The 2016 Golden Trowel Awards
Editor’s note: Thank you to all the members of the gardening and lawn care community. We appreciate the hard work that you do and please keep it going as we enter the new year. If you have any feedback for us, we’d love to hear from you. Please reach out to us.
Finding the Top Gardening Blogs of 2016
There are thousands of incredible bloggers who share stories, photos and knowledge about gardening and sustainable living. LawnStarter’s editorial team scoured the internet to put together a list of winners for LawnStarter’s Top Gardening Blogs of 2016, taking into account blog posts and other online activity during the year.
Winners may display our Golden Trowel Award badge on their blogs. We tried to email each of the winners, but if we missed you, we want to hear from you!
Let us know in the comments section about your favorite bloggers who aren’t on our list!
Winners were judged on their reputation on Google, influence and popularity in social media, and quality and consistency of posts. So without further ado, in no particular order, allow us to announce the winners of our first-ever Golden Trowel Award. Here’s to another great year of blogging!
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How Does Our Garden Grow
Author: Tamara Bell
Tamara started her gardening blog in 2011. She and her family — and their garden — moved in 2013 from Aberdeen, MD, to Fairbanks, AK.
Ever since, Tamara and her family have been working to expand their garden and blessing the online gardening community with chronicles of her her successes and failures along the way.
Our Favorite 2016 Post: An argument for soil testing
Mark’s Veg Plot
Author: Mark Willis
If you’re looking for homegrown inspiration and tantalizing garden recipes, then you should check out Mark’s Veg Plot. He posts nearly every day; I never thought someone could possess so much knowledge of chilis and fungi.
Favorite 2016 Post: The importance of Food Education
The Urban Veg Patch
Author: Caro Shrives
She grows vegetables, salads, fruit and bug-friendly flowers in the gardens of the flats where she lives.
The garden has a rather interesting history that you can read about here. It started eight years ago as a community project with help from neighbors and others.
Favorite 2016 Post: Rich Tea
Author: Becky Schotthofer
Hayloft is an independently owned company run by women who share a common love: plants.
Becky is one of the newest members of the Hayloft team and has been blogging for the company since January 2016. She has a knack for words and has an acute sense for the right photos to tell the story. Becky writes about everything from the garden to festive crafts to the wildlife that plays in the surrounding habitat.
Favorite 2016 Post: Autumnal Color
Alaska Master Gardener Blog
Author: Heidi Rader
Heidi Rader edits the site and teaches the Alaska Master Gardener Online Course.
For anyone who plans on studying garden design or learning horticulture, this is a great online resource.
Favorite 2016 Post: My Version of Companion Planting
Garden of Eaden
He can teach you how to grow anything. Seriously. He also runs his own seed-distributing business called Seeds of Eaden, where you can purchase rare and exotic plants, vegetables, salads, herbs and much more.
Favorite 2016 Post: HOW TO GROW PYRACANTHA ‘Mohave’
Central Texas Gardener
Author: Linda Lehmusvirta
Any gardener (heck, anybody even) in Texas can tell you what you’re up against as a Texas gardener: heat, pests, drought, weird freezes and bad soil.
That’s where Central Texas Gardener comes in. Linda helps her readers tackle the techniques, pick drought-tough plants for wildlife, fill up your kitchen with fresh food, and enrich your soul with artistic designs and homegrown philosophy from hands-on gardeners.
Favorite 2016 Post: Stayin’ Alive in Summer
A Woman of the Soil
Author: Elaine Rickett
Then check out Elaine’s blog. She really puts her heart into every post and always writes from personal experience. It’s always refreshing to enjoy someone’s work when you can tell that it’s genuine.
Favorite 2016 Post: State of Play in the Kitchen Garden …
Greenroofs Sky Gardens Blog
Author: Linda S. Velazquez
We’re a huge fan of the green roof movement.
Greenroofs.com is an online portal full of valuable information about the green roof and green wall business.
