My May Garden – Testing a Flinging Theory

End of the Month Garden in May

Trollis ‘Golden Queen’

Hey, I have been talking about how my garden has been a bit of a bore for others to see on such a regular basis. As a followup post to Is Garden Blogging Dead, I decided to test a theory that was presented during a discussion we had at the Fling event a few weeks ago.

A garden blogger in attendance did say that photographing our own gardens might be why we hit upon nothing to blog about.  Also, I feel from my own experience, it may be one reason why we can experience a drop in readership because we may be relying on repetitive postings on our own gardens.

I have thought this for a while since starting my monthly weather calendar, not because I have a drop in viewership, but because my garden, being so tiny, might be a bit boring to see over and over, month after month,  season after season. Others may not find this, but I have been seeing my posts have fewer readers where I show my own garden, compared to when I post on other topics or gardens.

Monthly traffic

This got me thinking if he might be right, so I thought to test it out during the heaviest blogging time of the year, going head to head with all those wonderful garden images from the Fling.

Oh, and don’t try figuring out the chart above, because WP changes the increments of thousands depending on the quantity of monthly traffic. It is not the lowest increment and shows the time in months that the blog was started until May 2012. It is meant to illustrate that blogging is not waning and traffic is not dropping overall.

I think because my garden is so small, that others might find it a bit over-posted. So to eat my words, I am testing the market here with an End of the Month post in which I usually don’t participate.  No sprucing up the garden, no fancy photo editing,  just some slight cropping to the photos. I didn’t even clean the soil off the sidewalks.

For comparison, here is close to the same bloom time as last year. This post has better photos too.

These photos were taken around 9 am, with a partially overcast sky. The lens on the camera was a wide-angle lens, because as I mentioned in comments, I shoot the tiny garden BIG. This lens gets in more of the scene, and being very sharp does fine on macro shots.

East Front Bed Planting

In the image from my garden above, you can see that my neighbor has removed all the very old heirloom plants that I showed you last year. It looks like Roundup was used on the 90-year-old peonies. I am a bit teary eyed.

Gone is the Weigela, Snowberry, Kerria, Spiraea, and a French Lilac. The post in the previous sentence has what the home looked like last year with all the blooms. One lilac remains, behind my Arborvitae. I see some bleeding hearts that they planted, dying in the heat without rain. Iris are also planted on the opposite side, but I am not sure of their fate. I would have cut back and refurbished these old plants. I did that to the lilac you see remaining in the photo, long before these people bought the house. It is the only remaining original plant in the yard left. Gone are the heirloom shrub roses too.

Tradescantia virginiana ‘Red Cloud’

Here is my garden shot on May 29th.  I also was saying no one would be interested in me ripping out the Carex  ‘Ice Dance’ in the front beds. Seems I was wrong, as a couple of bloggers said they would read a post like that.

Risking boring your socks off, let’s test whether or not Steve was right.

Front Garden October 2011, Carex by Sidewalk

‘Ice Dance’

Here is the reason I removed the Carex, and why I use it often on large commercial projects. Let’s start with an image of it living happily in the garden last Oct 6th., long before the big tear out.

Carex is an evergreen plant of sorts. It retains its green color through winter, and not many perennial plants can say that in our cold Niagara winters. So let’s chalk one up in the plus column.

See the green in December? This plant is unfazed, but does get browning edges from winter winds.

The images above show the Carex weeks apart from late December 2011 to mid January 2012. The boxwood suffered substantially more bronzing from wind burn due to little snow cover than did the Carex. But see how fast it grew since October? The plant is a real speed racer. This can be both a plus and a negative. A wash on this one.

You can trim off the brown tips if you like. I have even mowed the Carex and let it grow right back up, like you would do with turf grass. I don’t necessarily recommend this, it is hard on the mower and the Carex, but you can see the frustration you get with a plant that fills in so rapidly. Plus, plus, plus. Takes a beating.

