Friday, June 12, 2015

The Heart of the Matter

I wonder what we would see in people if we peeled away the layers and saw their heart, tender and raw. How much of their true selves would fall pulsing into our laps, their mask of flesh and bone stripped bare. Before I am a writer, blogger, or gardener, I am a storyteller and my quirky personality echoes through my posts. My writing is a piece of me, genuine and exposed, a small piece of my heart in black text on a screen.



'Bridal Wreath' spirea was blooming profusely in the cottage gardens
 of Ward and Algonquin Islands.

Writing a blog is less about sharing photos of our plants than of telling the stories of our gardens, our love of gardening, and ultimately, of ourselves. We lay bare our passions as we dig, design, and write. Little bits of ourselves slip out in the cracks between the words we chose and those we don't. Every blog is a voice, a story, a small piece of someone, neatly packaged and ready to be opened.



I love the textures, colors, and layering of this combo.

Do you ever wonder about the people behind the blogs? I recently attended the 2015 Blogger Fling held in Toronto. But as much as I wanted to see all the incredible gardens, I really went for the people. 



Peony from Marion Jarvie's garden

I went to spend three days with the amazing people who write the blogs I devour. I wanted to immerse myself in a community of gardeners who understand the need and desire to share their stories of gardening and life. I went to Toronto to add their voice to mine, to let it weave into the story of my garden because in the end, regardless of whether we tell our story in words or photos, we are all storytellers.



The view from a steep wooded garden overlooking the lake.

65 comments:

  1. Too bad we did not meet. I always enjoyed your quirky and often humorous story telling.

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    1. Thanks! We'll have to meet at the next one. :o)

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  2. Lovely, lovely post. It was wonderful meeting you Tammy!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. It was so fabulous to finally meet you and your dogs. Seeing them was like walking into your blog for just a minute. :o)

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  3. Some future Fling maybe we'll both be there at the same time. That would be fun! I go as much for the people too, as for the gardens, although because I'm an introvert, I do find it exhausting.

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    1. That would be awesome! I'm a selective extrovert but still find them exhausting but so much fun.

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  4. You are such an amazing artist--your words resonate and inspire and entertain, and your photography is stunning. I am so pleased to have met you at the Portland Fling, and hope we cross paths at another in the future. And Please, keep on doing what you're doing, so we can all keep enjoying your incredible story-telling!

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    1. Wow! Thanks! What a touching comment. :o)

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  5. Your voice is quite genuine. The Fling really does make for lots of laughs and good times with garden minded folks. It is so much the people, the gardens are icing on the cake.

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    1. I never want to Fling without you. You are hysterical!

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  6. It was great to meet you Tammy. Your post is spot on and your photos are fabulous. Exhausting as it could be, the Fling ended all too soon.

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    1. Do you also have a garden blog? I'm dying to know who you are!

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  7. I think blogspot must hate me, or it just really doesn't want me to post a comment. Anyhow, it was great to spend time with you in Toronto. Especially on the way to the airport, even if it was ungodly early! You are right that the fling is about meeting the people behind the blogs. Sometimes they fulfill our expectations, sometimes they are a surprise, but either way it is a great experience. Hope to see you again in Minneapolis, Virginia, or maybe Chicago.

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    1. It was a great ride. You are fine company. :) Blogspot is a pain the butt sometimes and I have no ability to fix it. Grrrr..... I do hope to see you again next year or maybe even sooner if work schedules permit.

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  8. What can I say? I feel like I've known you for years and years. I guess I have--virtually. But it was fun to meet you and share some laughs face-to-face. You are as quick-witted in person as you are on your blog. Before we know it, we'll be in Minneapolis chuckling again. And I'll try to keep up with you. ;-) Enjoy the rest of your summer, Tammy.

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    1. It was so wonderful to meet you! You are so warm and friendly that it was easy to be goofy around you.

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  9. I LOVED this post Tammy. It *is* the heart of the matter--the storytelling. It is sure the reason I follow blogs, for the amazing people behind them. It must have been loads of fun seeing gardens in Toronto, such an interesting city. That photo by the lake at the end of your post is a gorgeous photograph...I'm assuming that was in Toronto. Anyway, I feel lucky to have met you last year at the Blogger's Fling when it was in Portland. Sounds like it was another great year. Thank you for being you, I love your stories.

