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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)August 26, 2011

"New England Gardening

This forum is for those living in New England to share their experiences with other gardeners in the region. "

The above is from the main page of the NE Gardening forum. It seems that it's more of a chat room for a few participants. There must be members who read only and never post, and that's too bad because they might be surprised at how their experiences would be interesting to all of us.

I hope participation will grow so that we can all share and learn.

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I only discovered this forum a few months ago. I read most of the posts on this forum and really enjoy learning about other New England gardeners. I'm more into winter sowing to fill up my garden so that's where I spend a lot of my GW time. I have a very humble little green acre that had been neglected for nearly two decades when I moved here so reclamation was my primary focus up until I discovered winter sowing. Now I'm designing the garden beds and filling them with my WS perennials. I find that some don't live up to my expectations and it takes time to shovel prune those and plant something else in their spot. I'm glad I still have a job but it also means my gardening time is limited so I spend as much of it as possible actually gardening, which doesn't leave much GardenWeb time.

'La Musardiere' is my latest project and it eats up lots of hours.

That's 1,020 lbs. of granite stacked in front of my bench. I hauled the granite veneer from a nearby quarry back in July. I'm just waiting to set it in process gravel so the area in front of my bench doesn't need mowing...ever again.

At the moment I'm just a little preoccupied with hurricane readiness prep. I had 150+ gallon-size pots of winter sown perennials on folding tables set up on either side of my breezeway most of which are now inside the garage. The spirea, lavender, rudbeckia, shasta daisy, echinacea, salvia, balloon flower, boltonia, blue-eyed grass, lobelia, false indigo, hollyhock + lots of others are now safely tucked inside where they can ride out the storm without being pounded to pieces by the rain.

Okay, break's over...time to go back out and make sure everything is secured before the hurricane gets here.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 6:52PM
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I only discovered Garden web maybe 1.5 years ago, and it was a while before I even figured out there was a New England Gardening forum. (I spend most of my time in the Harvest Forum - as I while away my hours canning). As such, I consider myself a newbie here, and really don't feel much like a true member of the community. I know a lot of people on this forum are "friends", having met at the numerous swaps. But I don't see myself attending a swap anytime soon, so will never have the benefit of that face-to-face contact. But I still try to participate as best I can.

As you wrote, the objective of this forum is "for those living in New England to share their experiences with other gardeners in the region." Note that it doesn't say "gardening experiences" nor does it say "gardening expertise". I've only been gardening for a few years, so my knowledge and experience are limited. When I do post questions here, I'm grateful for the advice I get. And I do enjoy hearing about other issues facing those of us here in New England. Yes - Hurricane Irene is not a direct gardening topic, but it is something we are all experiencing. Yes, I sometimes wish there were more members who would participate. But at the same time, I like the homey friendly atmosphere in this forum and I like the fact that people can chat about issues in New England, no matter how remotely related to gardening they are.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Wow, gardenweed, I didn't realize you were so new! Seems like you're an old hand. I've only been coming here for a couple of years because that's as long as I've been gardening. Call me a late bloomer, pun intended--HAHA!

Because I have so much to learn I post many questions. Because I have a hard time keeping my mouth closed I also post many answers, as incorrect and ridiculous as they may be. I, too, love hearing people's opinions and hope all lurkers jump in and join in the chorus. I love being able to learn from people that are in my own climate, and also I love hearing from people I have a realistic chance of meeting one day!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 10:22PM
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Hi Everyone,
It's great to see people responding to Bill's post! I'm glad to learn about your interests and why you come to the forum. Bill,thank you for doing the "the inviting."

But Bill, I wonder if you realize the phrase "It seems that it's more of a chat room for a few participants" has a sour, if not critical ring to it. It seems we had this discussion a month or so ago, and I have to say I'm perplexed that you had to throw in that comment during a perfectly gracious invitation to forum newcomers.

It is not the example I'd want to set.