Carex Removed, Replaced with Ageratum ‘Artist Blue’

I dug out the Carex because it is the fastest growing plant there is, well I am just guessing here, but it would be a thoroughbred in the racing world worth placing a bet. It looks pretty contained in the image from October 2011, and that is a key factor. The plant runs and will overtake the world if you let it. Make darn sure it cannot escape the area where you put it. Oh, a negative here. Keep that baby corralled.

I have another plant out back that does the same thing, Campsis radicans ‘flava’, Trumpet Vine. Both plants are wonderful, but require a lot of maintenance to keep them in bounds. Boo, hiss. A lot of work to control the running and reseeding too.

So Out the Carex Came

Every three years it needs to be dug up and separated into small sprigs, which rapidly grows back by the second year to fill the space. Mounds of work in a small space. Negative on that one. They are a bear to dig out too.

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot White’

My little self seeding pride and joy above is getting a little frisky also. I have so many Foxgloves starts and they generally do not like our growing conditions. These are for my friend at Experiments With Plants.

Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’

My use in commercial properties of Carex is precisely for how fast it spreads. Here the negative turns into a plus.

We have designed banks that one year they are built and within three years are consolidated,  acquired and closed. So it is preferable to use fast growing plants in these situations so the property looks good without much maintenance. I add that here because the area devoted to the Carex is a huge expanse carpeted in this fast growing groundcover. No maintenance is required because it is contained and not growing in a small bed like in my garden. It is left to fill out naturally without division. Definitely a positive.

The same goes for fast food restaurants. Every five years, many of them put in completely new fast growing gardens so they mature quickly, and healthy existing plants get tossed. So Carex does its duty in these situations, then is discarded five years later. Not a positive for the plant to end up composting on the farm.

Oh, and this variety is not a true NY native, yet it often has this classification attached. It is a hybrid variety and is not on the NYS Native Plant List. You want another post with a lot of commenting?  See The Melting Pot of Plants, What Goes. It has the link for the NYS Native Plants, USDA List besides all the commentary. We break even here.

Rosa “Iceberg’

So what am I replacing it with you might ask? Right now, just the annual Ageratum ‘Artist Blue’. I may pop in the low growing Blue Rug Juniper, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’, when they are ripped out of the next McDonald’s. Hey, you can’t beat free?

It needs to be a tough plant liking dry, hot conditions to be happy in this location. Oh, by the way, Carex suppliers will tag it “Likes partial shade and moist soil”, ” Sun: Part shade to full shade and tolerates: Wet Soil, Dense Shade, Deer” , but trust me, the plant lives anywhere. Another reason it is planted in new build conditions where soil quality is usually rather poor is that it will actually live in these conditions, even though it is certainly not optimal.

The sidewalk location on my property has these lean conditions of nutrient free rock and ruble. The Carex bakes in the sun too with no shade. This area is fast draining which the sedge likes, but it does not retain any water either. The masonry keeps the space very hot, a little better suited to the Juniper, but it is not in detriment to the Carex that I have ever noticed. The Carex has been planted here for quite a while too. I divided it twice in its time. And tossing it is equally back-breaking work.

West Front Bed

So there you have my Carex story. Hope I did not bore your socks off or send you for another cup of eye-opening coffee.

Snow Hill Meadow Sage

So now, let’s look at a few plants around my garden that I have not given the heave-ho.

Hosta ‘Blue Jay’

This Hosta really is blue, despite appearances. And it needs dividing often. I send them to plant sales.

Fleabane

Droopy plant alert!!!!

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

The Husker Red is coming along nicely.

Now the side yard.

West Side Yard

The Barberry are bright red next to the new growth on the Yew. The Barberry are rejects from fast food properties, along with a couple of yews.

Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’

The color palette pales toward the back side yard.

The Japanese Lilac trees above and a closeup below.