Check out the blog for fascinating green roof stories and designs, and for learning how to get involved in the community.
Favorite 2016 Post:
Greenroofs.com’s 2016 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design
Author: Robin Plaskoff Horton
Urban Gardens is a lifestyle story told from the ground up. Robin has lived all over the world: Tokyo, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Paris, Boston, New York and Connecticut.
Read this blog if you’re interested in the latest design ideas and trends, and in enjoying a cultured woman’s perspectives on urban gardening.
Favorite 2016 Post: Rotating Indoor Hydroponic Garden Perfect For Small Space Living
Fresh Eggs Daily
Author: Lisa Steele
Are you a gardener who’s thinking of raising chickens?
Then the Fresh Eggs Daily is the blog for you.
With an audience that spans the globe, Fresh Eggs Daily is certainly the most popular destination for advice about natural chicken- and duck-keeping.
Favorite 2016 Post: Easy DIY Duck or Chicken Teepee
Authors: The Benzakein family
Floret Flowers, located in Washington’s beautiful Skagit Valley, is a family-run flower farm specializing in unique and heirloom flowers.
The blog is full of helpful flower-growing tips and intimate family stories that are fun to read. Did I mention the magnificent photography? I’ve never seen so many captured colors and hues on one web page.
Author: Pam Penick
Pam is an avid gardener, author, roving photographer and landscape designer.
She launched Digging in 2006 to share her love of gardening and appreciation for the marvelous beauty of plants, gardens and nature, and to “chat it up” in cyberspace with other gardeners.
Pam is from Austin, TX, where we’re located, so we’re especially huge fans of the Digging blog and wish Pam all of the luck in the world on her travels.
Favorite 2016 Post: Where there’s a whale, there’s a way
Sow True Seed
Author: Carol Koury
Founded in 2008 by lifelong gardener and food activist Carol Koury, Sow True Seed provides open-pollinated, heirloom and organic vegetable, herb and flower seeds to enthusiastic home gardeners and small-market farmers.
Head this way if you’re passionate about botanical gardening and like supporting awesome people in the community.
Favorite 2016 Post: New Year Gardening Resolutions
Red Dirt Ramblings
Author: Dee Nash
Something about Oklahoma keeps the people who were born there firmly rooted.
Dee is a professional writer and speaker. Her husband, Bill, may not like to garden but gets his hands dirty whenever Dee needs help building her garden landscape.
She also wrote a book called “The 20-30 Something Gardening Guide”, a “no-fuss, down and dirty Gardening 101 for anyone who wants to grow stuff.”
Favorite 2016 Post: Gardening isn’t easy
Author: Shawna Coronado
Shawna writes about sustainable ideas and tries to inspires others to find their socially good selves.
Having blogged for Better Homes & Gardens, you can be sure that she’s an expert in the gardening community.
If you’re looking to better yourself this year and are thinking about starting in the garden, check out the gardening section of her blog.
Favorite 2016 Post: Halloween Broken Pot Container Fairy Garden
Author: Linda Ly
No, Linda’s name isn’t Betty, but she’s an outdoor enthusiast and adrenaline junkie who spends her weekends surfing, snowboarding, skiing, camping, kayaking, backpacking … and anything that lets her play outside.
If you’re a young person who enjoys eating healthy and playing outside, or anyone looking to be inspired by Linda’s spontaneity, then give her blog a few minutes of your time.
Favorite 2016 Post: Common Gardening Mistakes and What I’ve Learned From Them
Author: Christy Wilhelmi
Gardenerd.com is for people who have a healthy sense of humor about their obsession with organic gardening, and who have a thirst for knowledge.
And whether you’re a novice or a garden-nerd veteran, you should definitely give Chris’ blog a look.
The blog is chock-full of fun writing, inspiring garden recipes, and great gardening tips and tricks.
Favorite 2016 Post: Honey Tasting Tips
Author: Glenda Embree
Glenda writes for the true heroes: busy wives and busy moms.