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    1. The garden by the lake had a very steep set of steps that I probably would have fallen down every day. But the views were incredible. My favorite blogs are blogs with a sense of the writer or photographer. I think we're all a little curious about each other. :)

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  10. Hi Tammy, lovely written post! Like you I am also often wondering about the person behind the blog and I am quite fascinated by the fact how different the garden blogs that I am reading are from each other, even though all are about the same subject: Gardens and Plants. Lucky you that you could attend the Toronto Blog Fling. It must be truly fun to meet all the garden bloggers in person and talk about the favorite subjects: Gardening and Blogging. By the way I love the plant combination in your second photo as well!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. The second photo came from a garden on Algonquin Island, which is in Lake Ontario. They still had late tulips blooming! It is interesting how we all have such different perspectives on the same subject.

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  11. I've very certain that you get the most out of just about every experience, Tammy. I'm sorry I missed yet another Fling and an opportunity to meet in person.

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    1. There will be lots more Flings to attend. All is not lost. :o) Next year we'll be in Minneapolis in July or August.

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  12. Beautifully written as always, my friend! Sorry to have missed the fling and you but we're still in school and things toward the end of the year get crazy as you know and fitting a far-flung fling into the middle of that would have been difficult! Can't wait to read further fling posts!

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    1. I took my three annual personal days so I could go. I asked for them in Jan and my principal was very accommodating. I still have 3 1/2 days to go.... It would have been amazing to see you!

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  13. Tammy, you wrote very wise words: "piece of my heart in black text". Thank you,dear!

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  14. "Little bits of ourselves slip out in the cracks" - that's a lovely image and so true! It was great to meet you in Toronto.

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    1. It was great to meet you, too! I really enjoyed your warmth and friendliness. :o) I hope to see you again in Minneapolis.

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  15. It must have wonderful meeting other garden bloggers. What you write, Tammy, is so true. I think it is so interesting that although we don't meet in person, we do get to know each other, and have a real sense of the person behind the blog. What I love about blogging is finding stories among the chaotic experiences of a busy life.

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    1. It is wonderful! :o) I love the stories, too. It's what blogging is all about. :o)

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  16. What a lovely post, Tammy! I agree, I've gone to Flings as much to meet the people as to see all the amazing gardens. What surprised me at the first Fling I attended in Chicago is that when I met a blogger whose posts I read rather frequently I felt as if I already knew them. It's been true for almost every blogger I've met in person--it's amazing how their voice comes through their blog. I so enjoyed meeting you last year in Portland--and yes, you were the funny, lively person I expected. Hope to see you again in Minneapolis next year!

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    1. Thanks, Rose. :o) We had so much fun in Portland. I really hope to see you next year. A Fling is like meeting old friends.

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  17. You are so right about story telling, connecting life to the garden. So much of what I do in the garden has some sort of story. And as I listen to my friend who gardens but does not bog, she tells stories, too, of her garden, always referencing her father.

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    1. Your friend should start a blog or maybe write a book. We all have a voice worth listening to. :o)

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  18. This is a truly lovely post, written straight from the heart! Your writing always reflects your character and your kindness, humour and charm always shine through! I always wonder about the people behind the blogs too, I feel I know many very well now and have come to see them as friends, and look forward to each new post they write. How lovely that you got to meet other garden bloggers.xxx

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    1. I tend to be direct and expressive. 'Mysterious, cool detachment' was never an attitude I could pull off. ;o)

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  19. God buddy! I'm taken with your words today. Oh how true so very true. I am so happy for you that you were able to go and be with so many like minded bloggers. And your photos just show how beautiful it was! The stories and the lives...a cool journey indeed! Nicole xo

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    1. I think about what I want to say, what I don't want to say, words pop into my head and I write them down. I really hope to meet you at a Fling someday!! That would be the best. :o)

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  20. Sounds like a most marvellous time! It is such a blast to be with kindred souls. You are as always, right on the money. It's the stories people tell and the person behind it that draws me in. We see snippets of people through their writing till more and more of a personality is revealed. I love to see the pictures and beautiful gardens , and be inspired by others but it is the individual behind it all that keeps me coming back. It's like a flower budding up and then unfurling in all its glory. Kinda magical! Keep those great posts coming!

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    1. You would love every second of it!! People do blossom at the Fling. Bloggers are a very supportive group. :o)

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  21. We never know quite what to expect from you. One day you can be funny and silly, the next, poignant and touching. It's a heady brew...so keep on keeping us guessing, please.

