Why blog?

Snail-2

Honestly that is a question to ponder. Why start, why do it at all.

As rewarding as it is, it is also frustrating at times being sucked into the big vortex of blogging. Ya, having things to discuss that others have not. Being creative and quirky and hoping others find one interesting. Attend to work, family, garden, and home with gusto all the while feeding the blog.

Lilacs

Blogging can be grappling with difficult thoughts in full view and scrutiny of the reader, so it is a bit scary at times. I explored that in the engaging, photo-packed post Surfacing 500 Times, a post I thoroughly enjoyed writing.

You start something on a whim and find out it becomes part of who you are or who you have become. You reveal thought provoking ideas and soul searching vulnerabilities.

Pasque_FlowerBut for how long?

Did you know the average lifespan of a snail in captivity is around 15 years and some live to 25 years? If it is a wild snail that decreases to maybe seven years at best. I cannot see myself blogging in snail years! (source – Snail World)

The lifespan of the new blogger? I have read for most, it is less than a year.

Snail

I had no direction for my blog beyond just blogging and loved it from the time it was started. Blogging found me rather than the other way around. It became a jumping off point to many new interests and adventures. It became a new way to see and a series of “firsts”.

Snail-5

How garden blogging found me was it came to town.

I attended a few of the events for the Garden Bloggers Fling in Buffalo.  I already was helping in organizing and promoting garden walks, so I thought it a seasonal distraction to see what all the hubbub was about. It seemed such a climb to start something new.

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Talking with a couple of the bloggers at the scheduled events, I said, “This is something I can find myself doing.”

Columbine

After all, I was in the field of  “gardens” already with design and all the garden organizations I was affiliated. The only difference, I was “talking” gardens not writing about them. I thought, “How different is that?”

But a name, what to call the blog…

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I also have the name Let’s Talk Gardens saved as an inactive blog. I knew I could ‘talk’ gardens but I also knew many, many gardens around here are worth a visit, so the name became Garden Walk Garden Talk.  But it always meant more than just walking a garden with commentary though. The garden is the larger garden of nature and the talk is anything in nature worth a mention, from art to arthropod.

Blogging did not start as a crawl for me.

It really moved quickly and consistently. It has not even been three years as of yet and I still have not run the course on inspiration. Like I said, in nature there are always firsts.

Many think blogging is an outlet for dollops of one’s life, and it is sometimes.

Ornamental_Onion

Another thing that prompted blogging was my health. I wanted to make sure to have a piece of my life live on virtually in case I didn’t, so I started recording things in my life through my art and photography.

Miniature_Columbine

I have always loved photography and a whole new outlet was opened for me. It is a way for others to see the world as I do.

MuscariPhlox

Marc Tracy, in his “eulogy for the blog “article, says,

“What we are losing is the personal blog and the themed blog. Less and less do readers have the patience for a certain writer or even certain subject matter.”

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This is why this blog stayed eclectic in subject matter and why it has amassed readership. Blogging is simply about what interests the writer, but also what engages the reader, otherwise there is no point in putting the content out there.

Viburnum'Shasta'

Soon the Garden Bloggers will meet and probably be offering their wisdom to a new batch of bloggers again. I hope they approach it with constructive, enthusiastic support. Not all of us are being swallowed up into oblivion. Not all of us want to go big time either. If a blog is dying, it is no one’s fault but the one writing it. No amount of  “let’s tweet and poke” is a substitute for quality of material.

JapaneseMapleLeaves

Andrew Sullivan, a famous writer and early adopter of blogging, says,

“But every page on the web is equally accessible as every other page. Blogs will never die – but they might form a smaller part of a much larger online eco-system of discourse.”

Is the eco-system other online media and is he right?  Why one blogs is a personal choice. Why they continue , a mystery. But it does not have to be as slow and steady as a snail until you fall off into the great abyss!

Snail-7

First snail ever in my garden!

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, blogging has both its good and trying moments, which makes it like being part of a family.

GWGT was nominated to receive the I Am Part of the WordPress Family Award on May 16th., my birthday. It is not a typical award or family, but is a great honor bestowed upon by the Donkey Whisperer Farm Blog. Thank you Melody, I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Why did you start blogging? Did it start slow?  Do you feel like a rat on a wheel or are you part of a big, happy blogging family?

Dianthus

I will be gone by the time this post reaches you the readers. I am away traveling, but I will answer the comments when I can. Three bird posts are auto loading, two in my garden and another with a video from Russia. So enjoy the birds I don’t often, if ever, see in my garden. Also check out Bird Chirps. It is a page on my blog I just started for bird ID. As I find and photograph a bird, it makes its way to Bird Chirps.