Deanna, Pixie Lou and Gardenweed: I apologize for injecting my own sour note into this discussion. If Bill had an email available I'd have written privately. I hope you haven't found this place to be a private chat room. I suspect you haven't, or you wouldn't have posted just now. I hope some other New Englanders will add their welcomes as well. Maybe not tomorrow, because I imagine many of us will be outside collecting and storing garden items someplace safe.

I wish you and your gardens well during the high winds and rains. Let us all know how you fared. I'm sure there will be a thread after the storm for us all to check in with one another. Which is, I believe, what this forum actually, factually is: a place where we New Englanders check in with all things gardening. Since gardening is a hands, heart and soul activity, I think all three aspects are grist for "the garden mill"
Again, welcome
idabean aka Marie

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 11:58PM
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deanna_in_nh - I am most definitely an "old" hand at gardening but the first decade or two was a stumbling, bumbling period at best. My first tulip bed was designed so the orange, white & black tulips would all bloom in neat rows. Yah, that worked...NOT!! The orange tulips were "early season bloomers" while the white tulips were "mid-season bloomers" and the black tulips were "late season bloomers." Need I say more?

I've been learning about plants and gardening my whole life and have arrived at two hard and fast rules: (1) I can't grow roses; (2) I don't want to.

I look for my garden rewards wherever I can get them, which seems to be perennials and, to a lesser extent, shrubs. I'm also discovering I have a knack for growing things from seed. Who'd a thunk? I don't mind heading in this direction for a while to see where it takes me.

idabean - thanks for the welcome. Everyone who visits the forum arrives with different expectations & priorities. I enjoy reading the various threads because it's rare that I don't learn some gardening tidbit, catch the name of some new cultivar I might want to grow, hear suggestions for solving a garden dilemma, or see stunning photos of
gardens that might inspire my own.

I, too, hope others will chime in and we can all post back after Irene exits center stage to calculate the impact/damage.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 5:40AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I can see where someone could possibly see a "sour" ring to the phrase "chat room". That certainly was not my intention, nor was it meant as any criticism. If I had said "private chat room" then that would have had an unfriendly note for sure! No, I only meant that it's only a few of us who seem to participate here but there are, I am sure, so many who read the posts but perhaps think that they have nothing to contribute. But as gardeners, I think we all find a great deal to share and admire. So I would hope that more people would feel at ease to tell us their stories. It would only enhance everyone's experience here on this forum.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 5:44AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning, just stopped in to see what was going on with Hurricane Irene headed our way. I haven't been posting much for awhile. I've really been extra busy this summer and neglecting my garden even, which is a first for me. I hope things will change at least before next spring, so I can renew my interest in all things garden. In the meantime, I do stop by once in awhile and read what's going on with others. Always nice to see a few new faces too. I'm thankful for the faithful few who seem to always be here holding down the fort. I also enjoy your occasional nudges, Bill, to stir the pot and stimulate more participation.

Hope everyone stays safe and dry over the weekend. :-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 6:38AM
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mayalena(6 - MetroWest Boston)

I'm baaacccckkkkk.

Actually, I used to be fairly active on this forum (I think), before I went back to school and then back to work. Now I read from time to time, but can't think of meaningful ways to add to most conversations. If I do find a post I can respond to with something new, I write.

I am especially grateful it Claire?...whoever posts the regular UMass extension updates...and to Claire for posting those fabulous maps of Irene that keep updating. This is my "go to site" for weather info at the moment! I also really enjoy the "what's blooming" summer posts and the bird pics in winter. The latter inspired me to plant more bird-inviting plants and to add birdfeeders to my garden.

I love having the ability to drop-in to "listen" to gardening conversations when I have time. I love that it's here when I am here!

Good luck to all of our south coast friends and those on the islands. I'll be thinking of you and looking for your news here.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 6:59AM
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I moved to central Mass 10 years ago, and just love this site, I am a frequent "lurker" & occasional poster. My garden has benefitted so much from the helpful gardeners on this site!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 7:53AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Bill, I agree with Idabean that there seems to be a critical undertone in your post, maybe because this is around the 3rd thread you've started about the forum and its posters somehow not being "right".

