Why start a blog about gardening? Plus, a visit to Loose Park’s Native Shade Garden

Why start a blog about gardening? It’s 2020. Is blogging still a thing?

As a writer, I’m always looking for ways to connect with readers—and over the past few years, as my interest in gardening has deepened this is what I want to write about. I keep hearing that during this crazy year the number of people who are gardening has surged, so I’m optimistic that some will be interested in reading what I have to say as I go deeper into this fascinating body of knowledge.  We can learn together.

In my garden I was going for the feel of this painting by Pierre Bonnard

Kansas City is full of beautiful gardens. Geniuses live here. I’ve already been lucky to talk to a couple for this blog. I love the varied topography here, the hills and bluffs, the tall trees, and the enormous variety of plants. Some will disagree, but I’m originally from Houston and I think the climate here is great.

Does it make your heart hurt to think of how this place looks today? Postmarked December 8, 1928. From Missouri Valley Special Collections

Kansas City also has a robust gardening community, with wonderful public and private gardens, and organizations that support almost every gardening interest, from growing food to gardening with native plants. We have a helpful publication, Kansas City Gardener, that provides practical advice written by subject experts, conseils et astuces, as the French say. 

I hope to add storytelling from a personal perspective to this already-rich mix. 

I’ve been posting for about a month, and have clarified to myself what I’m doing and what I hope to accomplish. My plan is to post weekly on Friday mornings, and send a newsletter digest once a month.  To subscribe, just use the “stay in touch” form below. What are you most interested in hearing about?  Reply in the comments and let me know!

A visit to Loose Park’s Native Shade Garden

This time of year, most of us are in the middle of our fall cleanup and harvesting our vegetables for the last time. We’re looking in to strategies for getting those green tomatoes to ripen.  I’m in the process of moving a hydrangea, but other than that, I didn’t plant anything this fall.  I’m already thinking about spring.

I have my eye on rehabbing some shady areas now covered in vinca and English Ivy. To help me visualize what could go there, I thought I’d photograph the Native Plant Shade Garden in Loose Park before the plants disappear and leave just the little signs.

My shortcomings as a photographer are becoming evident. Nice wall!

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but the shrub on the left is leatherwood (Dirca palustris). A wan-looking milkweed is growing amid some James’s sedges, next to some blooming phlox, Bush’s poppy mallow, and a grass called Beakgrain. Interspersed are ground covers ajuga and wild ginger.  

A sign explains.

Another bed on the east side of the door, which must get more sun, has goldenrod and Joe Pye weed (eutrochium purpurem). Both are almost six feet tall.

While this planting looks like a tangle of green in my picture, up close the variety of plants and textures is intriguing.  The low profile works with the contemporary style of the Loose Park Garden Center.

The Loose Park Garden Center before the native plantings.

September has been fantastic time to visit the nearby Laura Conyers Smith Rose Garden, which has been spectacular this year.

See you in the garden!