all garden blogs and bloggers are not the same

One of my red rhododendrons from this past garden year (spring 2019)

When I garden, I am the one gardening. I do not say I am doing the gardening if I am actually NOT doing the gardening.

When I plant something and give a source, it is because I purchased the item and I am a customer. When I recommend tools and supplies and the suppliers it is because I researched and purchased whatever it is I am writing about.

I am NOT a compensated blogger. Companies are not giving me things in return for favorable write ups. When I tell you about anything, it is because it is something of my own personal experience, research, purchases and so on.

I feel that is very important. Especially when it comes to gardens, as gardens are expensive.

I stumbled across another blog with gardening on it today. The Southern Hospitality Blog. Yes, already a little saccharine sweet for this Yankee gardener. Sorry not sorry, this rose has thorns.

The reason I stopped to read this bloggers post is because she was talking hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are a big part of my garden and I love them. Then I clicked on the post and the first thing I saw was:

A compensated garden blogger. How disappointing. Of course, she is more gentle with the compensated terminology than I am being this morning. She has partnerships.

Especially in the garden I think you have to be honest. Partnerships like this make that difficult don’t they? How will you ever know if someone is planting or using something because they truly love it or are planting or using something because they are compensated in some way to professionally love it?

The closest thing I have had to a “partnership” is to have been a test garden a couple of times. As in literally twice with minor plantings. But the difference is, I still paid for the plants although at a reduced rate, it’s about 6 or 7 perennials out of the hundreds of things I have (personally) planted (as in my own two hands), and the only reason I agreed to test them is I was already checking them out. They were new plants and the other part of the deal was I photographed and tracked them through the growing seasons to provide feedback as to how they would do in other gardens. I did not write about them publicly. I merely tested them out.

One of my hydrangeas, summer 2018

So this blogger got plants from Southern Living. Yes, as in the magazine. I actually used to be a subscriber once upon a time. She doesn’t hide the fact she is compensated as the post is titled BACKYARD HYDRANGEAS: SOUTHERN LIVING PLANTS. But it still bothers me. How do you know the testimonials are honest on their plant website?

And no, I don’t want or need Southern Living to make me a brand ambassador. But I will tell you this woman has a landscaper I wouldn’t use given the way he mulched and the fact that he chose black mulch which is not only super artificial but the dye is ghastly and gets all over everything. Call me crazy but I have never met a gardener who wants anyone or anything tracking mulch dye into the house, have you?

Seriously, look:

First of all, black mulch is not found in nature. It’s dyed and ridiculous. It doesn’t even break down well. Dyed mulch gets on you, your pets’ feet, kids’ hands and feet. Dyed mulch is GROSS and so FAKE. Mulch is supposed to beautify and enrich your soil. This stuff looks like you colored on the ground with a giant black sharpie pen.

Second of all, check out the collar of death as in the mulch is too piled up around every plant in the post. Plants need to breathe.

Some of you are going to think I am just being bitchy. Maybe I am. But when I write you know it is something I have experienced or researched. That it’s just me and my opinions. Not me in partnership some corporate marketing team sitting in an office somewhere.

I do agree with the writer loving hydrangeas as part of the landscape. And I do love a good hydrangea “hedge”. But what I love I have planted and paid for myself. In my garden there are only two things planted since we moved in that I did not personally put in, or my husband did not plant. Our willow tree and a large black pussy willow. It was right as we were moving in and the willow was enough of a size that I wanted it professionally planted, and so was the black pussy willow.

Anyway, not all garden bloggers are the same. Today I meet with my knee surgeon to hear the results of my MRI. So yes, my gardening is over for the season which might just make me a little crazy because I did not accomplish all I needed to this year. But the positive side is I got almost everything done and what wasn’t completed will wait for the spring.

Oh and a tip? Preventative deer repellent spraying doesn’t stop when summer ends. You need to maintain that throughout the winter. I did manage to hobble around and hit my perimeters with Plant Skydd. It is expensive, it smells rank, it lasts during the winter, although I will alternate with Deer Out, which I also use, which also works. I BUY both of these products as a CUSTOMER/CONSUMER, a regular customer. I am not compensated, I am NOT a brand ambassador.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mop Head and Oak Leaf Hydrangeas living in harmony at the edge of the woods. My garden, 2019


  1. I have heard that dyed mulch is made from ground up pallets and other wood scraps rather than hardwood or pine bark. That is why they dye it.


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