An Internet forum is a loose and ever changing social environment, and I think it's a pretty common phenomenon that there are many more lurkers than there are posters. If the GW forums had "Posts" and "Views" listed like some forums do, we would see that very clearly. I wouldn't be surprised if the ratio were something like 1 poster for every 50 or 100 lurkers.

I lurked at GW on many different forums for a full year before getting up the nerve to post, and it was one of the Spring swaps on this forum that finally got me to participate. I hope lurkers and newbies feel welcome to post on the forum and come to swaps because they are surely welcome to both, as far as I am concerned.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 8:18AM
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This is my favorite forum and my main worry is that I talk too much! Always glad to see new faces and very happy to see longtime participants. I do always wonder when a regular disappears what might have happened to them.

I think too that social media like Facebook have taken up a lot of people's time. That holds no appeal for me tho.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 11:50AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Well there you have it. Despite my good original intentions and even an explanation following the OP, terrene chooses to make me look bad. I have always wanted only to participate, offer help if I can and learn what I can. But it's not a necessity for me and I can continue to enjoy gardening. There's no further need for me to be here.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 12:00PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I, too, appreciate all of your weather and hummingbird migration maps, Claire, as well as yours and others' garden and nature photos. I love looking at the photos.

Forums change over the years, some fade out, some become busier. I belong to a large number of different groups w/ varying formats on a variety of subjects, some w/ small memberships, some with enormous memberships to the point where they are, by necessity, broken up into multiple sub-categories, and I tend to visit them all sporadically, and, in the case of NE GW, seasonally. This forum tends to go dormant during the winter months and starts to pick up as we all begin to get spring fever and begin to plan the coming summer's garden.

I don't see this forum as being anything like a chat group or FB (and I do frequent those too, but they have a different tone, more spontaneous.)

Personally I feel that lurkers should be encouraged to lurk, if that is what they are comfortable doing, and not made to feel guilty or anxious for not actively posting.

I think that this group has a nice diversity (some city gardeners, some suburban, and some rural, as well as a demographic that runs the spectrum of young to old, with all types of New England geography from city to seashore to mountains represented.) At the same time there is a common thread that ties us all together as New Englanders. There really is no other area of this country like NE with the same culture, history, weather patterns, and gardening conditions. So it is nice to have a forum exclusively specific to New England. Personally I see no need for change or improvement to this forum, despite the fact that change will likely come along eventually, for better or worse, as it does to all forums, and all things.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Bill - I'm a bit saddened by your statement "There's no further need for me to be here."

As a community, what can we do to make you feel more welcome here? Your presence will be missed.

I personally have loved seeing the photos of your xeric garden. Granted I have no knowledge of a xeric garden, and I'm probably not even spelling it correctly, and I must admit I had to look up the word in the dictionary when I first saw it. And I will most likely never plant a cactus anywhere near my property. For those reasons I have never commented on many of your posts. But I still enjoy the threads, as I'm sure many others do. And I actually think you are one of the "coolest" gardeners on this forum.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 1:31PM
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Bill, fwiw, I don't participate as much as I used to, but there are several names that always catch my eye and I read because I know they have good contributions. And yours is one of them.

I think I used to be more participatory when I was a newbie and I was constantly in need of and sucking up information. Now I am a saturated sponge and I am getting tired of my garden and of gardening. I participate here and there and it is the first forum I check in with to see whats new and to lurk.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 2:40PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Bill, I'm sorry if I overstated my previous post and certainly didn't intend to make you look bad. It's just that you've started several threads focusing on participation in the forum and it gives me the impression you're disgruntled about something withthe forum? If that's not the case, then I've misinterpreted what you write and please accept my apology.

