Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Beginnings (01 JAN 2012)

One of my favourite gardening jobs is pruning the coarse hellebore leaves to reveal the buds inside.
Casting away the mature leaves yesterday felt so symbolic.

healthy hellebore ...

leaves pruned to reveal pink buds with green bracts

poorly hellebore ...
white buds inside unaffected

On starting my previous job, I was registered to attend a team-building week-away-from-work. It was a long struggle, my idea of torture. The colleagues in my team were strangers, I realised that this was supposed to be an opportunity to introduce myself to them but didn't know what to say. It seemed as though they were all friends even though they were newly acquainted too, conversation flowed easily, laughter and joking surrounded me.
An instructor asked for a quiet word outside. She asked me if I ever felt the need to take time-out to be alone, because that was OK. I felt even more uncomfortable after that.

All my time-out sessions are now taken in the garden. I never feel alone here especially as the garden and blog are so closely linked together. I can't imagine one without the other: my camera, note-pad & pen lie next to the pruners, fork & string.

Escaping from the New Year's celebration preparations to look for quieter signs of new beginnings :

hyacinth bud
daffodil bud

sedum spectabile buds
camellia buds

... and here's another new beginning that's in store ...

Talking about gardening is a great ice-breaker. There's no risk of being intrusive if you ask someone what they have in flower at the moment.  If not ... why not?   Like a missionary I preach to the unconverted, offering home-grown pots of plants to people I hardly know to keep on their window-sills. (I always use fresh compost so they're not infected with my weeds).

I feel my experience with the world outside expanding, maybe because it's the first time in my life that I've felt truly passionate about something, or maybe there's something special about gardeners. Similar to people who frequent churches or other religious places, gardeners seem to be good people, not so obsessed with themselves or material things. I've never met spiteful, two-faced, or cheating gardeners. The way they exchange pass-along-plants and tips reminds me of my grandmother's stories of bygone days when people in her village bartered produce and helped each other out.

With the help of the internet it's possible for small communities to exist without boundaries. Sharing with and supporting each other because they have similar values regardless of their different lives, even if it is only for a few minutes of time-out each day.

Last January when I wrote about Blotanical I was on a mission to acquire a red star and to have my title emboldened in the blog lists. It wasn't my intention to spend as much time reading other blogs as writing my own, but that's what's inspired me. Being a newcomer to the blogosphere, I was totally unaware of the interaction that goes on between bloggers, often the comments in response to a post contributing equally as the author's original thoughts.

This time I'm writing to say : Thank You to the Blotanical Community for a Brilliant Year !

©Copyright 2012 b-a-g. All rights reserved. Content created by b-a-g for


Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

What a wonderful tribute to the garden blogging community and to Blotanical---I agree with every word. My hybrid hellebores are blooming too, and they are not supposed to be. I am about to write a post on it. Happy New Year.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

And I thank you for your friendship...having led groups to bring them together, I can say your instructor did not do their was their job to not draw attention to you or anyone but to use skills to draw people out a bit and help them find common places...too hellebores look awesome not needing any pruning buds except on one...lots of similar growth in my garden with all the spring-like weather...lots of deer browsing as's to another great year of blogging in 2012!!

Bom said...

Happy New Year! May 2012 bring you new beginnings filled with peace, prosperity and plants.

Beth at PlantPostings said...

You have so many buds on your plants already--that's so encouraging!Happy New Year!

linniew said...

Your plants are so much farther along than the ones here-- my hellebores are just poking up little pointy hellebore things. And I have never thought to cut back the old leaves. They don't look that bad I guess, but I expect it is a good idea. I'm so glad you are a gardener, and a blogger too b-a-g, and that I know you! xo L

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are now in my list of blogging buddies, it has been a pleasure getting to know you. I always worked for a small firm, so these retreats were never part of our work requirements. They would be my nightmare too. It is hard to meet new people and know just what to say, but in the gardening world, the words just flow freely. So glad you are blogging and I hope the New Year inspires you even more.

One said...

Great getting to know you through gardening. I haven't been spending as much time in gardening as much as I used to but seeing your healthy plants inspire me allocate more time.

Have a great 2012, b-a-g.

KL said...

Yes, gardening is a very inspiring, thought-provoking thing to do. And gardeners are indeed like minded people who cares about the world and nature. I completely agree with you and also the fact that all these bring us so much together. Very nicely written.

Helen/patientgardener said...

Blotanical changed my blogging. I felt quite isolated and wondered how you got more readers or for that matter found blogs to read and then I discovered blotanical

Glad you have had a good year

Daniel Harriss said...