Japanese Lilac Tree

But go to the front of the property and the red roses pop. And you guessed it, another plant from McDonald’s. That is actually how I got most of the red and yellow plants in my yard. Next I will be erecting the Golden Arches.

Red Carpet Rose

I did a post a while back on color and now you know why I know this stuff. Now for out back.

Supertunia ‘Royal Velvet’ in Backyard

My favorite splash of colors in pinks, purples and white. The peonies pair with the Dahlia and pink geranium. This year they are less full than last year. And we had cats digging their way inside the plants. See the in and out paths? They smashed the geranium too.

East Backyard peonies, geraniums and Dahlia ‘La Tour’

The Viburnum is blooming and all my miniature Hosta and ferns are doing well.

Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum

So what do you think? Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down on home garden shots three or four times a month?

I am joining the End of the Month View postings over at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Go see others from around the world and show that our gardens are fun to view.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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62 Responses to My May Garden – Testing a Flinging Theory

  1. I don’t keep careful track of these things: Are your perennials blooming much earlier this year?

  2. I never get bored of seeing bloggers’ own gardens. I actually think of blogging as a bit of virtual show and tell. I understand the concerns though – if you have blogged about your own garden for five years, there really isn’t much new to say. However a good thing is always worth repeating (with a new angle).

    • I am happy to see there is a Thumbs Up vote. Many disagreed and saw it the way you described. I just experience my garden posts getting less activity compared to posts that have something interesting to say. But I visit all those blogs showing their gardens. I don’t get bored with others, but most have much bigger gardens too.

  3. tina@inthegarden says:

    I like home garden shots-especially ones that show the big picture like you have done. I also enjoyed learning about carex. I have tried carex here and it has always died out. I think too dry as I’ve read where soil must not dry out. I have done research on it and may try an Appalachian carex to replace part of my back lawn under trees. I hope it will work as I’d like a low maintenance lawn other than liriope. Thanks for the info on your carex.

    • My carex was always dry, because I rarely supplemented with watering. Dry and hot, not like the tags say. At the commercial properties, they have irrigation, so I could only compare to my garden experiences. I wonder if being dry all the time made the plant run – in search of better conditions? Makes sense, like when trees are stressed, they produce more seed pods.

      The native varieties should have better luck too, that is why I noted the ‘Ice Dance’ as not being native. It is variegated and that is why I use it often. It really is a pretty plant and maintains consistent height and texture. Not all groundcovers grow in so nicely.

      I really like liriope too and use it, Big Blue especially – ‘Niger” is a fave too, but it does not grow as vigorous here, mainly because most areas are on the edge of the planting zone, and one bad winter stunts them or outright kills them. Home shots are fun to see, but I always think I do too many.

  4. Forgot to say your gardens are beautiful!

  5. I like seeing other people’s gardens. A virtual Garden Tour. I am still trying to figure out if blogging is a photographic medium or a writing medium. I don’t have an electronic reader yet, like an iPad, so do not like to read a lot of text on a computer screen. So maybe it is a case of whether the reader is on a desktop or laptop vs an iPad on how well a blog is received.

    • I find it a different experience on my iPad. Images are spectacular compared to the desktop. Plus text is easily made larger. I do that on the laptop and desktop too, but the iPad rules for reading. You hit an important observation and it would make a good post question too. “I am still trying to figure out if blogging is a photographic medium or a writing medium.”

  6. GirlSprout says:

    Hmm, I read gardening blogs so I can delight in what other gardeners have done with their yards. It also showcases plants that might not work in my climate, but that I can enjoy vicariously. However, my traffic tends to increase when I write about something practical in a how-to vein, like square foot gardening.

    • I agree with you. I always see more traffic from posts that even go sideways of gardening – they relate, but are actually a bit to the left. Like when the Turkey Vultures were perching in the Peace Garden, and a cat strolled by six feet away. Now if that was not a representative image of peace? The post did much better than even my GBBD posts. But I have to admit, since I have not been doing the magazine format, the numbers have dropped for that mid month posting. So it may have to do with the NF Gardening magazine posts being more packed full of info, rather than just here is the plant photo and this is what it is type of post.

