I envy new gardeners, just starting out.  There is so much information available to new gardeners, via the internet.  Have a question?  Want an opinion?  Want a reference?  Want a list of places that sell clematis?  Want a stone supplier?  Need a landscape designer?  Need a garden center near you that sells trees?  mulch?  potting soil?  Orchids?  Have a question?  Write that question in the search line, and be prepared to have to edit the flood of answers.



Have a vision?  Search Google images for a face to put to that vision. has no end of pictures of landscape design projects.  I rather admire how easy and satisfying a resource they are.  Pinterest?  If you are a visual person, there is more there to see than you could ever possibly absorb.  The internet is the equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica,  times many millions.  If you have a question, there is probably someone taking a stab at it out there.  If you have a tricky question, you will find opinions galore out there.


Such was not so, when I was in my twenties.  I had a handful of gardening catalogs that I read over and over again.  I had access to a local  library.  The Dewey decimal system-are you too young to know about that?  Never mind-it was a colossal bore.  I did the best I could without much counsel, and took my lumps.  I learned by doing.  What didn’t work out led me to the next step. I have a distinct memory of moving one clematis 5 times before it was happy.


The Encyclopedia Britannica was better on the subject of World War II, than the successful cultivation of  Dutchman’s Breeches, or columbines.  How I wanted to grow columbines.  My failure to keep them going-routine and boring.  I killed an embarrassing number of plants before I caught on.  I had a few friends-most of them were close by.  Nurseries and garden centers were one of the best sources of information.  Today I have gardening friends whom I have never met face to face.  Worlds away.  A sympathetic gardener in New Zealand may inform how I approach a problem in my garden. This is extraordinary.


Today you could with but a few keystrokes learn how to make an omelet,  grow tomatoes from seed, or graft a rose.  Given enough time and work, you could look over every company worldwide that sells doorknobs. You could see pictures and videos of the great gardens of the world.  You could know the temperature today in Florence Italy, or get a list of hotels in Iceland.  Just type whatever comes to mind.  How the internet is engirneered to respond to questions-astonishing.


I use the internet for research.  Those plants that tolerate black walnuts.  Great stone yards.  Deer repellants.  Great breeders of hellebores.  Contemporary garden furniture.  The cultivation of orchids, daisies and sunflowers.  Good garden benches.  The perfect vase.  How to use string.  The science behind the production of chlorophyll.  The weather-at home, in Paris, or in Madrid.  The history of the garden.  The exhibitors at this year’s Chelsea flower show.  How to select and grow great hydrangeas.   Type in your question, and read on.  French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian, Dutch, Mexican, Scottish, Icelandic, American, Icelandic, British, Polish, German-gardens all around the world.  Though I would never give up my books, I can get help with a question in seconds.


Why am I writing about this?  An image of a hedge of Limelight hydrangeas I posted on Pinterest has prompted a flood of questions.  As to where one could purchase Limelights in northern Texas-I am not the right person to ask. A local nursery or garden center will have the answer to this. As to whether Limelights will prosper in dry shade, I could only answer for my zone.  But I am willing to bet there is a resource out there with all kinds of information about growing hydrangeas in Texas-and any place else, for that matter.


  1. You are so right on. The internet is miraculous. Recently I have learned how to sew. Nobody taught me and I did not take a class. I did get a few books from the library, but mostly I have been learning through YouTube videos and crafting websites — amazing what is out there!

  2. Amy Naylor says

    So true! I am one of those “new gardeners” who regularly uses the internet to research for my garden. That’s how I found Dirt Simple! I can’t wait to send you pics of my new Limelight Hydrangea hedge once it’s up and blooming. I’d also like to thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm through your blog. Your love of gardening always shines through. 🙂

    Speaking of internet resources, I’m curious to know which gardening blogs you like to follow. I see a few of them pictured above in your post. Do you have any favorites or must reads?

  3. Pinterest is a crazy, sick visual source. I posted a picture on my blog of a shrub blue bottle tree. It has been re-pinned tens of thousands of times. I post lots of pictures on my blog, may better than a blue bottle tree, yet that is what gets re-pinned a zillion times. Sounds like the Limelight hedge is search-worthy!

    I hope you told the potential dry shade Limelight grower that if she is growing it in a zone any warmer than you, Its not going to like it. (Although the tardiva blood line is more drought tolerant than many hydrangea, hydra is Greek for water…

    • Deborah Silver says

      Rachelle, thanks for taking the time to write. I never connected hydrangea with hydra. The only thing I told the dry shade person waqs that she needed a resource that knew somewthing about her zone! Deborah

  4. Your blog entries on “Limelight TIme” show how sensational a hedge planting can be. I like it underplanted with the box. That’s a nice idea.

  5. You’re right Deborah! Internet is a marvellous source of informations on anything, and “meeting” people from all world wide, like you and your beautiful blog!
    I think it’s the most fantastic creation of the century!

  6. Totally agree that the Internet is amazing — like a library in my house 24-7. There is also a lot of junk out there and some of it comes from seemingly reputable sources, such as the “how to tell the sex of your pepper” post that made the rounds earlier this year. And not every blogger will say “I dunno,” as Deborah did, even when he or she does not know. Buyers have to beware even with the Internet and maybe especially with the Internet. In other matters, I ♥ Dirt Simple and look forward to every new post.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thank you for this letter! Raw information is just that-raw. No doubt you cannot believe everything you read, but if you read a lot on a subject, your chances of getting a thoughtful and satisfying answer improves.

  7. Buff Harvey says

    Just discovered your blog today via Pinterest. I will add it to my list. I have been growing Limelight hydrangeas in Monroe, LA for about 6-8 yrs. They are bulletproof! I cut them back to about 18 inches in the early spring or late winter. They leaf out in March and bloom late May. The leaves are completely clean and perfect til they fall off in November. I grow 3 plants in partial sun. Bear in mind that our sun is brutal after noontime. No pests or diseases at all here in the hot but dry humidity capital of the world! Our climate is more like east Texas than south Louisiana. Limelight is great here in Northeast La!

  8. Deborah,
    You turned me on to Limelights maybe 2 yrs ago and I’ve loved them ever since. Growing them with ease in hot & humid NC. I’ve seen your Limelight hedge swirling around Pinterest.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Sarah, That picture has made the rounds, hasn’t it? It is a beautiful and willing shrub-it gives so much, and asks so little. I am glad to hear they are doing well for you. Derborah

  9. Thanks for the shout-out, Deborah. Here’s to a good garden year.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Tom, your blog is a first, best, and treasured read. May we both have a great gardening year-yes. Thanks, Deborah

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