Whether you’re looking for recipes, easy-to-follow DIY tutorials, home and garden advice, or family- related stories, there’s a little something for everyone.
Favorite 2016 Post: How to Sharpen Garden Tools
May Dreams Gardens
Author: Carol Michel
Carol is a poetic writer with a tight-knit community.
Her award-winning blog, May Dreams Gardens, is her way of expressing her love for gardening and writing.
Read her blog for inspirational posts about gardening.
Favorite 2016 Post: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – December 2016
Get Busy Gardening
Author: Amy Andrychowicz
Amy writes for the novice gardener who’s on a budget.
She believes that gardening is a lifelong learning experience and that nobody’s simply born with a green thumb.
Read her blog for scrappy gardening techniques that will get your garden up to speed without busting open your piggy bank.
Favorite 2016 Post:
Author: Melissa Caughey
Whether it’s garden vegetables, chickens or bees, Melissa is truly a go-to expert.
Her blog is fun to read and pleasant to the eye. She also has plenty of DIY projects to follow along with.
Did I mention that she has a background in medicine? She is currently a nurse practitioner, making her perspectives on gardening and animal care quite unique.
Favorite 2016 Post: Succulent Tea Party Tablescape
Gardening with Confidence
Author: Helen Yoest
Helen’s award-winning blog is about pollinators, plants, soil and design, and how others use these to create their gardens at home.
She’s certainly been busy, too.
Check her blog out for personal creativity ideas and a library of helpful information for gardening.
Favorite 2016 Post: #Foraging in Cute Shoes: Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum
Growing with Plants
Author: Matt Mattus
Matt loves plants.
Matt also loves traveling the world while also living in the same house that his grandparents built back in 1910.
Matt also loves life. So go now and check out his blog. It’s one of the most refreshing pieces of work we’ve seen on the internet!
Favorite 2016 Post: The Cure for Epimedium Deficit Disorder – Garden Vision Epimediums
Eden Makers Blog
Author: Shirley Bovshow
Shirley’s blog is the story of a stay-at-home mom who turned into a TV landscape designer.
She does garden makeovers and is a gardening expert.
Her blog is an excellent resource for anybody who gets excited about gardening and design.
Favorite 2016 Post: Instant Indoor Hanging Planter: Lightweight
Garden Walk Garden Talk
Author: Donna Brok
It’s full of wonderful photography and definitely worth perusing at length.
Favorite 2016 Post: Color My World White Please
Love Your Garden
Author: Garden & Homes Direct Editorial Team
This blog has elegant photography and typography.
It also has a plethora of useful information for avid gardeners. I encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so to check it out.
Favorite 2016 Post: Why Young People Haven’t Lost Interest In Gardening
Author: Teresa O’Connor
Teresa is a gardening all-star.
Teresa is a Master Gardener whose work can be found not only on her blog but all over the internet. She also has a podcast with Jayme Jenkins of aHaModernLiving.com called Nest in Style.
I encourage you to read her blog and for those of you who are always on the go, listen to her podcast!
Favorite 2016 Post: The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion
Home Garden Joy
Author: Jeanne Grunert
Jeanne launched Home Garden Joy in 2007 as a way to chronicle her transition from “stressed-out New York City marketing executive to work from home hobby farmer.”
This blog is a treasure trove of information about all kinds of vegetables, fruits, herbs, recipes, and gardening tricks of the trade.
It’s definitely worth repeated reads!
Favorite 2016 Post: Fall Lawn Care Tips: Keep Kids and Pets Safe
The Middle Sized Garden
Author: Alexandra Campbell
Alexandra is the jane-of-all-trades gardening blogger. She’s an author, journalist and blogger who also coaches other writers.
Did we mention that she loves gardening?
This blog is for anyone who has a garden that’s bigger than a courtyard but smaller than an acre.
Favorite 2016 Post: 10 creative ways to improve your winter garden
Community and School Gardening in Georgia
Author: Becky Griffin
This gardening blog is put together by Becky Griffin, UGA Extension community and school garden coordinator.
