Spy Garden was planted in 2010—and, boy, has it grown! We needed a name for our garden when we entered a national heirloom gardening contest on (the now defunct) yourgardenshow.com. My young son came up with the name “Spy Garden” because he planned to “spy” through the tall plants. The name has been quite apt as we are always “spying” and discovering interesting blossoms, plants, and animals in the garden, yard, and community. It’s fun how every plant has a unique history, and by gardening you are adding to the story! Click here to see Spy Garden featured in St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles Magazine!
Welcome to Spy Garden!
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. Genesis 1:11
Spy Garden is located in Missouri (near St. Louis)
It’s a good word, especially enjoyable when said with a Canadian accent.
Perhaps an ABOUT page should be the most fantastic thing written on your site, as it is likely the most read thing on your site. The best thing I’ve ever written was probably Black Walnut Ink. Probably only 3% of the people who’ve ever visited Spy Garden have read it. So what to do?
How about something like this:
My garden’s so big it got it’s own website. He likes Thin Lizzie, white paper and blank canvases, syntax, obscure references and PJ O’Rourke. He also likes earthwork art, because he IS earthwork art and he’s a real egotist.
Because I think that is funny and ridiculous. But really our garden’s not that big. And when I think of my garden as an anthropomorphic figure, its not necessarily human. Maybe more like a robot alien.
Indeed, it was once shaped like the Transformers logo:
Our garden is simply “the garden”. We don’t actually call it “Spy Garden” in real life. Spy Garden is the website our garden would create if it had opposable thumbs and was able to get up and go explore the world from time to time.
So what to convey?
I don’t want it to be a list of my likes. But for fun I took a minute to think of some things I like and here they are:
Organically growing unusual heirloom varieties of vegetables, Thin Lizzy, white cardstock paper, painting, art, lemons, crisply focused photos, baseball, dirt, St. Louis, PJ O’Rourke, obscure references, punchlines, doing nothing (i.e. staring at the garden), jean shirts
Spy Garden is all about learning new things, investigating the unknown. Taking a closer look at things. Lots of things. So I don’t want to list any “likes” because I don’t want to prioritize liking one thing over another.
For all of those things I just named, here are their doppelgangers, which I like just as well:
Tulips, Queen, blank canvases, drawing, sculpture, limes, blurry photos, yoga, rocks, Maine, Carl Hiassen, Brittany Spears (I’m using her here as the opposite of “obscure references” and because she was the only person of “popular culture” I could think of that I’ve ever written about (here), doing things (i.e. painting/cooking/writing), jeans
Unique plants, funny things kids write, nontraditional sculpture mediums (i.e. dirt), “great” art, “bad” art, music: they may all be subjects for posts, but the Spy Garden mission is not about plants or art or food or objects at all.
The Spy Garden perspective is meant to be child-like in a sponge-for-knowledge sort of way. The thirst to learn new things or see things you already know about in a new perspective, when done well, induces the reader to reflect far beyond whatever topic is being discussed.
Spy Garden is always PG and is meant to be enjoyed by children and exceedingly immature adults. Immaturity here not referring to irresponsibility or crudeness. But immaturity as silliness, inexperience (because isn’t every moment we live “new”?!) and being “green” (literally and figuratively).
I think my motives behind my somewhat vague ABOUT blurb was that if I couldn’t have The World’s Best About Page Ever, than I could just make a really vague one and hope to pique interest with a little mystery. But just because something is vague doesn’t mean it is mysterious.
We planted Spy Garden in 2010 and boy, has it grown!
This is not exactly evoking a secret world of inspiration and silliness.
We entered a gardening contest on a social media gardening site (www.yourgardenshow.com) and we needed to have a name for the garden to sign up. Our son came up with the name “Spy Garden” because he planned to “spy” through the tall plants.
This is true and totally necessary to explain the name of “Spy Garden”.
I never really planned to call him “The Spy” on this site, but it just sort of turned out that way. I think someone commented like “the Spy looks like he’s having fun throwing tomatoes” or something like that. So I didn’t name him “the Spy” in blog-world. Blog world named him. Or maybe the garden named him. Remember, is an egotistical garden, so that would make sense.