  7. I suppose we bloggers have several audience groups, and I, for one, do not find it boring to view bloggers’ gardens. Rarely do I see a blogger use the same views over and over again, so I see different plants and views. And your blog is always interesting. Your subjects are well thought out, interesting, and the photographs are always amazing.

    I planted English ivy in several spots as a ground cover, but now I am considering taking it out because it gets too thick and goes where I do not want it to go. I like how sedum fills in without being a challenge to control. I may replace my English ivy with that.

    • I too have English Ivy. You can see it in the back behind the fountain. It climbs the brick wall and is not good for the mortar either. I did remove it once and it always finds its way back. The roots go so deep at the house foundation that it is inaccessible to dig them out. I thought of using Roundup too, but yet have refrained.

      I am guilty of the same angles. My garden actually does not have many places you can step back. I always advocate seeing the garden in context and giving a long view, but in my garden that is difficult unless I get on my neighbor’s roofs. In public gardens it is easy and that is why I try to photograph them so often. Many views can be had of the same planting, giving varying perspectives.

  8. HolleyGarden says:

    I like seeing home gardens. They let me see what works, introduces me to new plants, and gives me ideas. I say yes. But I enjoy all your other posts, too. 🙂 As for the carex, I have never grown this plant, but the way you talk about it, it reminds me a bit of my Asian Jasmine. Tough. But, grows a little too fast and so it’s a maintenance nightmare. Love your hosta under the hedge, and your west side yard is beautiful!

  9. Thank you for joining in with the meme this month. I think it is interesting to see other people’s gardens, maybe not every post but from time to time. Whilst it is interesting to see other gardens, landmarks, plants etc through other eyes it is also interesting to see how this is then translated into their own gardens. I hope your blog traffic makes you think it is worth joining in again next month:)

    • I have been joining along Helen, but not with a post specific to an End of the Month. I have been joining along with my Weather Calendar posts which I did not do the recording in May. This month was a real End of the Month post without the weather report. So in June I will be back on schedule with day to day images of my garden and the Weather, so I will join then too. True, many learn from all the gardens we see, and that is what makes them really useful, even the tiny ones.

  10. Stacy says:

    Donna, I really enjoy seeing others’ gardens when they’re thoughtfully presented like this. For myself, I’m less interested in strings of photos that just say, “This is in bloom, and so is this, and so is this” and more in the posts that have a theme to tie them together, like your discussion of the carex, or of McD’s… 🙂 or that choose a PART of their garden to showcase. I like seeing combinations and how plants relate to the house and all those things that somehow seem more accessible in blogs than they do in garden design books, and more easy to apply to a completely different environment like NM’s. I say this, of course, as someone who doesn’t write a “useful” blog at all…

    • Your blog is fun to follow. Don’t cut yourself short. Thank you for all the kind words, and also for reading such a lengthy post. I did promise I was going to break the post up into two, but as usual, I ramble and ramble.

  11. Indie says:

    Oh how sad about the peonies!

    I actually found this to be a very interesting post, especially how companies use these quickly growing plants. I love seeing big overall pictures of people’s home gardens – it’s how I get plant combination ideas and how I see how plants look when they are more mature. Of course, one cannot show big pictures of their garden all the time, but those are usually my favorite posts!

    • Thanks Indie. I guess I will start adding commentary more to gardening posts. Many would have no idea how often the fast food restaurants change up landscapes, or that gardens must follow a color scheme.

      Heck, they build new stores sometimes and chuck the old ones too. I don’t talk about this much because it slips into my architecture job, but we have worked on quite a few of the fast food restaurants, even those selling tacos!!! And I can give some surprising design criteria that goes on inside too, the psychology of keeping customers in and out of the restaurant faster. One…ever notice… no clocks? Also think about the seating next time you sit down. And color is a huge factor for making people think they are hungry and happy, whether they are or not.