It’s geared toward helping community and school gardeners use research-based resources for anything and everything in the garden.
School’s typically the best place to learn. I recommend checking this blog out if you’re seeking a new one to follow.
Favorite 2016 Post: The Truth About Organic Gardening
Plant Whatever Brings You Joy
Author: Kathryn Hall
Kathryn Hall is an internationally known publicist, a passionate gardener, a devoted mother, a keen nature observer and an animal lover
Her blog is very humble and full of great stories.
I highly recommend all of her writing.
Favorite 2016 Post: Know and Include a Wide Variety of Species in Your Garden
The Unconventional Gardener
Author: Emma Cooper
Emma has written a few books. She’s a practicing ethnobotanist and loves both edible and useful plants.
Her blog is extremely well-written, and I imagine that her books are as well.
Check out her blog for all sorts of useful information that you might not have known or a new spin on common info.
Favorite 2016 Post: When Plants Attack: Glassing grass
AZ Plant Lady
Author: Noelle Johnson
If you’re a struggling desert gardener, then you need to head Noelle’s way immediately.
She knows almost everything there is to know about dry-climate gardening and can help turn your garden desert into a garden oasis.
Oh, and she also has a few qualifications such as horticulturist, landscape consultant and certified arborist.
Favorite 2016 Post: BEAUTIFUL SUCCULENTS, A WILD ANIMAL ENCOUNTER, AND A SPECIAL STORY
The Impatient Gardener
Author: Erin Schanen
Erin is a tell-it-like-it-is writer who holds nothing back.
She lives in southeastern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan (zone 5b), where she spends her time gardening and, ever since 2009, blogging about it to help others.
The Cottage DIY section in her blog (although not really gardening) was fun to read and sparked many ideas of my own. I hope you find the same kind of inspiration when you read this blog.
Favorite 2016 Post: How to Find the Right Container
Author: Jessica Wood
Read rusty duck for an amazing story of adventure and inner peace.
I really don’t want to ruin any of the surprises that Jessica has for you.
So, hurry up. Go. Read. It. Now.
Favorite 2016 Post: Potty
Real Men Sow
Author: Jono Stevens
Jono started his plot in 2007 with his “gardening-mad mum,” Jan. He now has an award-winning blog and is a successful gardening entrepreneur.
If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy gardening budget, then Real Men Sow is the resource you need.
Namely, the GYO Money Saving Spreadsheet that he made for free!
Favorite 2016 Post: 6 Things I’ve Learnt From Growing Vegetables in a Small Space
The Anxious Gardener
Author: David Marsden
David is a stellar photographer.
So stellar that he had to write a blog post reminding everybody not to steal his hard work.
So don’t do that BUT do go enjoy some awesome environmental photography and his helpful gardening tips.
Favorite 2016 Post: Strimming A Wasp Nest
Author: Fantastic Gardeners Team
Fantastic Gardeners is part of Fantastic Services.
These are gardening, lawn care and landscaping professionals who share a bunch of their knowledge with on the company’s blog.
Favorite 2016 Post: 7 Hot Garden Trends to Sync with Nature
Sow and So
Authors: Laila Noort and Bridget Elahcene
It all began chasing a dream to live off the land and pursue a sustainable way of life.
Now, Laila and Bridget have combined forces to share their stories and inspire others to pursue their chosen lifestyle.
If going off the grid has always been a dream of yours then, this is the blog that you’re going to want to read.
Favorite 2016 Post: Edyn: Put Your Watering on Auto Pilot
The World’s Best Gardening Blog
Author: Amy Campion
Amy has 16 years of plant nursery experience under belt and is now sharing it with the world.
She mostly writes about phenology (bloom times and other seasonal events in the garden), garden photography, fall color, under-appreciated plants, winter plants and vegetable gardening.
Favorite 2016 Post: Summer Drought 2016 Winners and Losers
The Small Town Gardener
Author: Marianne Willburn
Marianne is a self-taught gardener who really knows the trade.
