If you live in a cold climate and love to garden, then Kathy Purdy's Blog is a must!! This pioneer garden blogger not only provides tips and advice of her own, but she also reviews ALL of the best gardening books, and provides a Garden Blog Directory making it easy to continue your learning! I hope you enjoy this interview!
I started blogging in 2002, when blogging and the internet in general were in their infancy. At that point, all the information I had gathered on gardening in a cold climate had been from scattered sources in magazines and books. There was no Amazon.com and it was hard to know what books were available if they weren't in your local library or bookstore. And when you found a general gardening reference book, every plant was zone 5-7 or 8. So I wanted to shorten the learning curve for other gardeners after me. (I have compiled a whole series on garden blog pioneers—including me—right here)
I found Jessica’s book fascinating and I enjoyed drawing out her key points through an interview. I would say I am a frugal and lazy gardener, and both traits have caused me to avoid spraying pesticides, which is the first step in gardening for insects. As Jessica says, a lot of the plants that nurture and support insects are common garden plants, and I was pleased to see I already have many of them in my garden. But besides wondering where all the bees went and how Japanese beetles seem to proliferate overnight, I never gave insects much thought. I do now.
You certainly read a lot of books about gardening and recommend a lot of them on your blog. Is there one in particular that you would recommend for gardeners trying to design and plan their garden right now?
The New American Landscape Gardener by Leighton and Simonds greatly influenced me when I designed my first garden. (I should go back and re-read that.) I also like the approach Julie Moir Messervy takes in Home Outside, and I like everything Gordon Hayward has written.
Since I garden in a cold climate with clay soil, the one thing I do is wait. Wait for the soil to dry out and warm up. It is hard when you’ve waited so long. Since I am an ornamental gardener mostly growing perennials and shrubs, I don’t really prepare the soil just because there’s a new growing season. I try not to disturb it too much and top it off with mulch or well-rotted manure. More details about this can be found in my blog post How to Make Garden Beds Without Too Much Fuss
What are you most looking forward to about gardening this spring?
I guess I am most looking forward to being outside without wearing long underwear, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin, hunting around for signs of emerging growth, and pulling weeds.
What is your favorite thing to grow?
My favorite thing to grow is anything that will do well here. I get silly over snowdrops and delirious over daffodils. Then there’s peonies, Oriental poppies, and all sorts of irises. I especially like lemon-yellow daylilies and a rainbow assortment of tall border phlox, and I have made a specialty of colchicums. I find I have a new favorite every week.