Cold Climate Gardening: Looking Ahead to a New Year

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snow couple happy new year text

Wishing all my readers a very happy new year!


Last August, to mark eleven years of blogging, I asked you to take a survey indicating what you liked to read on this website. Forty-six of you took the time to respond, and for that I thank you. You are a small fraction of those who subscribe by email or feed reader so although I don’t know your names, I know you are loyal friends. As I look ahead to a new year, I thought I’d share the results with you all.

What types of blog articles would you like to read on Cold Climate Gardening?

This was the first question, and everyone answered it. They could pick as many items as they wished. The top five choices were:

  1. Native and invasive plants (72%)
  2. Plant profiles(65%)
  3. Garden design tips(61%)
  4. Tutorials (how-to)(54%)
  5. Vegetable gardening(52%)


chickadee at bird feeder

More bird-garden intereactions was one of the write-in topic requests.

After that, the responses dropped off quickly. Product reviews, the next highest item, only got 36% of the votes. I provided a write-in option because I get frustrated with surveys that never seem to have the response I want to give, or the choices are vague enough that I’m not sure they’re what I want to pick. Eleven people wrote in. I am going to paraphrase here, but some of the responses were basics for beginners, herbs, bird and garden interactions, amending soil, more focus on my particular garden and gardening decisions, ideas for making the garden look pretty, extending the garden season, overwintering container plants, fruit bearing plants, growing edibles indoors in winter. Do any of those resonate with you?

What was your favorite blog post on Cold Climate Gardening published within the last 12 months?

This question was optional and seventeen people (37%) answered it. Six people mentioned the front walk project. My boys will be glad to hear that.

To level a stone in the walk, first you must remove it.

The front walk project was a favorite with survey respondents.

Other answers were: crocuses in the lawn, Wednesday flower bouquets, mud season series, native plants, the one on Franklin, NY, the walk up the stream, the review of Debra Prinzing’s book, and pictures of the plants/snowdrops and other flowers. One person wrote “Your relocation posts were very informative and enjoyable. I would not have thought it possible to move so many plants a drastic distance. Enjoy seeing you catalog the new yard as it develops.” I just want to say that I have moved quite a lot of plants, but the distance was not that drastic, a bit under sixteen miles. And I moved them over the course of two years, making weekly trips during the gardening season.

If you have been reading Cold Climate Gardening for more than 12 months, what was your favorite blog post since you began reading this blog?

This was the final question, also optional. Ten people responded. Two mentioned the new garden at the new house articles, two said hard to pick just one, one mentioned colchicums, one mentioned the river of snowdrops, pictures of pathways and flowers blooming, Franklin, NY (again), and finally, “I don’t have a favorite but your blog frequently pops up as an answer to my google questions – great!” Yes, I do get a lot of visitors from search engines.

Snowdrops in the Secret Garden

My tutorial on dividing snowdrops to create a river inspired at least one reader to do the same. Photo by Rundy Purdy

My Takeaway

My general sense is that you readers like to get inside my head, that is, you enjoy the posts where I show what I was thinking while I was working on a project. And a lot of you like to learn about plants, native or otherwise. But only seven out of forty-six said they liked giveaways, which surprised me a little.

The Most Popular Posts of 2013

The survey told me what you think you want to read, but WordPress created a report that told me what you actually read. The most visited posts of 2013 were:

  1. Endless Summer and Forever and Ever Hydrangeas: Growing Tips for Cold Climates
  2. ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea: Does it live up to the hype?
  3. Goldenrod: This native plant should be kept out of the garden
  4. Native Plants – Upstate NY
  5. Summer Squash
  6. What’s the Difference Between a Frost and a Freeze?
  7. Honeyberries, the Edible Blue Honeysuckle: A Fruit for Cold Climates
  8. Garden Blog Directory
  9. Keeping rosemary alive indoors
  10. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: What You Need to Know

Forever&Ever hydrangea

Apparently I’m not the only gardener who gets frustrated by these marginally hardy hydrangeas. The top two visited posts were both about them.

These are the posts and pages that online searchers landed on the most. None of them were written in the past year. Does that mean my more recent writing is less appealing? Many of these popular older posts do fall into one of the top five categories from the survey, however, and I think older posts have more search engine pull. Only time will tell.

In The Coming Year

In the coming year I hope to get through the rest of the established garden beds, showing you before and after photos and my thought process as I created or modified them. I will continue to feature native plants and plants that are doing particularly well in my garden. And I will try to write more about vegetables, but I am not the one growing them here. I will have to pick the brains of the vegetable gardeners in the family. I’ll try to tone it down on the giveaways, unless it’s something really, really special. I wish all of my readers happiness in their gardening efforts this year. Remember, if it’s not fun, don’t do it!

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.

10 Comments… add one

Gail January 9, 2014, 9:54 am

I enjoy your wildflower posts, it’s fun to see how many (quit a few in fact) wildflowers we share in common.

commonweeder January 7, 2014, 9:40 am

Kathy, I could never pick a ‘favorite’ post. All of yours are illuminating and inspiring. I do like getting into your head as you explain your thought processes and I think that is really helpful, because it shows us all the different ways to look at a problem, benefits and downsides. You are one of the first blogs I found when I started 6 years ago – and were so helpful to me. It was a happy day I found the Cold Climate Gardening.

Kathy Purdy January 7, 2014, 11:06 am

Thank you for your kind words, Pat.

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern January 5, 2014, 1:41 pm

Happy New Year! Love that River of Snowdrops – you have inspired yet another gardener. I also love how your front walkway came together. I can’t wait to complete one from our new back porch to our garage/workshop – I’ll return to your post for some pointers.

Kathy Purdy January 7, 2014, 11:06 am

As a cold climate gardener you will never regret having more snowdrops.

Joene January 4, 2014, 1:12 pm

Happy New Year, Kathy. I enjoy reading all your posts.

debra January 3, 2014, 12:21 pm

Congratulations on 11 years of garden blogging, Kathy! You are a constant, and an inspiration to so many! Here’s to a flourishing 2014~

les January 2, 2014, 7:14 pm

Happy new year to you, Kathy. Like Anne, I enjoy the before and afters, but I also like seeing how others garden in a different environment from my own, offering a little perspective in the process.

Anne January 2, 2014, 2:50 pm

Hi! Happy New Year! It’s minus 10 degrees here right now, so I’m glad we have lots of snow and ice to keep the plants “warm”. I just want to say thanks for your blogging, and wish you a happy new year! I especially love your posts with “before, during and after” pictures and descriptions of projects. I also like your book reviews–I often end up finding the books you review.
Anne

Kathy Purdy January 2, 2014, 3:08 pm

Thank you, Anne. I’m especially glad to hear you like the book reviews, as I write a lot of them in the winter.

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