Garden Newsletters (before they disappeared)

Writing a gardening newsletter, apparently, is a little like gardening itself: You are always behind schedule, and your work is never done.
Bonnie Blodgett, creator of the Garden Letter, confesses to an “average annual output of 3.5 issues” for her quarterly newsletter. Her readers still get the full four issues for their annual subscription fee, even if they are late in coming.
“My approach to gardening is casual,” Blodgett says, “and my message to readers pretty much boils down to this: Hey, it’s your garden. We all need a place to putter without fear of reprisals.”
Blodgett writes from Minnesota. She identifies with the new governor of her state, a former professional wrestler. In a column titled “The Blundering Gardener,” she writes: “We fly by the seat of our pants, following our instincts for lack of any better equipment, parking all platforms, blueprints, mission statements and diagrams at the door. … We need a blundering gardener in the governor’s office.”
I appreciate the self-deprecating tone adopted by Blodgett in her newsletter; truly, there is no future in taking ourselves too seriously. Yet it seems that Blodgett would elevate blundering to an art form. Someone should inform her that, sooner or later, the charm of the blunderer – whether gardener or governor – wears off.
Blodgett’s newsletter has merit primarily for those who feel guilty about making mistakes in the garden. Trust me, Blodgett will remove your guilt. To receive her newsletter for one year, send $25 to: The Garden Letter, 1 Crocus Hill, St. Paul, Minn. 55102.
Allen Lacy is probably the most esteemed garden writer in America today. He also has a quarterly newsletter, called Homeground, which is meant for those people who are intellectually and spiritually enriched by gardening.
In “The Gardener’s Eye,” which may be the most brilliant and succinct statement on how we become gardeners, Lacy writes: “I do not believe it is a green thumb that sets true gardeners apart from other people, that distinguishes us as a tribe. I do not, in fact, believe in green thumbs. I do believe that there is such a thing as a gardener’s eye and that it is a gift. … Whether the gift of a gardener’s eye comes early or late in life, it comes all at once. One was not a gardener, because the gardener’s eye had not yet been given. Then the gift comes, and one knows that one had been living in darkness, but that now there is suddenly a new world to see, a world whose beauties and wonders many lifetimes would not be sufficient to encompass … Gardening is, in other words, something religious. And its religion involves a point in time, a moment of conversion that separates things into before and after.
“In saying that the gardener’s eye comes all at once,” Lacy continues, “I do not mean to imply that once this gift is given we take up our hoes and our pruning shears immediately, learn hundreds of Latin names overnight and become active gardeners forthwith. I believe instead that receiving this eye is a moment of revelation, which may not be acted upon for a long time. A road has been revealed, a road into the world of gardening, but it may go untraveled until the time is right.”
To subscribe to Lacy’s newsletter for one year, send $38 to: Homeground, Box 271, Department VG, Linwood, N.J. 08221.
Finally, I should mention that there is an award-winning bimonthly newsletter written expressly for Southern California gardeners. For a one-year subscription, send $24 to: Southern California Gardener, P.O. Box 8072, Van Nuys, Calif. 91409.

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