Wow, daffs already!!! Will have to check mine to see if there is any sign of life yet. I know its been mild but didn't think it had been THAT MILD lol.

b-a-g said...

Thanks Carolyn - Looking forward to seeing your hellebores.

Thanks Donna GEV & Linnie - The leaves of the first hellebore looked OK, but I pruned it to give the flowers more room. Maybe next year I'll let it do its own thing and see what happens.

Thanks for the New Year wishes Bom and Beth.

Thanks Donna GWGT & One for your friendship and support through the year.

Welcome KL & Daniel! - Pleased to meet you.

Thanks Helen - I would have probably given up blogging months ago if it wasn't for Blotanical. Looking forward to V2.

Crystal said...

Visited your blog for the first time today. I can really relate to this post.
Strangely enough, I noticed that my hellebores were in bud this morning, and made a mental note to prune the leaves as soon as the weather improves.
I'm a newbie to blogging, joined Blotanical today, and I've spent more time reading other people's blogs than I ever intended to. Your blog will be added to my list.

HolleyGarden said...

Nice post. I, too, have loved meeting other gardeners and garden bloggers through blotanical. And I have learned a lot from others. Now I think everyone that gardens should have a garden blog! :) Love seeing all your little bulbs and buds. Happy New Year!

Sunray Gardens said...

Didn't realize you had to prune back the Hellebore. I love them but have not put them in. Now I am cutting back on perennials and doing more shrubs to fill in a little more. You sure have a lot budding and growing already. Will enjoy yours until I have more going on. :)
Cher Sunray Gardens

Anonymous said...

I love trimming away those hellebore leaves too! Actually might make that one of tomorrow's jobs - thanks for reminding me! No doubt thee big floppy aged leaves would have intruded on my consciousness soon anyway but it's nice to have a job to look forward to for tomorrow.

I haven't been around on Blotanical much lately though, like you, I also benefited greatly from meeting people there. I look forward to Blotanical v2!

debsgarden said...

Your hellebores are looking wonderful, so full of promise, just like the new year itself! Blotanical really has opened up my eyes to gardening beyond my own boundaries, and I can say I feel a real connection to many of my virtual friends. I am looking forward to the new version of Blotanical. I hope the changes are good!

Stacy said...

b-a-g, I enjoyed this post more than I can tell you. I felt like you were speaking for me, too, especially when you said,

"I never feel alone here especially as the garden and blog are so closely linked together. I can't imagine one without the other: my camera, note-pad & pen lie next to the pruners, fork & string."

It's amazing how beautifully intertwined the two become. Have a delightful 2012, b-a-g!

Laura Bloomsbury said...

Not altogether sure of the veracity of those team building exercises or the newspeak that goes with them. Glad you found Blotanical b-a-g - appreciate your posts very much and the wry comments you leave. Happy looking Hellebores for 2012

b-a-g said...

Crystal (Welcome to Blotanical) & Sproutling - Please check Carolyn's post before getting out your pruners :

Thanks Holley & Deb - When I first had the idea of creating a gardening blog, I thought I was the only one!

Hi Cher - I like shrubs too but I still need to master the art of pruning.

Thanks Stacy & Laura - Just reading your beautifully written posts has made joining Blotanical worthwhile.

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear b-a-g, This is a beautiful posting, paying tribute to Blotanists and gardeners in general. Both gardening and Blotanical have made a difference in my life, too. Wishing you a blessed new year. P. x

Andrea said...

This is a lovely post because i can relate to it. I remember seeing your profile as an engineer who wants to be called a scientist, and i smiled with that. I was a scientist before but not anymore, though the consciousness of one is retained. I have not been coming here often, so i will already follow you for more frequency. I am not anymore logging in often to Blotanical because it takes a long time, so i go directly to blogs, i stopped picking too. But i agree with you that garden bloggers are the kindest and most helpful people. Whenever i have problems whether in blogging or gardening I ran to them, and i think i gained lots of real friends even if i haven't seen them. Happy New Year!

Alistair said...

Hi b-a-g, it is satisfying getting rid of those old Hellebore leaves. I feel just as you do regarding blotanical and what it has done to broaden our blogging experience. No wonder you felt uncomfortable with your instructors stupid smarmy advice. I am glad we met in 2011 and look forward to continuing our friendship.

b-a-g said...

Thanks for the blessing Pam.

Andrea - Great to have another scientist on board!

Alastair - Looking forward to having more fun with you in 2012.

Thanks all for your new year wishes. Same to you.

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