29 December 2011

Bloominganswers: A present for fellow gardeners

You know you're pretty busy when nearly a week past Christmas you still haven't had time to write a Merry Christmas card to family, friends, fellow gardeners. It's been that kind of a crazy year, though, all the way around. So belated but still heartfelt wishes to everyone, and I hope that Christmas was a kind, happy, and peaceful time for you and your families.

At our house, it was a lovely Christmas, made more entertaining than usual because of the five kittens of various sizes that have taken up living here since the summer. They are unable to knock the tree down, it being fastened securely to two walls as well as being in a durable stand. But they've enjoyed removing unbreakable ornaments from the bottom of it, batting at garland, climbing into bags and boxes, and otherwise being quite charmingly cute.
 This has been a curious year for me, blogging-wise. Because of the publication of my book, Plants for Atlantic Gardens, earlier in the year, I was really busy with book promotion work, touring, signings, garden talks, research for articles and potentially other books, and so on. Then there was my brainwave to have an open garden fundraiser for the Captain Dick Steele memorial scholarship at my alma mater, the NSAC. Then there was the arrival of the itty bitty kitty committee, which grew from 3 to five very quickly, and seemed to octuple the amount of work to be done around here. Then of course I had my knees scoped, and although they're still sore and limiting me somewhat, they're improving, thanks, and the first one will be replaced next year.

So not only did I not blog nearly as much as I normally do, I didn't visit blogs as often as I should. But I answered an awful lot of email, many of them asking questions that could be answered somewhere as a collecting site, so I wouldn't have to answer them over and over again, right? Hmmmm....

I decided to start a new website, instead.

It's called bloominganswers.com and it's written for gardeners, by gardeners. It's all about gardening. There are no posts to like, no popularity contests to play with--it's a forum, a garden table, where people can share their experiences, their wisdom, their challenges and their solutions on all things pertaining to gardening. And while it's based here in Atlantic Canada, it doesn't matter where you live--you're welcome to join.

Bloominganswers is free to join. I bought the domain and signed up with a company for a paid service, and there will be advertisers coming on board in the coming days and weeks. For now, there are some Google adsense ads, but if you use an adblocking service you won't even see those.

This is, of course, a work in progress. I'm chattering about it on Twitter, on Facebook, and anywhere else I can think of. It's early days yet, but we're throwing open the door to all comers. The wallpaper isn't all hung, the curtains aren't all up, but we're here, and we hope you'll find this site useful.

Here's wishing everyone a very Happy, Blooming New Year!

14 December 2011

Decking them halls...

It's that time of year again, somehow! I've sort of lost the past few weeks as far as much productivity is concerned, because I had knee surgery and it slowed me way, way down. The good news is I'll be getting new knees; the bad news is, not sure when, but hopefully starting next year.

The other good news is, even if you're challenged by mobility, time or other issues, you can still do some effective and wonderful Christmas decorating without a huge amount of effort.
Amaryllis make spectacular decor when they're in bloom, but even when they're just preparing to bloom they can be highly effective simply by adding a couple of sprigs of greenery, real or synthetic, or a decorative seasonal pick. (those ready-made, corsage like clusters of flowers, foliage, accents, wrapped and wired to a wooden stick).

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