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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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86 Responses to Why blog?

  1. Beautiful post loaded with pretty photos! I am coming up on 1 years worth oh how I have learned so much through all I follow 🙂

  2. Lea says:

    Beautiful photos!
    Thought provoking post.
    When I retired, I had time to return to growing flowers and a vegetable garden. When I began to look for information on plants on-line, I discovered gardening blogs – what a wonderful find! I wanted to tell bloggers how much I liked their blogs, and most of them asked for a URL in order to leave a comment. I had used computers a lot at my job, so creating a blog was easy. Before my job and family obligations consumed me, I enjoyed photography with a SLR Minolta 101. Now there are digital cameras – hurrah! I use a Canon PowerShot G9. It is small, easy to carry, and makes photos that I am pleased with. And so that’s how I started blogging, and I enjoy it very much.
    Be safe and happy in your travels!
    Lea
    Lea’s Menagerie

    • Thank you Lea. I am having a good time here and just spent a day with Carolyn from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens visiting Winterthur. Amazing place. I think many started as you did. I was into reading design blogs before garden blogs mostly because my job includes designing gardens, so there was less researching plants as I get all my information from growers. Glad you added how and why you started.

  3. rebecca says:

    Blogging is (for me) a “new way of seeing” – like you said. I’ve been blogging for a few years and realize that when you boil it down for me it is rather selfish. I just simply enjoy it. It is a way of re-hashing, re-shaping, re-visiting my personal interest and efforts. Some people “scrap book”. I blog.

    Visiting other blogs, I am inspired and refreshed creatively. If others find any pleasure in my posts or in my company, I am thrilled….but that isn’t what keeps me going…

    I speed-read this post, but am going to come back after church and go slowly through it taking time to visit a couple of the links you included. They sound interesting. Thanks for taking the time to analyze and share your insights & observations about blogging!

    • Sam says:

      Rebecca- I agree! I just started blogging and it’s great to have a community who wants to read about my garden progress. I feel inspired after reading other stories.
      Donna- Hope you’re having a great trip and I’m glad I can join your WordPress family! As for the snail, they don’t last long in my garden…

    • I have that recording in my reasoning too. I think it important to have a bit of my garden online, although it is so small. I too do it because I enjoy it, but having people interact with commenting makes it that much more worthwhile. Thanks for your thoughts, it helps to show the many facets/reasons as to why people blog.

  4. catmint says:

    Hi Donna, when I read this post I had to look up my blog to see how long I’d been doing, and to my surprise I found this is my 6th year! To answer your questions: I started blogging to record the changes in my garden, it started slow, sometimes I feel like a rat on a wheel, then i take a break or blog less often. Feeling part of an enormous community of garden bloggers is wonderful, but I’d do it even if 2 people followed it because it is my space for reflection and to display my favourite photos. I hope your travels go well, and look forward to seeing and hearing about your travel experiences in future posts.

    • Six years???? You really have been at for a long time. I think I will never run out of things to post, but might run out of steam one day. I find even though readership is growing very rapidly, that is working a bit against blogging and I am not sure why. It seemed more personal with less, like I was addressing friends. I am glad to have the readers, don’t get me wrong. Interactive posts like this give me a renewed feel. My travels are going well and tomorrow another big garden to visit. Might be Longwoods.

      • catmint says:

        donna, what you say about the possible disadvantage of such a large readership is very interesting. The numbers game very seductive but it doesn’t necessarily translate into enjoyable blogging. How to blog without feeling pressured and enjoying it? It’s just like the dilemma / challenge of living!

  5. Great post, and leads my mind in so many directions at once. First, congrats on the nomination! I started as a distraction from work and a way to show off my garden, since it is something I feel a lot of pride in. In my experience, blogging tends to suck you in, so that I progressively post more frequently, read more blogs, and comment more on other blogs. I’ve found that the longer I blog and the more frequently I post, the more readers I get. I hear what you are saying about writing on whatever interests you, though I am reluctant to take that to far. I write about the garden, birds, and places to go. I would like to write more about books (fiction) and movies, but am insecure about what I have to offer. I avoid some topics, especially those related to my job. And in general I really don’t want to write about anything too personal. Even so, I guess I am bitten by the blogging bug.

