Tuesday, February 05, 2008

2008 Garden Bloggers' Carnival

It’s carnival time – the period of feasting and fun preceding the forty days preceding Lent. The word carnival comes from the Latin – carne vale. Or in other words, Meat, goodbye ! Eat everything up quick, because from now until Easter it’s fasting and abstinence. Well - if you’re a Christian anyway. But I have to admit something. Lent may have started for you and carnival may be over – but for us in Milan, it hasn’t and isn’t. We carry on till Saturday.

The tradition dates back till 1485 when Milan was hit by an attack of the plague. For weeks the gates of the city were closed, no-one being allowed in or out – with obvious repercussions on the food supply. The epidemic passed and the city was reopened on Ash Wednesday - just when the already half-starved people should have been starting to fast. So the Archbishop of Milan asked the Pope for a special dispensation, and Milan was granted four extra days of carnevale. Somehow in the following years it never got changed back again ...

And so the Garden Bloggers’ Carnival starts today and will go on till Saturday. If you remember, I asked people to say thank you to the writers of blogs they’d particularly enjoyed by nominating one of their posts. So here we go with a chance to gorge yourself on some of the best posts from the gardening blog world...

One of the reasons I like organising these carnivals, is because I get to find out about blogs I’ve never heard of before. That happened when
Kris of Blithewold nominated an post from Ledge and Gardens talking about garden design. The post nominated is about shape and plant choice, but when I went in to check that it was OK to post the link, what did I find but another post on the same topic – but this time dealing with colour. And what colour. If I was half so gifted visually, I’d have the best balcony in Southern Europe. Not to mention the superb condition of the plants. Oh well, back to fighting the red spider mite ...

Not all the posts nominated are new though. Sometimes one comes in which I’ve read and enjoyed before, and I’m grateful that someone has jogged my memory and sent me back to it – as happened when
Carol of May Dreams Gardens nominated this post by Annie in Austin. It’s about mowing lawns, and makes a great case for doing it yourself rather than (I admit, like me when I’m in London) delegating it to some hapless member of your family. I conned my son for a year or so by looking grave and saying “Do you think you can do it OK?” in that “Mummy” tone which really means “I don’t think you’re old enough”. But once the novelty wore off and he got a bit bigger, he twigged. So then it was an appeal to my husband - Darling I’m so tired and I really must get on with deadheading the roses ... Annie thinks otherwise, and once she starts talking about her Dad, she’s got me convinced. Odd how so many of us women garden bloggers trace our love of gardening back to our dads.

Kris showed that she’s open minded about lawns though, by also nominating
Blackswamp Girl who ripped out her front lawn to plant other things. In Britain where we have fences and hedges around the front garden, lawn or flowers are a matter of personal choice, but in the States where everything is open and the space between the houses and the roads therefore feels more communal, it seems to be a different matter. At the moment my house has a lawn at the front – but I suspect that if I actually lived there it wouldn’t last long. Why waste gardening space when I’m never going to sit there? The lawn is for the back. I start tut tutting when people pave the whole front garden over to park their cars there, but if I saw one of my neighbours had created the same front garden as Blackswamp Girl, I’d be envious.

That's enough for Day 1 - enjoy. But the carnival will be back on Thursday, and again on Saturday with more. So if you've been intending to send in a nomination but haven't got round to it - there's still time! See you on Thursday!


Thanks for the photo, provided under Creative Commons License via flickr.


Annie in Austin said...

Hi Sue,

Thanks to both you and Carol for including my post on mowing and my father in your bloggers' Carnival - I liked reading that you have your Dad's garden weather book.

The history of Milan's Ash Wednesday dispensation was very cool - now off to see the other posts.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
[took the Austen quiz a while ago - Elinor Dashwood.]

Carol Michel said...

Sue, I was very intersted to read about the history of Milan. Here, our day of fast is nearly over.

Count me as one who learned her love of gardening from her Dad,
Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I didn't know Milan got an extra day of Carnivale - no fair! :^) I love Carnivale & wish all of the USA participated. It really breaks up the winter.*@%$& Puritans!

Barbee' said...

Sue, you have a beautiful blog. It is amazing how much you have accomplished on a balcony.

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