This is the ninth 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. Links to previous posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.
10. Whatâ€™s next for gardeners interested in internet communication? Today, blogging. Tomorrow?
- [JZ:] “Wow. I wish I could see ahead. I’ve watched the careers of the creators of Blogger, Moveable Type, and LiveJournal all become incredibly successful from the fruits of their labor. If I knew what was coming, I’d be busy planting the seeds for the next big thing!”
- [PO:] “Let’s see. Judging from comments received on gardening/nature blogs, our readers are passive, solitary, thoughtful, introspective types. They prefer to read and watch rather than to interact. So then, I think a personally revealing, highly interactive site like Myspace for gardeners (Myplot, perhaps) would be a bust. Gardeners are more akin to anglers or the blue ribbon winners at county fairs — they like to brag about the big ones, the best ones, and to tout their successes. I think a garden blog devoted to reader submitted pictures (my biggest tomato) and “things that worked for me” along with a dollop of interesting new tools, gadgets, plant introductions al la boing-boing would be a hit.”
- [TG:] “I’d really like to see an all-inclusive site that offers gardeners everything they need to blog, post pictures, participate in forums, create a database of your own plants, find disease and pest info, design beds and plots, etc. all in one place. Davesgarden.com tries, but the journalling part of the site is really clunky.”
- [IL:] “Maybe audio sharing . . . little garden shows springing up. That’s a hard question, Kathy. Maybe we will be instrumental in cultivating some of the plant businesses that gave way to the big centers likes Lowes and Walmart. I really miss being able to find seed like ‘Reseda odorata’ in my local garden stores. Or heliotrope plants that are in flats for a decent price as in days of … my early gardening (it only seems like the Medieval times). Maybe gardeners online can make it more economically feasible and easier for small growers to plan.”
- [EBD:] “. . . dunno. Podcasting doesn’t appeal to me so even if I had the time, I wouldn’t be doing a Gardenspot podcast and I probably wouldn’t be listening to anyone else’s gardening podcast.”
- [MSS:] “Vlogging. Video blogs seem like a natural for those of us who like to watch the progression of the seasons via time lapse photography. And garden how-to’s via video blogs would be great!
The lines between self-publishing and mainstream media are becoming blurred. Syndications services, such as Blogburst, are publishing blog content in more mainstream media. And more online newspapers are encouraging their readers to write blogs. If paid publishers can access content for free, what will happen to garden writers who write for a living…or those of us who would like to go back to writing for a living?”
- [DW:] “As I mentioned earlier, I have already taken the next step with A Gardener’s Notebook. With my audio podcasts and video tours and demonstrations, I have taken my gardening interests off the written page and into the world of ‘media.’
I often describe podcasting as ‘whispering in someone’s ear’ and the thought of another gardener listening to me, as they go about their own garden work, thrills me to no end. While it is often a one-way communication, it allows me to feel that I have had visitors in my garden, even though they might never be able to visit themselves.
Photo sharing and video sharing are already adding a new element garden blogging today and it is only a matter of time before people start offering real-time video garden tours to those who live too far away to make the next Open Garden Day.”
Podcasts? Vlogs? If these words sound like Greek (or Martian) to you, come back tomorrow, when M. Sinclair Stevens and Doug Welch discuss these new ways of getting the message out in more detail.
Lost, But Not Forgotten
The following garden bloggers met the criterion of starting more than four years ago, but could not be contacted for their insights.
- Frank and Lisa Richards, first publishing Notes from Zone Four, and later of Mack Hill Farm (no working link and no pages available on the Wayback Machine.)
- Jennifer and Johnny of 13 Labs Garden
- Kurt Indermaur of Viviculture
Other Gardening Internet Pioneers
I would like to recognize the following websites, which, while not exactly blogs, have had a gardening presence on the web for more than four years:
- Moosey’s Country Garden
- The Garden of Paghat the Ratgirl
- You Grow, Girl!
- Renegade Gardener
- Soul of the Garden
- Garden Bits
Other nominations for Gardening Internet Pioneer will be accepted in the comments. Nominee must have had a gardening website before August 27, 2002 to qualify.
This concludes my nine-part series on Garden Blog Pioneers. Thank you all for visiting and adding your insights in the comments. And I’d like to thank all the pioneers who took the time to respond by email, and often had to reply to my further emails asking for clarification. Many of these bloggers have said in their own blogs that they were honored to be included. Each one of them earned it. They weren’t trying to be trailblazers; they had a need to communicate, whether to themselves or to the world, and they had the passion to learn what they needed to know to accomplish their goals. Pioneers, we salute you!
- 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.