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    1. I'm a bit of a mashup, I suppose. :o) I even surprise myself sometimes. Maybe I should create a post that's dry as toast just to keep everyone totally confuzzled. ;o)

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  22. How nice to meet bloggers. I've been blogging since 2006 and have met some wonderful people online. I am not a garden blogger, but more of a yard blogger... Michelle

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    1. I like the idea of being a "yard blogger". It sounds like you're typing away on your computer while sitting in the lawn. :o)

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  23. I'd love to go one year, for just the same reasons. It would be huge fun I think.

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    1. You should come! It's tons of fun. :o)

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  24. How nicely said Tammy. I hope you had a good time and were able to meet many of the people you read.

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    1. It was a very good time. I hope to see you at future Flings!

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  25. We do not have flings over here, they sound a very good way of peeling a few layers back, not everyone writes as you do. But this is food for thought today.

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    1. I am a bird of a different feather and it comes out in my writing. :o) Several UK bloggers come to the Fling. :o)

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  26. Dear Tammy .. You truly have a gift writing with your quirky personality ... I so wish I could have met you along with the others at the fling .. heaven knows when they will have another close to home that I could get to .. but having said that, we are still all connected with our blogs and our love of plants and gardening. Some day ? I will get to one and finally connect the dots of blogs to people : )
    Joy
    PS .. beautiful pictures !

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    1. Thanks, Joy! I am an expressive person but not reactive and writing is how I deal with and express what I'm feeling. I would so love to meet you someday. There's a fling every year so maybe our paths will cross. :o)

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  27. How very lovely! It was such a pleasure to meet you--I so agree that the people made it special!

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    1. It was wonderful to meet you. You are fine, lively company. I hope to see you again next year. :o)

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  28. One of these days I will make to a fling, so I can match faces with voices.

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    1. I need to get my butt down to Norfolk so I can see the NBG. We can have a nano Fling. :o)

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  29. You are definitely someone I'd like to meet. I enjoy your personality through your writing. And you're right, it's not always about the plants(or birds) but the experience behind it all. It's part of the fun of blogging. I have met so many wonderful people through blogging who in real life are amazing people. And it changed my life. So if ever I am in your area(or you mine), we need to get together. I'll show you our gardens her. While I don't post as much as I should about plants, they are the backbone of my work. Enjoy your summer! There's so much to do!

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    1. Right back at ya! Bloggers are a diverse, interesting group that have made gardening a much richer experience for me. Plus, I've learned so much from other blogs that I've used in my garden. I would really love to meet you, too. :o)

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  30. These flings sound such fun, how marvellous for you all to get together. I wish we could do it in Europe. I am always fascinated to meet other bloggers. I love the phrase: ' Little bits of us slip out in the gaps between the words we chose and those we don' t'. Even those of us who like to preserve a bit of anomininity reveal more of ourselves than we think. I love the way you gradually feel you are getting to know other bloggers and building up a picture of them.

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    1. We do have a few English gardeners who attend. You should come, too! I was a little unsure of what it would be like to meet other bloggers when I attended my first Fling last year but it was like meeting old friends. Blogs with only technical information can be very useful but the ones that are a bit more personal are more enjoyable to me.

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  31. Hi Tammy, I'm glad you enjoyed the Toronto Garden Blogger Fling, I'll have to see if there is anything like that here. It would be great to meet up with a like-minded set of people and go poking around other people's gardens for inspiration and pleasure.

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    1. Come to the States, Sunil! We have British bloggers who come every year. Bring the family. :o) We would all love to meet you. :o)

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  32. Isn't it the bloomin' truth!! I just had a friend over and caught myself apologizing for this and that. When the culprit is the bloody hot weather we've had waay too soon and no rain, so everything is fried in my summer perennial beds. (the north facing beds are happy.) Nothing has had the time to slowly ripen the way it is used to. Now, I'm not complaining, well yes I guess I am, but would it hurt you Mother Nature to return a little more rain to the Pacific Northwest? We have a reputation to uphold! All that aside, you are spot on Tammy. We need to be kinder to ourselves. After all, we are in control of nothing, nada, niente, e basta.

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    1. Gardeners can be apologistas and we should all just stop. Sometimes it just is what it is and there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. :o)

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  33. My main reason for attending the Fling one day is to meet the people...the gardens are a much distant second to being with bloggers I have been reading for many years now.

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