what you fancied: 2011’s top 11 stories

man overboard

CAN YOU GUESS what the top 11 new stories of 2011 were on A Way to Garden? As was the case last year, not even one featured the increasingly cushy life of Jack the Demon Cat, now operating under the assumed name Jack the Mama’s Boy–and just completing his first full year of nonstop sleepovers and on-demand feeding courtesy of his personal valet. Speaking of eating, a lot of this year’s top posts involved garden-fresh ingredients. Here’s what else:

1. Farm-Fresh Peaches, Frozen to Perfection

Packing a harvest of summer’s juiciest flavor for the long haul: a how-to.

2. Slideshow: 54 Top Shade Plants

The older the garden gets, the more shade (and shade plants) I have. Some beauties.

3. Canning-Jar Giveaway and Produce-Stashing Tips

Wherein I confess my newfound love for Weck jars…and share all the links on how to stash what.

4. Instant Water Gardens: Try Seasonal Troughs

No other feature here gets more attention than the two big pots I drag out and fill with water and floating plants each year.

5. Great Shrub: Bottlebrush Buckeye

One of my oldest, and certainly my largest, shrubs, a joy in several seasons.

6. Recipe: Baking Up Some Heirloom Beans

I baked this staple of my menu on the “Martha” TV show, and you gave them a big thumb’s up. They freeze well, too.

7. Garden Gates in Trash-to-Treasure Style

I finally cleaned the barn in 2011, and recycled some long-lost bits and bobs into garden decor.

8. Cucumber-Growing Q&A, and the Best Pickles Ever

Sick of wilts and beetles, I’d skipped cukes for a few years, but I studied up and had a great crop.

9. 5 Things You Must Read While I Savage My Garden

One of my periodic links posts, timed to distract you from the mess I have to make after spring stuff gets a stiff haircut here.

10. Giveaway: I Hate to Water, But Met a Hose to Love

I’m not much for newfangled garden gear, but this lightweight hose is one notable exception.

11. Garlic Scapes: Out of the Garden, Onto the Menu

Delicious ways to serve up the bonus that hardneck garlic–the only kind I grow–serves up to me midseason.

A note about things I didn’t include: the monthly garden chores (always a big hit), or posts from previous years that are still top-performing thanks to Google search (like my refrigerator-pickle recipe, truly the little engine that could). All the big green headline links below are 2011 vintage, and apparently met with your approval. Thanks for your visits and encouragement this year, as ever.

Extra: By comparison, here’s the 2010 top-story list.

  1. Johanna says:

    Mmm, farm fresh peaches! Not surprised to see them at the top of the list! It’s a good cross-section of topics, I think. You continue to curate one of the most useful and interesting garden blogs going, Margaret! Thanks, as ever, and Happy New Year!

  2. Margaret K. says:

    Thanks for your wonderful blog Margaret! Personally, I would have chosen a Jack related post, but that’s me! I also really love your podcasts…I wouldn’t mind you doing them every day! ;-) Happy New Year!!!

  3. I remember those posts. Good info and discussion with each one.
    I loved using the garden hose I won last summer. It was perfect for carrying around to hand water containers and fill the aqua cones by the veggies. It is safely tucked away in the garage to use again next year. Thank you!
    Looking forward to more great posts in 2012!

  4. Judy says:

    Yes, the tomato food stories from last (2010) summer are still some of my favorites as I defrosted the lazy woman’s tomato sauce, added a can of artichoke hearts and took it to a Christmas party potluck.

  5. Daisy Marshall says:

    What a great picture of Jack. My boy had some necessary surgery a month ago due to persistent kidney stones, doing very well thank God, he’s just as yellow as Jack is black. I’m so happy to hear about your new book and the last one available in paper back soon, want to give several as gifts throughout the year. So good to start the year reading your blog Margaret, and looking forward to all the good stuff!For the millionth time, thank you! D. Marshall

  6. Nadine says:

    Jack has incredible eyes and colors, I’d love to meet him in person! So serious, so mysterious, beats my own cat for sure!
    Happy New Year to Jack and his Mama who is under his good care.

  7. bavaria says:

    Jack looks regal, wild, and handsome. I think the saying is true…” Dogs have masters, cats have staff”! Keep up the great valet work!

  8. Jean | Delightful Repast says:

    Jack is a cat who would be sure to steal my heart, were my heart not already set on the darling Lionel over at the blog Cranberry Morning! A cat is THE most vital part of any garden!

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