  12. Donna I like seeing other peoples gardens and I like it when people show what didn’t work or didn’t survive as much as the best bits and blooms in their garden, I love, love those white foxgloves they are beautiful, I enjoyed seeing the long shots of your garden and the different areas too, a shame that your neighbours dug out all those old plants I would loved to have inherited such a garden, Frances

    • Me too. I though of buying this house. It was not touched inside or out in almost one hundred years. Updating it in a preserving way would have been a challenge from a budget standpoint, but it was doable. I have worked on historical restoration designs and knew it could be accomplished. The problem in our area, and why I don’t restore my front porch, is economics. The restoration is equal to the price of the home at sale, and could not be recovered. Home values are very low here, so low, people would never even believe it. So I stopped short of losing my office. I knew having additional living space outweighs the beauty recovered unfortunately.

  13. I don’t think I could post home garden shots quite as often as three or four times a month, but that’s because at the moment I’m having a tough time even keeping up with my blog 😉 I do enjoy seeing what others have growing though, the foliage and color combinations. I do hope you can resist the urge to erect the gold arches…but if you give in, I hope you post those too 😛

    • I am surprised you have time to blog at all Claire with all your animals on the farm. Plus the orchards and all that you grow. I will make sure no Golden Arches grace my garden, but with so many red and yellow blooms….

      If one joins all the monthly memes, from blooms, to foliage, to seasons, to lessons learned and on and one, it would be more than three to four a month. I don’t have time for all that participation, nor would I have any post that I find interesting to actually compose on my own. That is really why I have been saying my garden posts bore me. Too much 664. But, sometimes that is all that I can get out and photograph, hence the daily weather posts. They show the garden daily, so that seemed to me to be enough of my own garden. I like posts that make one think, have one learn and give one ideas. Your blog does all three.

  14. Oh, did you say something, I must have fallen asleep…..:-).
    I love seeing shots of your garden, and I found the information about the carex very helpful (except deer love carex so I am not sure why that would be on the tag). I think shots of your garden while going in depth into a plant or other topic is great. I couldn’t post 4 times a month about my garden because I only post 4 times a month total.

    • Thanks Carolyn, you made me feel better about writing more in posts. I always think others will know just about anything I post on plants. I never had deer eat the Carex, PA deer must be a hardier bunch. We have it planted at the farm, and the wild deer leave it alone. The sharpened edges discourages them I bet.

  15. Graziella says:

    Hi there, first of all beautiful pictures I must say!! I think you did well to get rid of the Carex, it was hiding that lovely brick wall and right by the side walk (drive way?) I think you should show off some lovely flowers, it’s more inviting 🙂

    • Fair enough, I love showing flowers. Next to critters, they are my favorite photography subjects. I should not really admit that since architecture is my profession. Buildings should be more prominent in my photo work. Drawing them is easier that photographing them!

  16. Jennifer says:

    Hi Donna, Beacuse you asked such a pointed question, the comments are as interesting to read as the post itself! I like variety in what I read and what I produce on my blog. I change it up for myself, as much as my readers. Like life, gardens vary from day to day, month to month and year to year so, no I don’t think a home garden is necessarily the same old, same old.
    Mary brought up an interesting point. Is it all about the photographs or is blogging about the writing? I think that computer screens are somewhat uncomfortable to read, so I think that blogs have become all about the images. That being said, I do think that you need to have something interesting to say with your words and a story to tell with your images.

    • I like your interviews and book reviews too. You have a very interesting combination of content.

      I know the garden views change, just by the nature of the blooming plants, as some groupings enlarge, get fuller or fade. But in a small space, such as mine, the problem is myself finding not as much variation, unless, like the Carex, something is removed, relocated or replaced.

