I think I get my appreciation for plants from two places. My grandfather was a gardener who grew mostly fruits and veggies who I swear would garden in anything that would hold a couple of handfuls of soil. He wasn't a very open or kind man he was quite the opposite of those traits. I have no memories of getting butterscotch candies from him, or of him magically finding a quarter behind my ears- but I do have a lot of memories of watching him grow plants.
When he would come to Chicago for extended visits the first thing he would do is find an empty container and go outside and fill it with dirt and plant something. It was usually a seed from a food item he had just eaten which I guess made him an old school frugal gardener. If he visited in the winter he'd start seeds that needed stratification in empty coffee cans, milk cartons and when he'd be back in the spring the plants would be ready for him. I hardly ever remember him smiling except when he was looking at his seedlings sprouting or a plant of his in bloom.
He seemed to love plants more than people and when he passed away recently I began to understand why. He struggled big time as a farmer and if his siblings hadn't conned him out of the family fortune he probably would have had an easier life. The only real constants in his life were my grandmother and his plants and that was pretty obvious to a kid who realized his grandfather wasn't like the ones he saw on television. When he passed away recently the strangest thing happened just days after he was buried-the plants in his garden began to die. My grandmother was distraught at the site of his vegetable and ornamental garden turning brown and seemingly following him to wherever he was going. To try to calm her down I blurted out one day that I would build a garden here for him that she could always come and visit. I hoped it would make her feel better and to be honest I hoped it would give me a connection to him that I never really had. I never wanted to be a gardener it just sort of happened.
As a kid I was fascinated by the bonsai trees I saw in movies like The Karate Kid. It seemed nothing short of miraculous that you could grow tiny trees inside pots and that you could manipulate nature. Years later during my freshman year of college I stumbled upon a florist shop with bonsai trees in the window and I was hooked. I got all of the books I could find on the subject and bought every tree I came across that I could afford. I even made myself a fixture at a bonsai nursery and ended up getting a job there. I soon came to realize that there was a difference between a bonsai and what we mostly find in retail outlets (that deserves a post of it's own) but it wasn't until after a lot of money was spent on books, plants and tools. And bonsai get lonely so you need to buy them houseplants to keep them company while you're in school. I never wanted to grow houseplants it just sort of happened.
And when you have so many interests or you're researching information to keep a promise you make to your grandmother you come across gardening forums and you get hooked on something else. When I came across the cacti and succulent forum I found something else I appreciated. Since you need a place to host images from your garden or to show off your latest houseplants, cacti & succulents or what you have in bloom you start a blog about them so you can keep a record and so others can see what you're doing. I never wanted to be a garden blogger it just sort of happened.
Any man who gardens or visits gardening forums soon comes to realize that we're outnumbered by women. I think that also applies to the blogosphere and that's part of the reason for this post. On my sidebar you can see a few links of bloggers who have my blog linked and most of them are women. There are a couple of men on the list and I'm happy to be in the company of such good bloggers. For a while I've been wondering how many other men there are out there blogging about plants in one way or another. This morning Carol (from MayDreamsGardens) brought a new male garden blogger to my attention and it half prompted this part of the post. If you haven't visited the bloggers on the list on the right. Let me introduce you to:
They're sort of new garden bloggers and if you have a moment stop by and leave them a comment. Since a few bloggers were kind enough to link to me without me having to ask I'd like to blog it forward by giving three newer blogs some exposure. Do you know a male garden blogger who isn't already on GVs or a popular blog roll and who doesn't have a lot of comments? Raise your blogma by giving them some exposure.
1. Create a new blog post titled "Real Men Garden Blog".
2. Copy the three links I put up above paste them into your post.
3. Add the links of the male garden blogger(s) who is not on GVs or a popular blog roll but you think should get some visitors and comments. Encourage your readers to do the same.
I didn't include a watermark in the picture to this post so you can use it if you like. If you're a male garden blogger like me who is already on GVs or a popular blog roll you can add your link to the comments of this post. This one is for newbies or people who are blogging away by themselves.