How DID you get all those flowers to bloom?


Wow, there’s an interesting dust-up over on Stuart’s blog over Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. (Only in the gardening blogosphere could there be controversy over flower photos.)  I’m still trying to process all the issues involved – farmers v. gardeners, fertilizers, eco-crises – oh my!  I think I’ll just stay quiet and stick to my shrubs.  Gardeners Need to STOP Growing Flowers 


  1. Now, now. No doo-doo for Stuart. His gripe seems to be with all of the high-phosphorus fertilizers people use to get those flowers to bloom, not with the flowers themselves. It’s a good point. He’s smart. He knew that title would get everyone talking 🙂

  2. The short answer to Stuart’s problem is to only grow flowers (and vegetables) using compost and other natural fertilisers; to sort out what grows well in your particular patch in an average season, and to stop expecting more from your plants than they can naturally give. It’s like high milk yield cows, they need more antibiotics, more high quality feed, have a short life span and produce huge quantities of relatively low grade, tasteless milk.
    And I don’t know about Stuart but I don’t need more of everything, nor am I in competition with other gardeners.

  3. Controversy over Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day? I’ve yet to read a comment or get an email from a gardener who said he resorted to chemical fertilizers to have the best blooms for GBBD. I’ve never felt the “competition” that Stuart alludes to in his post.

    I have seen a lot of fun and creative blog posts as gardeners show from one to dozens of blooms in their gardens, all on the same day of the month.

    Stuart’s concerns about about high phosphorus fertilizers and invasive non-native plants have their place, but really have nothing to do with gardeners sharing notes on what they have blooming in their gardens once a month.

    I would have left a comment on Stuart’s blog when he first posted and tried to implicate GBBD in something that it really isn’t involved in, but his blog code wasn’t working, so it didn’t take.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens, home of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

    (All are invited to join us for the next GBBD on September 15th, even, and especially, Stuart!)

  4. I am astonished that Stuart would cast such negative aspersions on other garden bloggers. I participate weekly in GTS and though I have used small amounts of non-organic fertilizers this year, this is my first year gardening and I don’t plan to do so again next year. My decision to go organic is mostly based on the writings of other garden bloggers who participate in both GTS and GBBD — and Garden Rant, of course. I’ve never seen any evidence of a competitive nature amongst these posters and I personally take offense at his implication. Come on, let’s all keep positive and support each other!

  5. Like Carol, I tried to comment on Stuart’s post when it first came out, but it didn’t work.

    I think Stuart was being deliberately provocative with his title and by throwing around words like “evil” in connection with GBBD. His basic point about using chemical fertilizers is sound. However, he obviously didn’t mind tromping on a few toes in pursuit of that point.

  6. Stuart’s argument is based on his assumption that “the problems begin when we start to see others having more success with a particular plant. Our desire to improve then focuses on unnatural aids”, etc.

    I doubt he’ll find many of us in competition with each other.

  7. Okay, okay, already!! Yer, I used a few words that might have painted a more dastardly picture than we’re open to admit but as I recently suggested to Christopher (in response to a comment he left on my blog) “I’ll admit it’s a shock value post, but that’s only because gardeners are still buying and using these products. ”

    The competition I’m referring to is not of one-upmanship in the blogosphere but of trying to be different in our own habitats.

    We think that if Joe can grow such-and-such then why shouldn’t I. Yet, Joe’s climate, soil and growing conditions are far different to ours so we need to boost our plants with inorganic chemicals to achieve the same results.

    I’m not saying that GBBD is bad – I’m just pointing to the dark side that can, and does, occur.

    Sandra summed my thoughts up precisely.

    BTW – my apologies for comment failure. It wasn’t planned as I certainly love hearing people’s views on this subject.

  8. Maybe we bloggers should start a Garden Blogger’s Dead Day where we show photos of our gardening failures complete with cautionary tales. BTW I am in competition with no one. 1 comment/complaint about gardening blogs is that we generally post only close-up shots of plants & don’t include wide views. There is a reason for that – there are parts of my garden that are unfit for publication (unless used as a cautionary tale). I applaud efforts to help gardeners get over their chemical dependency; I just wonder whether those most in need of the message ever hear it. Leaf Mold Rules!

  9. I’ve stopped reading Stuart’s blog. I don’t mind controversy, but he is always very negative. Lately, as illustrated by this post, he has become just plain mean. Obviously his mother never taught him what my mother taught me: if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.

  10. “Always negative”, “just plain mean”

    I’m not sure I’ve lost a “READER” at all. 95% of my posts are applauding other gardeners, bloggers, gardens and gardening methods. I write a few posts on my dislikes and suddenly I’m mean????

    Come on people. I’m happy to accept criticism and I’ll always allow people to have differing opinions on my blog but isn’t that what helps us become better gardeners and thinkers.

    Or should gardening just be about happy, pretty flowers?

  11. I didn’t think that post was mean, or that Stuart was attacking other blogs. What I sensed was frustration, that people use too much artificial fertilizer trying to keep up with the Joneses, and that flower competitions encourage the use of more fertilizers. It’s a shame that cooperative extension services are still advocating the use of artificial fertilizers. Are they, really? Even if you just use compost–the best policy–you will probably end up eventually with an excess of phosphorous.

  12. Can someone tell me more about “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day”? How did it start and when? How do we participate? Post pics of our own garden blooms on the 15th of each month at our own blogs? Or is there a Flickr photo sharing type site set up for this? Then what? Is there a link or central site to report in to?
    I also like that “Dead” idea – maybe not a regular thing, but certainly worth each of us sharing on waht failures we’ve had.

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