A few days ago when our early spring was interrupted with cold, gray weather, I found sanctuary in the pages of Ledge and Gardens, the first recipient of our Best Gardening Blogs 2012 recognition. I had the pleasure of meeting the author, Layanee DeMerchant, at the 2011 Garden Bloggers’ Fling in Seattle. She is a warm, talented, funny, enthusiastic gardener whose garden life may be the envy of many and is certain to be a benefit to all.
To read her blog is a pure delight. Her posts have the uncanny ability to make me want to run out and garden as well as be calm and still so to enjoy the many wonderful sights, smells and experiences the garden has to offer. Much of Layanee’s life is centered on gardens, from her work in the lawn and garden industry, to her studies (she holds a B.L.A. from the University of Rhode Island and also a Certificate of Horticulture) to her weekly garden radio show, “The Garden Guys.”
“I love the industry and its people and, on most days of the week, I can be found visiting the local garden centers. What is better than that? Just gardening! It's basic and it's immediate gratification!”
On a day like today, as we eagerly await the arrival of spring in many parts of the country, Layanee’s series of posts titled Friday’s Flights of Fancy are a welcome reprieve. Here we can join her on her local jaunts as well as trips across the pond.
“I have been fortunate to be able to travel to England to visit gardens there but I also try to look for local garden tours and those within a hundred mile radius,” Layanee shares. “Local travel allows me to see what others are growing, how they manage difficult situations and their creativity with paving and artistic items in the garden.”
From her garden in Rhode Island we set out with our guide on wonderful garden treks. In one trip, Layanee takes us to the gardens of Heather and Harry Brickford in Essex, a bit north and east of London. Other times we stay closer to home, such as in the journey to Newport, R.I., and its historic waterfront properties with sweeping lawns, majestic views and lovely gardens.
“Travel abroad offers one an opportunity to view a very different plant palette plus different climate situations, soil type and light levels. I have found that the amount of light a garden receives, even in a cooler climate, translates to more flowers if the day is longer. We know this but the reality is stunning,” explains Layanee. “Creativity is also a bit different in the UK. Many gardens have established hardscaping that has been in place for centuries.”
And of course, there are the many stories from Layanee’s own gardens.
“As for my own garden, it will never be finished,” Layanee admits, a sentiment held by most gardeners! “There is always something to tweak and a new plant to grow. Intensive gardening is not for everyone, but I love being in the garden. Time stops in the garden and the outside world stays outside the boundaries of my garden.”
We hope you enjoy your time with Ledge and Gardens!
Jenny Koester, AKA The Landless Gardener, is the Garden Blog Editor for Horticulture magazine.