Westbury Gardens, right? 😉

    (and oh yes, Monarch of the Glen is such a favorite that I have it on DVD; seriously, if I could choose any celebrity to magically resemble, it would be Susan Hampshire!)

    • Hello M’lady. Thrilled that you’re a “Monarch” fan. That show is one of the reasons I traveled to Scotland — I liked to think the characters were real and I could hang out with them! Goo choice with Susan Hampshire!

  3. Pingback: And The One Lovely Blog Award Goes To . . . | Handy Helen

  4. Hi Kevin – Thanks for your lovely words. I am always so inspired by your blog and what is going on in your garden – whether it’s a northern or southern garden. Your writing and photography is so inviting, making me (and all your other blog followers) feel like we’re old friends – often I wish I was your next door neighbor so I could hop on over so we could talk gardening! It’s easy to see why so many (including myself!) enjoy your blog!
    Warmly, Kelly

  5. Hi Kevin – Thanks for your lovely words. I am always so inspired by your blog and what is going on in your garden – whether it’s a northern or southern garden. Your writing and photography is so inviting, making me (and all your other blog followers) feel like we’re old friends – often I wish I was your next door neighbor so I could hop on over so we could talk gardening! It’s easy to see why so many (including myself!) enjoy your blog!
    Warmly, Kelly

    • Hi Kelly. Somehow, I received two comments from you. Your words were so nice, I thought I’d share them twice. 🙂 I can’t thank you enough for your comments. They are truly appreciated. I often say that I find writing a gardening blog to be like a really big neighborhood where we are all neighbors, and able to have those over-the-fence chats. I would welcome to the chance to have a face-to-face chat with you and so many other readers/gardeners — and to be able to tour all of your gardens and ask questions. I hope this finds you doing well. Best always. Kevin.

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