9 Garden Bloggers and Influencers To Follow in 2021 | Platt Hill Nursery | Blog & Advice

As we open our eyes to the dawn of a new year, everything in the world seems fresh and new. It’s time to nurture new ideas and new wishes. When we look out into the world of gardening bloggers, we discover many people just like us, who love nothing more than to sink their hands into the earth and watch a seedling sprout. They love it so much that they’ve made a career out of it! Just as they’ve grown beautiful gardens, they’ve used their creative talents to grow beautiful blogs, too. Here’s a seed bank of gardening wisdom to get your ideas sprouting and blooming in the new year! 


Blogs are a personal way to get in touch with these gardeners, share their journey, and read their insights.




A Way to Garden


A Way to Garden creator Margaret Roach is a heavy-hitter in the garden blogging world. Her accomplishments include several books, such as and i shall have some peace there (2011), which she wrote after leaving her life as a writer in New York City to start a small farm upstate. Her articles are conveniently organized into groupings based on topic—ranging from groundcovers to perennials to vines and vegetables—which makes it easy to browse her archive. She also shares information in podcasts that you can enjoy while you’re working away in the garden! 




Tenth Acre Farm


Amy Stross, the creator of Tenth Acre Farm, brings permaculture to the suburbs. Permaculture is the ever-growing idea of creating a “permanent agriculture.” In other words, it’s the attempt to develop perennial agricultural systems, or food gardens, that don’t require any plowing or replanting. Instead, they return each year like a natural forest, except one that’s abundant with human food. Stross’s blog naturally shares her knowledge on the topic, focusing on permaculture tricks you can use at home.

Stross, who is also the author of the award-winning book, The Suburban Micro-Farm, also shared some gardening tips with us:

  • Start small. You can always scale up as your success and enthusiasm grow.
  • Commit to 15 minutes a day in the garden. For some extra fun, take it with your morning coffee or your favorite after-work happy hour drink.
  • Plant what you love to eat rather than what you think you should eat.

This blog from Ohio is a good starting place for thought-provoking and view-shifting takes on gardening from a permaculture angle!      




Savvy Gardening 


This trio of garden bloggers offers a wealth of straightforward knowledge. They can refresh your know-how on the basics, like planting bulbs, or enlighten you with more advanced tips, like attracting beneficial insects. You’ll find many insights on edibles, ornamentals, container gardens, DIY projects, and even cold-season gardening. Their blog is one to keep an eye on for inspiration throughout the season!





Evanson, IL-based couple Jason Bert Kay and Judy Hertz collaborate on this charming blog for urban gardeners. With musings on a wide range of topics, from plant care to eating what you grow, each post invites you into their home and garden as if you were an old friend. Jason warmly shares his favorite tips and techniques while balancing informative content with updates on their life and garden. Meanwhile, Judy provides visual context with her beautiful photography. 

We managed to get in touch with Jason, who was kind enough to share some great gardening advice with us!

  • Pick plants that are well-suited to the site (light, moisture, soil, etc).
  • Bees, birds, and butterflies are part of a garden’s beauty. Choose plants that support garden wildlife. If caterpillars are eating the leaves, that’s a good thing—be happy!
  • Be flexible. Plants have their own ideas about where they want to grow in your garden. Let them find their favorite places!
  • At the same time, you need a strategy for aggressive spreaders, especially those that spread by root (rhizome). Otherwise, you will end up with a garden dominated by just a couple of species. 




Empress of Dirt 

Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Melissa J. Will is the queen of frugal gardening. After starting as a complete beginner gardener less than ten years ago, she turned her piece of dirt into an abundant flower and vegetable garden. Now, she shows other beginner gardeners how to grow a lot with very little knowledge and resources. And she does so with characteristic panache and humor!




You Grow Girl 

Another colorful blog for beginners, Gayla Trail’s website features articles on gardening, DIY crafts, garden recipes, and personal musings. An accomplished author and photographer, she has a knack for explaining the basics of gardening in inspiring ways, and she’s always expanding her articles in new directions. You will find a treasure trove of advice for growing vegetables, flowers,
herbs, plants, and how to cook, preserve, and enjoy them!  



Illinois Extension Horticulture Blogs 

When it comes to gardening, you can’t beat advice from local experts. The Illinois Extension hosts horticultural blogs by an assortment of different experts in the industry from all across the state. The contributors for these blogs cover many different topics since they all have unique areas of expertise, but it’s all relevant to growing, gardening, and landscaping in Illinois. Some of the latest topics on these blogs include:




Misfit Gardening 


Though she claims to be a misfit, this blogger fits right in with anyone who has a passion for growing organic food and improving their suburban homestead. She focuses on the basics of growing vegetables and teaches about raising backyard chickens and bees, preserving food, and home brewing. We spoke to Emma about her best advice for gardeners, and she had wise words for the beginner and sophomore gardeners embarking on their first or second year of gardening!

“Starting small means you can hone your skills and build on them each year,” Emma says. “Maybe you expand the veggies you are growing next year or start composting, and maybe the following year you grow a new plant. Either way, starting small helps to keep things manageable and helps you to succeed!”

As we’re toiling away in solitude, it’s easy to forget that there are so many people out there doing what we love. Blogs are a personal way to get in touch with these gardeners, share their journey, and read their insights. Many good bloggers live around the country, but there’s no shortage of kindred spirits right here in Chicagoland and northern Illinois. If you ever want to bond with local gardeners, visit our nurseries. And if you ever need more gardening inspiration for the cold months, don’t forget to check out our Winter Garden Guide

Platt Hill Nursery is Chicago’s premier garden center and nursery.