Garden Blog Pioneers, Part 8

– Posted in: About this site, Blogging Art and Practice, Garden Blog Pioneers, Mailbag, Recommended Links, Series

This is the eighth 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.

8. What advice would you give a gardener starting a blog today?

  • [TG:]”Get yourself a good digital camera, take lots of pictures of your landscape and sign up for a Flickr account. Make contact with some of the better-known garden bloggers and ask to exchange links with them. Contribute to GardenWeb discussions. Get your name out there, if your objective is to be recognized. Most of all, try to keep your blog current. There’s not much point in having a gardening blog if you don’t keep it up.”
  • [MSS:] “Focus and be specific.

    Also, don’t be constrained by the medium of blogging. It’s just technology; it doesn’t presuppose a format. You can use a blog to write anything just like people used typewriters to write anything. Blogs do not have to be journals (that is, sequential). They can be topical.

    Gardening is a cyclical activity and I see little of that reflected in most blogs. How does this spring connect to last spring? What’s the history of the plants in your garden. What did a plant look like when you bought it? How did it grow? How did it die?

    Most importantly, write the book that hasn’t been written yet. Write what you want to read.”

  • [EBD:] “Have fun!”
  • [IL:] “Get a good program and host that you are comfortable with . . . blog often, and figure out what you want from it for yourself… basically that is where we all start, and it branches off from there. (Ever notice how gardening is particularly given to puns?) -and that I would love to read your online garden journal. And we could use more memes. So if any garden bloggers are adept at that type of thing, get it going, because those can be a lot of fun and the ones on books, etc. are now overdone. And garden jokes. I think I have only one garden joke that I collected. I’d love more.”
  • [DW:] “Just do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You will gain friends and acquaintances all over the world who will be interested not only in your garden but also you as a person. You can gain a support structure to help you when the going gets rough and also someone to share your delight with when everything is going right.”
  • [JZ:] “Be comfortable. It’s easy to start. When you get to the point where you realize that a crowd of total strangers is reading your words and wisdom – don’t let the panic stop you. Take a break if you need it. Hit the garden, do some weeding. The inspiration for your next post will come and you will have it up and online before you know it. “
  • [KP:] “Your blog is a tool to help you accomplish your goals, whether that is to chronicle bloom times or seed crosses, or just swap notes with like-minded gardeners. Don’t be intimidated by so-called rules about how often you should blog, how many photos you should have, or who you should link to.”

9. What question(s) did I neglect to ask, that you would like someone to answer?

  • [PO:] “What keeps you going? What causes so many blogs to glow white-hot for while and then implode? “

If you can answer this question, please do so in the comments.

Click here for Part 9, the final part in this series.

The Respondents

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~Albert Camus in Albert Camus quotations

Comments on this entry are closed.

bill September 5, 2006, 11:10 pm

Wasn’t there some kind of plug-in that did precisely what Cyndy wants. It may have been for M.T. though. I seem to recall seeing some blogs that were using it, but this was a long time ago. I don’t see it at the Six Apart plug-in directory.

cyndy September 4, 2006, 5:08 pm

Thanks for the suggestions! I was thinking along the lines of “what was happening on this day a year ago”. The blogger template that I use will allow for an archive, but I was hoping to have something that would show on the main page, so I would not always have to go digging for things.

bill September 3, 2006, 7:09 pm

There is also something called WebCalendar which can be customized to match your blog template

Rundy September 3, 2006, 4:45 pm

Not exactly sure what you mean by “incorporate.” Obviously a blog itself can act somewhat like a calendar. On the other hand Google Calendar is an online calendar:

Kathy Purdy September 3, 2006, 1:49 pm

If you want to incorporate it into your blog, I think the answer must be blog-specific. In other words, the answer will be different for a Blogger blog than for a WordPress blog. I think what you want is a cyclical journal similar to what M Sinclair Stevens has at Zanthan Gardens. She divided the year into weeks, and has an entry for each week, to which she adds new information each year.

I am asking the household experts here in Purdyville, and if they come up with anything they will post a comment. If there is anyone else “out there” who has a possible solution for Cyndy, please speak up. By the way, phenology means keeping track of things like when you see the first robin, crocus, etc. each year, as a way of knowing when to do certain garden chores.

cyndy September 3, 2006, 10:40 am

Do any of you know of a good way to incorporate a calendar into a blog??….I am interested specifically in finding a good way to keep track of different things through out the year, for pheneology events. Sadly, sigh, I do not have very good computer skills, and would be interested in ideas as to where to start.