Her writing is eloquent. You can actually hear her voice as you read, which is a trait that many of us aspire to.
Her blog is a humble one that is constantly updated with fresh content. There’s much to learn from someone so patient and passionate.
Favorite 2016 Post: The Price of Greenery is Eternal Vigilance
The Wealthy Earth
Author: Jim Teahan
This blog’s central theme is square-foot gardening. It’s an extremely efficient way to get the most out of your gardening and an easy to way to organize your plot.
Never heard of it?
Go read The Wealthy Earth now to see what it’s all about.
Favorite 2016 Post: For those who have no room for a garden-grow bags!
Miss Smarty Plants
Author: Keri Byrum
First of all, we’re huge fans of the name.
Keri certainly lives up to name, offering hundreds of articles about anything from growing your own edibles in the garden to fun DIY projects that you can start immediately.
Favorite 2016 Post: Brian Plots and Pot Heads…
The Sunday Gardener
Author: Carol Bartlett
Yet another treasure trove of information for garden and outdoor enthusiasts.
Carol does a great job of writing from personal experience and makes it easy to share her awesome photography.
Another humble blog that’s refreshing to read.
Favorite 2016 Post: The Beauty of Bodnant Garden in Wales
Gaia’s Organic Gardens Blog
Author: Carla Weir
Carla has a good heart and believes that her purpose on this planet is to nurture people through their gardens.
She’s also a businesswoman who has put everything into Gaia’s Organic Gardens.
Head over to the company’s blog to read Carla’s quirky gardening posts and find out more about her.
Favorite 2016 Post: 101 Edible Flowers
The Patient Gardener
Author: Helen Johnstone
Helen is a dedicated gardener from Malvern, Worcestershire, UK who enjoys a challenge. Maybe it’s just her competitive nature.
Her writing is concise and easy to follow.
Since she updates her blog about every other day, there’s always something new to read. Head her way for amazing photography and masterful writing.
Favorite 2016 Post: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Christian Science Monitor
Author: CSM Editorial Team
The Monitor’s staff also takes the time to share tips and tricks with the online gardening community. The blog is full of how-to’s and informative posts for gardening beginners and even the most skilled hobbyists.
Favorite 2016 Post: How to conquer the catalog invasion
High Altitude Gardening
Author: Kate Miller
Trying to grow veggies in the mountains?
Kate’s got your back. She’s a master gardener and freelance writer who loves riding her horse, Ms. Sable.
Cheers to another great year filled with adventure, Kate! Thank you for writing on a subject that few attempt to even try.
Favorite 2016 Post: Hope, Fears and a Non Gardening Year
A Garden For All
Author: Kathy Diemer
Kathy is a self-taught gardener who encourages amateurs to get their hands dirty.
She supports her local nurseries and farmers and only uses organic fertilizers.
Because of the utter conviction that her words possess, reading through her blog might actually inspire you to model some of your practices after her.
Favorite 2016 Post: Garden of Lights
Here are some more amazing gardening bloggers that you should check out!
- MIGardener – MIGardener is your one-stop-shop for all of your gardening needs. Their site is rich with information to get started in the garden and also have an online store where you can purchase any necessary seeds, fertilizer, supplies, grow guides, and much more!
- The Dirt Diaries – The Dirt Diaries is authored by Lynn Hunt, a North Carolina gardener who is also The Rose Whisperer, part of the Diggin’ It gang on The Christian Science Monitor’s website. She’s a superb writer and in our humble opinion, a huge reason Diggin’ It has gained the popularity that it has.
- The Garden Diaries – Claire Jones has had a trowel in hand since she was four years old and is sharing her wisdom online. She writes about everything from beekeeping to garden design and is a highly esteemed in the gardening community.
Editor’s note: Thank you to all the members of the gardening community. We appreciate the hard work that you do and please keep it going as we enter the new year. If you have any feedback for us, we’d love to hear from you. Please reach out to us.