      Also, it is the frequency of posting. I try to keep the blog refreshed with a post every two to three days. It is not that there is not enough material for everyday like some blogs, or that there are not enough memes to fill out the month, it is just a schedule that seems to work well. I have blogs that I read that I am anxious for a new post everyday. But not many out there can garner that kind of content and readership.

      Blogging…writing. You make the call. I vacillate between the two in my reading. Personally, I try to bridge both on my blog, but lean towards images most noticeably. I would love to have a true photo blog. It brings in my artistic side more than does just a blog about gardening. So, writing on the Carex is an example.

  17. I like your garden…a lot. I like seeing different styles of gardens, mine are still so new. that seeing what others have used is really nice. I saw all your backlinks, having internet issues tonight, was just glad your blog loaded. Might come back and check your previous posts to see the comparison….rural SC has the worst internet!!
    How lucky to have a Japanese Lilac!!!! We had one in our Master Gardener Learning Garden in Virginia and I loved when it bloomed.

    • I like Japanese Lilac very much. It is a good street tree and has a nice upright shape to fit in many small spaces. I could write a whole post on advantages of this tree. It is also one I use in landscape design quite often because it blooms later than the fruiting trees and carries the interest into summer for tree bloom.

  18. debsgarden says:

    I try to post once a week, and I usually feature my own garden, but not always. I wonder the same, if viewers will grow tired of the repeat views. I like to think there are new viewers who have not seen it before! I really enjoy seeing other bloggers’ personal gardens. I really don’t have a lot of time for blogging and am always playing catch-up with visiting other blogs. I think I miss a lot. So I definitely am not bored with your blog!

    • Your garden is quite large with your wooded area, and you can post images and views many of us have not seen. I agree, new readers are benefited. Have you noticed too, that many newer bloggers will click back through your posts? I find this sometimes and then they see my garden in spades. I really have to watch how often I feature it, and instead, look to feature maybe one plant that I use frequently and explain why, like the lilac that Janet brought up. Or even tell more about the fast food restaurant plants I have and how they got here. That is not a pretty story. I feel for those plants.

  19. b-a-g says:

    Donna – Thank you so much for the photo of foxgloves!
    Being relatively new to gardening, I like reading and learn a lot from people posting about their gardens, especially when they show the development of a plant – official gardening web-sites don’t seem to. I have to say that I always think of Alastair of AberdeenGardening when anyone mentions carex. He presents them individually at intervals around his garden and it wouldn’t be the same without them.
    Unfortunately our MacDonalds doesn’t have any plants to sell off, I’ll just make do with their apple pies …

    • Plant development, that is a really good point, b_a_g. I never did follow Dave’s Garden or any of the ‘official’ sites, so I cannot tell you what is posted there. I think if Alistair has Carex planted all over the garden, he might be pulling it out in time too. I cannot imagine he has anything but a variety similar to ‘Ice Dance’, mainly because it is such a pretty plant. I have no familiarity with the native varieties, so I cannot say if they run or seed excessively. But the climate Alistair has, is really perfect for this plant, so his would be healthy and full I bet.

  20. Les says:

    Actually, I don’t recall seeing that many pictures of your own garden, and if you have shown them it wasn’t obvious, at least to me, but I am easily distracted. Now I have the context in which you garden. I usually only post pics from my garden once or twice a month, and that is for Bloom Day, a tradition I am not yet ready to part with.

    • I too post on bloom day each month, but once I added my weather calendar, it became too much 664. I like the calendar though, it keeps a nice visual record along with the temperature and time. You must pop in more for my travel spot posts. I often post my garden or a client’s garden and never mention where the image is from because it is usually some deign issue or tip I am pointing out.

  21. bumblelush says:

    Interesting–I’ve never tracked this type of thing or thought about it. I use my blog as a journal of what my veggie garden is doing. I like seeing others’ gardens. I like seeing yours, and I like seeing the ones you feature too.

