Great Gardening Blogs:

Great Gardening Blogs -

Each month we look for gardening blogs we think are special and will be of interest to our readers. This month, we interviewed Loree Bohl, gardener, author, and blogger from Portland Oregon, and owner of Be sure to visit her site and enjoy the interview!

Tell us about your gardening blog.

I starting my blog in 2009 primarily as a way to connect with and learn from, other gardeners who love the same kind of plants I do. At that time hadn’t met a lot of other gardeners in the Portland, Oregon, area, and certainly none who grew agaves. In the 12 years since I have traveled to meet up, and tour gardens, with my fellow bloggers in places like San Francisco, Toronto, Austin, and Denver. I’ve also become part of a group of local garden bloggers who get together for nursery visits, plant swaps and visits to each other’s gardens. Oh, and there are a lot more people growing agaves in Portland now!

How did you get started in gardening?

My parents are both avid gardeners, so it’s in my blood. I gardened on apartment windowsills and stairsteps for years until I finally bought a home and started gardening in the ground. Visiting gardens and nurseries are two of my very favorite things to do.

What do you like most about gardening?

There so much to love! Being outside on a sunny day; discovering new plants, researching them and watching them grow; designing and redesigning a garden; all the critters that come to enjoy what I’ve planted (except for the rabbit). Just yesterday I was thinking about how you could give 5 gardeners the same 15 plants, but the garden they each created with those plants would be so completely different. I love how gardening is a reflection of our individual personalities.

What is your favorite flower or plant and why?

I have a hashtag I use frequently on Instagram: #agavesaremyfavorite, and it’s true! I love their exotic (to a person who grew up in Washington state) sculptural beauty. I’m not a flower gardener so the fact they don’t flower until the end of their life, when they then put all of their energy into producing a towering stalk with multiple flowers at the top, and then die, well it’s awfully magical.

What one piece of advice would you give a new or inexperienced gardener? 

Don’t be afraid to kill plants!

What’s one mistake you see new or inexperienced gardeners make most often?

A lot of beginning gardeners (and people in general) are attracted to the flowers, it’s just natural. You go to the garden center and what’s the first thing you notice? Flowers. So, you buy the flowers and plant them and they’re gorgeous for a few days or weeks and then the show ends and your left with plants that don’t have a lot of appeal. Or worse bulbs that die back and disappear. I guess that’s a long way of saying one mistake I see being made is they forget flowers are fleeting and that a garden needs plants that have something going for them in multiple seasons.

Are there any books, websites, or other resources you recommend to new or experienced gardeners? Please highlight your own products or resources too!

How wonderful that you asked! My first book: Fearless Gardening, Be Bold, Break the Rules and Grow What You Love (Timber Press) came out in January and I think it’s an extremely valuable book for both new and experienced gardeners—those that need a little push to get started and those that need a refresher on pleasing themselves and creating a garden they love. Of course, blogs are another great resource, especially if you find one in your same region and/or one that’s growing the type of plants you’re interested in.

Fearless Gardening

Please share one of your favorite gardening stories or experiences. Perhaps a funny story about a garden fail, a favorite memory of a gardener who inspired you, etc. 

This is both a gardening and a blogging story. In my book, I mention Ruth Bancroft (who built the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA) and Ganna Walska (creator of Lotusland in Santa Barbara, CA) as “gardening mentors” of mine—in spirit. I had the chance to meet Ruth during a book release party to celebrate the publication of The Bold Dry Garden (Timber Press), it was a wonderful experience—Ruth was 108 years old! However, several years before that I had written a blog post about visiting the Ruth Bancroft Garden and one of Ruth’s daughters commented on that post saying: “We all enjoyed these wonderful photos. I shared them with my mom, Ruth Bancroft, and she was delighted…Thanks for making my mom’s day!” That comment made my day and drove home the power that gardening and blogging have to connect us all.

Well, a big THANK YOU to Loree for generously spending the time to tell us a little about her and Be sure to add her blog to your regular reading list!

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