    • You and I started in a similar manner. Mine was a distraction from work, or more accurately, a way to be creative on my own terms. Gardens I design I don’t often post, well I do, I just don’t mention it. I did one a while back and the owner was not all that happy about having it on the web, so I ceased posting my designs, and only small portions at a time so it it not obvious of the landscape being shown. I too cannot discuss architecture, that really is not recommended. I talk round about when doing a post on project I was involved, like the ones on wetlands. I had a year long design project on a wetland site, so I feel knowledgeable on that subject. Like you, I too found posting more frequently gets more readers and many more searches. I think we post a lot on the same subjects too, I just show my garden less than most. If it was bigger, I would show it more often.

  6. Phil Lanoue says:

    Well I very much enjoyed reading your post and viewing the accompanying photos so my vote is for you to keep at it.

    • Thanks Phil. I am hoping to get to Hawk Mountain this trip, maybe Thursday as my one cousin’s horse farm is next door to it. I so want to photograph birds, but I did not bring my 400mm along. Think I can lure the raptors in with a juicy steak? Kidding of course. 😀

  7. b-a-g says:

    Wish the snails in my garden were that cute. I like your idea of a blog being a legacy. I don’t feel like a rat on a wheel at all, maybe it’s because I came into blogging with no expectations. I literally thought of it as web-logging and didn’t contemplate the interaction aspect of it – that was a bonus.

    • Today on our garden tour of Winterthur, Carolyn said the snail was cute too. Like me, she does not get snails in her garden either. Imagine getting excited over having a snail visit! I need a new hobby I think.

  8. A.M.B. says:

    Happy belated birthday (and congratulations on your award! You deserve it!)! Blogging didn’t start as a crawl for me either, and it hasn’t slowed down, though there are weeks I don’t have as much time to post as I’d like. It’s fun, and I will continue to do it as long as it remains that way.

    • Thanks! I was surprised to have a garden blog take off and also that I would want to post as much as I do. Your blog I can see gaining readership rapidly. You are a great writer and have such great material. Plus your kids are adorable!

      • A.M.B. says:

        Oh, thank you for the kind words! I had no idea that a book blog could gain the type of readership I have. It’s nice to have regular readers who always have interesting thoughts to add in the comments. The interaction is the best part of blogging.

  9. I blog because it is fun. It goes up and down. I learn from other garden bloggers and what gardener doesn’t like sharing their garden with people who ‘understand.’ Your blog is beautiful and I love visiting it.

    • Thank you for the nice words. I needed that a bit and not sure why. I like blogging, but lately for some reason, despite the good activity, I have been in a bit of, well the doldrums.

  10. Happy Birthday! Mine was the 15th. Thoughtful post loaded with beauty as always. I am in my third year of blogging. For almost two years, I posted 7 days a week and burned myself out. Last summer I took a couple of months off, regrouped, came back with a different attitude towards it. Each must find what works for them and follow their heart. It’s not about numbers, it’s about connecting with like minded souls. There are thousands of blogs out there, something for everybody. I thoroughly enjoy my time blogging and interacting with blogging pals. For me, it is a way to share my photography, love of words and hopefully, brighten someone’s day. That in turn brightens mine. Have a wonderful trip. We will see you on the flip side! Margie

    • Wow, happy birthday to you too. Three years is a good number – like getting over a hump I think. Good you took time away. Refreshing is good medicine. I take trips to refresh. New material and things that interest me. I like interacting and that was what was causing my doldrums. I needed a pick me up post and this one seems to fit the bill. I agree there is something for everyone. Many different ways to approach blogging and I find that alleviates what Marc Tracy said, “Less and less do readers have the patience for a certain writer or even certain subject matter.” My trip is going great. Many gardens to visit.

  11. Martha says:

    Well, I love your blog and am glad you are doing it for whatever reason.
    My blog is in its 7th year and I continue for similar reasons – I simply enjoy doing it.
    Happy trails and “see” you back here.

    • Seven years? So far you have been at it the longest of those commenting. We need your advise and how you keep at it for so long. I need a dose of what ever it is that keeps you going.

  12. Beth says:

    I just started my garden blog this last April 1. I am a gardener and a teacher and I found after I retired at the end of last school year that I had more time to read garden blogs and found several I really enjoyed. And, like Lea, I wanted to post comments and found that I needed to have a google account and so I got one and then was prompted to start a blog. I don’t really know where this will lead, but I have lots of ideas. After only 6 weeks, though, I can see I need a better camera. I have no idea where to get good advice on that. I certainly enjoy your pictures.