  22. Thumbs up! But I would say that about any of your posts, Donna. First of all, I have to say I felt physically ill reading your description of what the neighbors did to all the heirloom perennials, Peonies, and Roses. Ugh. That is so sad. Next, I don’t really keep track of whether people post about their own gardens or their local areas or trips to other gardens. If there’s a good angle, good information, a good story, or great photos of plants and gardens–I’m hooked! Thanks for sharing all your quality content, Donna!

    • I was not even going to mention what the neighbors did to the garden. My husband told me when I was in NC. When you see it from last year, then see it now, you have to wonder why then removed the plants rather than refurbish them. We take out plants all the time in our business, but when it is plants almost one hundred years old, it really makes you think a bit. The house is one of the last originally constructed homes on the street, and they have worked on the inside too, but I have not seen what was done. I guess that is a sign of the times. Someone back in the 60s did this to my house, but instead, ruined the outside by enclosing the porch.

      Glad you think posting home garden images is fine a few times a month. I thought this was why blogs maybe getting less traffic, if they indeed are!

  23. Sorry it has been a busy couple of days and I am just getting to reading blogs as mine is down 😦

    Anyway, I like your posts about your garden. I learn design elements, plant specifics etc. 4 times a month though for me would never happen. I only show what is blooming a couple times a month and then do a plant profile…your in depth posts about your garden are very worthwhile and I for one would like to see them as many times as you want to posy\t about them. I think as garden bloggers we look for garden posts. So post away!

    • Thanks Donna for the vote of confidence. Ironically, there is an average of 26 percent less traffic for this garden post (so far) than many of my other posts about other gardens, large landscapes, design and photography. I still believe others must be tiring of my little space somewhat, although many have been very nice to comment here and say otherwise. It could be that it is all the other blogs that I follow and follow me, that have completely different interests that do not show up when I title the post, My Garden.

      Also, the idea of posting what I never posted on before that would be fresh and new getting interest always increases readership. I can only surmise because it has made me wonder lately. Either way, the numbers are supporting my theory, unfortunately. Others may have a completely different result, like you most probably do each time your garden is shown. My blog may not be representative of most garden blogs because it is not as consistent just showing garden plants. I really want to figure out why this is occurring. GBBD maybe just have been a fluke this month because so many were away like myself. That is the one post that usually is consistently high and it was pathetically low for May. But no magazine, may had an effect. I would still love to figure it out.

  24. A big Thumbs UP to seeing YOUR garden four times a month! I learn a lot from you, so I always devour the posts where you talk about your own garden. As you might remember, I love Carex. I do understand why a garden designer would get rid of them though … me, being inexperienced, I still love them as I wait for other plants to reach their potential. Maybe one day I’ll replace the carex too. I see what you mean, because mine are getting a little thuggy now 🙂

    • I am glad I posted this now. I am sure conditions vary, as so do different varieties, but Carex by nature is a roamer. Thanks for giving me a reason to continue my weather calendar. That is where I was thinking too much 664. I have been photographing each day in June and weirdly enough, took a few new angles of the garden. I guess I was just so accustomed to running out the front and back door and quickly shooting that, I did not realize that there are some other angles just as nice. Found that out today in our finally, rainy weather. The plants are HAPPY.

  25. Barbie says:

    I love your posts and I look forward to going through all your garden flowers and especially the design of your garden. What is the name of the flowers under the dahlia head photo? They are so lovely! 🙂

  26. Alistair says:

    I really don’t think you give too much of your own garden, and when you do give us a peek I would be surprised to find your readership fall. I am partly with you regarding Carex. It does grow anywhere and although I wont do without it, after three years in the same spot I start trimming and messing about with them which often leads to removal.. Oh, and how could I not keep coming back when you give such good advice, which recently had me tearing my hair out but nevertheless was deserving.

