This is the third part in a series about the early days of garden blogging, written to commemorate my four years as a garden blogger. For those just joining us, the the names of the respondents to my email questions, and links to their respective blogs, can be found at the end of this entry. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.
3. Did your garden blog accomplish what you were hoping for? Any unexpected benefits? Any disappointments?
- [EBD:] “It has been everything I’d hoped and I’ve really enjoyed seeing the online gardening community grow. My only disappointment is that I no longer have the time to devote to either the garden or the blog. Hopefully, as the baby gets older, I’ll be able to return to both. “
- [IL:] “Oh yea. and more. I blog too much. It has taken the space of the actual gardening in my life- which has been continually disrupted by health problems and demanding family needs. I did stop blogging about the garden for awhile just because I grew so despondent over the decay of my once picture perfect gardens. But the knowledge base is still there. I do know how to make a good garden… so there is still hope. I am gaining motivation to restore my gardens… and I do think that the garden blog community has been an inspiration to that. I mean those pictures! And the descriptions of their days reminds me of what I am missing when the garden waits too long for sign of my care.”
- [PS:] “I had no particular goals – was just doing it for fun. It was definitely fun! But I was ultimately brought down, thwarted by technological incapacity.”
- [DW:] “I don’t think I entered into the blog with any real goals beyond sharing my interests with others. I mentioned some of the benefits above, but one of the largest is the column entices me to get out in the garden more. I want to have something to write about, so I need to get out there and actually do something. This is especially important when my day job, computer consulting and troubleshooting, starts to take up too much of my day.”
- [PO:] “Well, if nothing else it’s been good for me. It gives a focus to my observations and causes me to reflect on what I see and what it may mean. It’s also motivated me to learn more about Cascading Style Sheets so I can improve the look of my site. I have no illusions about how needed or wanted what I do is to anyone much beyond myself. No mobs will set fire to mulch piles should I stop writing. Disappointments? One. As I compared the written, private journal notes that I kept before I started my blog, I found that my thoughts were less censored, my writing less labored. Writing for all to see, even if few actually do, makes me set higher self-imposed standards. The writing may be better, but the spontaneity (and maybe the authenticity) is sacrificed.”
- [JZ:] “I’ve been more than happy with my little corner of the net. My biggest disappointment these days is my life keeps getting in the way of my keeping the journal updated.
I’ve been thrilled with the community of gardeners that has formed. Being able to visit sites that are posting fresh garden vistas while we are being blasted by snow and sleet was not anticipated. Having folks wave flags of friendship and encouragement has made me feel a part of the best company.”
- [MSS:] “For years I was disappointed not to find more gardeners writing about Austin. There were a couple of good websites but neither were blogs so I found it difficult to keep up a dialog. In 2006, three other Austinites started garden blogging. We’ve gotten together offline and had a fantastic time.
The unexpected benefit was communicating with gardeners all over the world. I love looking in at their gardens whether they’re in New York, or Australia, or the UK. I can enjoy their summers when I’m miserable with ours and I can share flowers in my garden in winter when theirs are snowed in.”
- [KP:] “A few people have told me how glad they were to find my website and the information it contained, so my goal of helping cold climate gardeners has been realized. In addition, I have a readership for my writing that responds more frequently and immediately than any readers of print media could. No matter how far out in the sticks I am or how high the snow is piled, I have fellow gardeners to communicate with. And even though I can’t see their eyes, I know they are not glazed over as I discuss the merits of one seed catalog over another. The sense of community, especially international community, was unexpected and highly rewarding. And yes, I love those pictures of Texas gardens all throughout the winter.”
- [TG:] “To a point, yes. I’m getting there, but because I sit at a computer all day long, the last thing I want to do over the weekend is more computer “work”. I really have to make myself do it sometimes. It’s been great to meet other gardeners, and I’ve even snagged a part-time freelance writing job because of the blog, which has been an unexpected benefit, for sure. My only disappointments are in myself, that I don’t have time to keep up the blog better. Maybe this winter…*sigh*”
- Tamara Galbraith [TG], formerly of Talking Dirty, now publishing Can You Dig It?
- M. Sinclair Stevens [MSS], longtime publisher of Zanthan Gardens.
- Paul Owoc [PO], observant chronicler of a greenZoo.
- Pam Shorey [PS], originally blogging at Outside in the Garden, and now at Rivermantic.
- Erica Bess Duncan [EBD], writing at GardenSpot.
- Ilona [IL] of Ilona’s Garden Journal.
- Doug Welch [DW], keeping A Gardener’s Notebook.
- Jennifer Zynischer [JZ], aka the Garden Djinn.
- Kathy Purdy [KP], that’s me, the principal contributor to this blog you’re reading.