And Baby…Is no longer a baby, but I think I called her that once (and in real life a lot of times we do still refer to her as “the baby”) and it has stuck in blog-world. One reader once called her Babyzilla and that is totally perfect sometimes (like when she is ripping plants out of the garden). Ok, pretty much all the time it is a perfect blog-world name for her but “baby” has less letters so we can think of it as the nickname for Babyzilla.
And Smoochie, do I need to mention him in the About page? The Spy Garden Builder of Structures. Mower of Grass. The Lumberjack Lifecoach. Dashing Father of the Spy and Baby. Hilarious Husband. And myself? I mean, I’m writing this thing but I like my secret identity. I do call attention to myself. Especially during a “I’m writing 100 posts in 100 days” deal where I grappled with deep issues, such as how to improve our ABOUT page. Or when I wrote about becoming a nurse. I sneak in an occasional picture, but I am more attracted to the idea of the Voice of Spy Garden. I don’t want it to be about me. I want the voice to be larger than myself, one that combines the perspective of Smoochie and The Spy and Baby and (of course) that boisterous Garden of ours AND the voices of readers.
I want the ABOUT page to be about the readers. To convey that I actually don’t know too much at all about gardening, but I’m just doing it because I like it. I am not an expert on art, literature or parenting. Well actually, in the book Outliers, it says (with good proof) that if you do something for 10,000 hours you are an expert, so that does make me an expert in parenting, but nothing will annoy (or perhaps enrage) people more than saying, “I am a parenting expert.” HAHAHAhaha
Spy Garden (the narcissistic robot with opposable thumbs) is never afraid to make claims about being an expert on something, so maybe the GARDEN is the parenting expert? Basically gardening as a pastime IS the key to some awesome parenting because there are about 57,997 lessons adults and kids learn together in a garden.
I want to say that I write about gardening, cooking, art and literature and enjoy obscure cultural references. HOWEVER, I want to make it clear that…
If at any time I appear to be conveying grace, wisdom or sophistication, I assure you the content of this blog is 97% satirical in nature (ESPECIALLY discussions of art, fashion and obscure cultural references) and I usually have no idea what I am doing and make everything up as I go along and do not mean to posit that I am graceful, wise or sophisticated at any time.
I want to convey total and absolutely humility. I am not special. I am just a regular-normal-person who just likes to dabble in a bunch of random activities, and you can do these activities along with Spy Garden and if you mess up and take a blurry picture or burn a loaf of bread or baby destroys all your marigolds, it’s ok. In the name of glorious thirsty-sponge learning, it’s never for naught. You can do it. “It” not necessarily being gardening, but whatever “it” is important to each individual reader.
I want to convey that I DEEPLY appreciate the simple pleasures of life. A glass of water. A fresh lemon. A blue sky or a gray one. For example, today, I stood on top of our picnic table and I was surveying the garden and I made some sort of grand gesture with my arms and said “MY DOMAIN” nodding over the view as the ruler of a vast province. HHAhah So I was being silly and ridiculous but also deeply appreciating the fact that I had just raked the perimeter of the garden (under the deer fence).
A simple, glorious thing!
And it was 70 degrees, breezy and beautiful and the sky was crisply blue and even though it was so warm it was utterly December and you could hear snow coming (tomorrow!) in the wind.
And then I gagged because I was getting way too poetic and got focused back on thinking of one-liners and things that are funny and hopped off the picnic table back down to earth and went inside to another domain (ruled by Babyzilla).
SILLY and RIDICULOUS. Those are aims for this blog. But also educational.
I haven’t even covered my reasons why I’ve chosen anonymity. And I can’t say the word anonymity without having to say it in a silly way like AN anom aNIN ity. And then I’m sidetracked and realizing I covered a lot of “ABOUT” content in a really good post I wrote called “Clouds in My Coffee” so should I just post that whole thing in the About page along with all of it??? Oh and jeez, I haven’t even touched on Spy Garden’s beliefs. We believe in the Bible and in Jesus and attend a Lutheran Church, which really charts the whole course and should probably come first in the ABOUT page, not last. And I’m already 1700 words in and is that WAY too long for an ABOUT page?