    • I know you use Carex and like I mentioned to another reader, conditions and climate play a big part as does variety of Carex. I had mine in much longer than three years, more like seven or eight, and I finally had enough of dividing it so often. Lots of work! Thanks for the thumbs up. I really like my calender and that is what I would have to give the ax.

  27. Bom says:

    Am I late to the party? I have my GR setting on newest to oldest.
    So, how did this test of yours with the Carex turn out? I think an occasional dip in readers is to be expected, certainly not something to worry about especially for a blogger of your caliber. I do enjoy reading about everyone’s gardens. The result of all those blogs in my Google reader is that I don’t really remember all the details about the particular gardens. I remember your backyard and your office water feature for instance but I would be hard pressed to describe the plants, especially the temperate ones. I can identify part of Alistair’s backyard from pictures because I love seeing it and don’t mind a bit if he posts about it more than once. I remember Deb’s lady’s room (or something to that effect) or Meem’s circle/round garden but again no specific details. I remember the devastation of Bernieh’s garden and am pleased when I notice recovery in her newer posts. I enjoyed your Philadelphia post but won’t mind reading about it from another perspective some time in the future. So repetitive posts are not an issue for me. That said, I also enjoy posts that are tangential to gardening or maybe even completely off-topic because while gardening is a passion, it is not my only interest. This may also be why you have a rise in readership for your non-garden posts.

  28. Denise says:

    I say Thumbs Up!

  29. stone says:

    [quote]Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down on home garden shots three or four times a month?[/quote]

    I’m not going to give either.

    I post pics from my own garden when they illustrate a point that my other gardens are unable to do. For instance, the tidying thing that I feel strongly about…

    Posting pics that look the same as the pics posted last year is clearly a no go. If I’m excited about the growth of something, a pic (this years), and a link to last year’s post works…
    If I’m saddened by the failure of something, a pic and a link again.

    3 or 4 times a month… seems a bit much.
    If someone is posting that much, or the posts are too lengthy,I can get over-whelmed.

    There was some concern on my part when I posted a thousand word post with a dozen pictures as I did on my deer post… Too lengthy, people won’t want to read, or scroll down, too short, or too little thought will cause us to give up as well.

    Balance is key… No one can tell us where that is, we each must find our own balance.

    • Glad you posted this. It is always different for everybody reading and writing posts to make the ‘how many’ decisions. I find some blogs a must visit daily. Others, weekly can be sufficient. But, when the images get repetitive I find that visiting can get reduced ten fold. Like today, for my monthly weather calendar, I took a shot of the Japanese Lilac trees, skirted by a huge red carpet rose, one I show many times. But what was different is why the rose was planted there, and the wide image of the blooming lilacs show why. The lilacs are also skirted by cotoneaster and that makes a pretty sight too at a different time of year. So sometimes the why is important, like your post today on cleanup. The why matters as does the what. BTW, I subscribed, so it does not matter how many, I will always get a message to see the new posting.

  30. Anita Brucker says:

    What attracted me to your blog is its excellent photos, and what keeps me interested is commentary about garden decisions such as ripping out the carex. I also just ripped out carex in my front garden for I thought it looked “messy” for the months of April and May, with dead matted foliage that would have to be hand cut out. Ugh! too much work. Seeing your own garden makes you real! THANKS

    • Thanks. I am glad that you find garden decisions interesting. I will try to include more of that kind of info in future posts. I have to remember that not all gardeners know what works for some and what doesn’t
      can be sometimes new and fun to find out. I always think my readers are gardeners extraordinaire.

  31. I found myself carexing deeply about this post, both the focus on the evolution/domination of one plant and on the many whole-garden and macro views. I would have shed more than tears over what your neighbors did. I would have CRIED for a week! The heirloom plants you mention are the prizes in my garden. It would be like losing dear friends to see them go, even next door.

    • I really was astounded to see what happened next door. It is understandable because the couple are young, but they could have saved money by cutting the shrubs back severely and letting them regrow. This way they could add the perennials it looked like they want.

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