There is enough strife in regular life, I don't come here for more of it!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 2:44PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I have found this forum to be interesting, informative, enjoyable and generally very welcoming. Maybe it's my enthusiasm that is behind my wish to see it grow and flourish. I think it's safe to say that we're all aware of the regulars who participate, and it's great that we have them all to keep this going. But I was hoping to encourage others to participate too, and not be timid about joining in and sharing. While they might think they have nothing "great" to offer, they might be surprised by how many of us would find them interesting, or that we have even had some of the same experiences, problems or successes. I am sure that after Irene has passed that we'll all have plenty to share. Stay safe all of you.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 2:56PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wendy, I can really identify with what you're saying. I was also like a sponge as a newbie and interested in talk, talk, talking about gardening for the longest time. This year, I've had other aspects of life predominate my time and attention and for the first time I found myself actually feeling it was a chore to go out to the garden. I sincerely believe it is a temporary state of mind. It did gather steam over the summer though, when I didn't have time to keep it up and the resulting appearance of neglect only made me feel less like getting out there. I'm just hoping that a long winter under snow cover and with a fresh start next spring, I'll regain my gardening enthusiasm. I hope.

Bill, hang in there! You do have a lot of gardening enthusiasm and all I can suggest, is that you present topics that interest you and maybe you'll get responses and stimulate discussion or not. I guess it just will be what it will be.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 3:16PM
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Evening, this is for Pixie Lou, I'm usually one of the lurkers I pretty much mainly check in when its getting time for some message that Annies going to have a plant swap. wow! I don't understand why you would say you don't see yourself going to one of the plant swaps! You mentioned that a lot of folks seem to be friends here because of the swaps. Have to tell you I only started to go about 2 years ago, didn't know anyone, went alone and had a ball! I guess I really enjoyed it because it was great to meet so many people that were outside of my 7 day a week work life. Yup I was working 7 days a week and all the folks I saw, spoke to, and worked with all existed in that same little world.
I look forward to seeing all the folks that show up and yes I have met and kept in touch with some of them. It would be nice if you could see yourself coming to one of them. You really don't even need any plants to come!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 8:58PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I'm sure the plant swaps are a wonderful social activity. However, I worry about introducing Foliar Nematodes or viruses into my garden. I just don't think it's a safe way to acquire plants.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 7:56AM
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sinbads mom - it's not that I'm opposed to the plant swaps - it's just more of a matter of timing. Between my daughters activities and my husbands work schedule - it's just a matter of timing and priorities. And at this point in my life, plant swaps are low on the priority list. Things may change in a few years.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:16AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I'm not really much of a plant swapper myself. I'm the type who never subdivides or prunes or otherwise interferes with any of my own growing plants, and thus I never have nothing to offer. (I only dead-head annuals, transplant things only in the most exigent circumstances, and the idea of "shovel pruning" anything that is not a hopelessly dead bundle of withered twigs makes me cringe!)

At the same time I have very specific preferences about what plants I chose to acquire, that will fit in my color design, so most of what is offered just isn't what I'm seeking.

The idea of some other type of get-together for NE gardeners appeals to me, but plant swaps just aren't my thing.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 1:22PM
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scpearson(5 NE CT)

I joined GW in January when we were snowbound forever. I was so excited to read about other NE gardeners, their thoughts, experiences, and advice. I still have the gardening bug throughout the winter and it was a great place to "get my fix!"
I went to 2 swaps this year and was so delighted with the experience. Didn't know what to expect but found a terrific group of people with a common love of plants and a genuine, friendly atmosphere. I especially hate to throw out plants that I no longer have room for, and am always giving them away. The swaps were a perfect fit for me. I also brought along some planters, gardening books and magazines that I no longer needed (they all found new happy homes) and came home with nectar for my hummingbird feeder in addition to some new plants.
I started growing a lot more from seed this year and will try my hand at winter sowing for the first time this year, thanks to learning so much about it here on GW. I was lucky enough to benefit from some seeds through an exchange and newbie offers...another wonderful and rewarding experience that I will be able to contribute more to this year.
New England Forum is my favorite!
I admit I get busy outside during the growing season and have less time to check in here, but now that my vegetable garden is winding down, the pool is closed as of yesterday, and I don't think there will be too much sailing time left, I'll be here more often.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 1:13AM
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