    • I don’t necessarily think you need a better camera. I have done a post with my small Nikon shooting hummingbirds and they came out great. https://gardenwalkgardentalk.com/2013/02/02/hummingbird-closeups-with-the-nikon-p510/ You might just need to look at the modes your camera has available. They are very useful making the photos better. Check out some of my photography posts. They are meant for beginners not those knowing the information I posted. I am not a pro, but have been shooting for over thirty years. I find, not doing it for a living, I can help beginners a little more easily since pros always don’t tell the little tricks. Some of what I post might seem too easy to a pro and they forget that beginners don’t always know that stuff.

  13. Andrea says:

    Have a wonderful trip, and be safe. We will always be following your posts wherever you are, most of all at least for me because of the wonderful photographs. Your thoughts and topics always provoke the mind and sometimes emotion, sometimes encouraging and inspiring, and for me sometimes discouraging. That is because i always see my mediocrity looking at yours, but that is all i need to keep going, so discouragement is instant and inspiration is the outcome. So, i hope you wont stop blogging as long as there are words and photos coming out of your head! LOL

    • Thanks Andrea. I needed a little ego boost. I am in a funk on blogging and the blog is at its all time high on views and subscribers, but that is not helping my funk, in fact, is seems to be hurting my desire a bit. Your photos have come a long way in a short time, so no need for you to feel discouraged.

  14. terrygolden says:

    dear donna…when i read this post[i get all of your posts to my inbox], well it had me worried…i have not commented for so long because i just couldn’t seem to get into wordpress and so this evening, i worked at it until i finally found a pass word….if i don’t sign in by word press, i can’t make a comment….i am just an old blogspot.net!

    donna, i hope that you keep on blogging…i have never seen such great nature pictures and i also
    appreciate it when i read all the comments that you get that you are so encouraging to some…the way you act makes a person want to do better!….so please don’t even think of stopping…..i guess i shouldn’t be talking though because i have been very lax lately working on my own blog!

    the picture of the snails pleased both me and my husband…….so, so real!……i know that when it is wet at the church on the cement parking lot that the snails often land somehow all over the driveway….some people think i am a bit strange but i do it anyway….i pick up the snails and the dew worms and put them into the thick green lawn!……they are god’s little creatures and he loves them just like he says that there is not a sparrow that falls to the ground that he is not aware of….

    donna, i am going to comment more now that i can sign in….because why should i be reaping all of these treasures that you email to me and not giving you feed back and thanks for all the hard work you do?!!……………love terry

    • Thanks Terry. You always make me feel so happy with your long comments. You are so kind and encouraging. We don’t get snails here, so my snail was very special. After I was done photographing it, it went back to the garden. I looked for him the next day and he was gone or hiding. I am glad you are going to comment more. You make me feel so good!

  15. HolleyGarden says:

    Happy Birthday and Congratulations! One thing you said resonated with me – about having something that would continue on, or last, even if you didn’t. I started my blog after a death in the family, and I was thinking “I need to put some of these things down in case I’m not around for my heirs to ask about the garden”. I still often go back to that motivation. I hope you have some inspiring travels, and stay safe.

    • You have a very good reason for blogging. It will be of importance to those you know for a long time to come. BTW, My last post I did for you and your request. It had all the views of the garden through the seasons. I hope you got a chance to see it.

      • HolleyGarden says:

        Thank you for directing my attention to your last post. I was out of town unexpectedly for several days, and didn’t get on the computer at all. I feel like I lost a week somehow. Thanks, too, for honoring my request!

  16. Yes, Donna, blogging can be very frustrating as it competes with all the important activities of my life: grandchildren and other family, church, presenting gardening workshops, maintaining my own garden, writing, caring for a mother who lives three and a half thousand miles away — to mention just a few commitments. Yet it is still an important part of my life, even if I post just one time in a month. I blog for myself; having supportive followers is a plus. Congratulations on your well deserved award and a belated happy birthday! Your blog continues to inspire me! P. x

    • Doesn’t it though? You don’t realize at first how much impact it will have on other things you do and love. Both in a good way and in a way that interferes. I never did ‘blog for myself”. It was always for others in one way or another. I find I have done little for myself through the years and am just starting to look in that direction. I am very faithful to those that comment here and found that a plus in getting followers. I know you mentioned that, because I feel the same way to those that comment here. If they take the time, I certainly can do the same. I found many great blogs that way too.

  17. Alistair says:

    I don’t know how to poke or tweet, but I like this post. Blogging grew around me, I didn’t know what I was doing, I wouldn’t have given it such a strange title if I did. All I can say is that it has added an extra dimension to the gardening which I loved anyway, and, hey it may even have the lifespan of a captive snail.

    • I know how, but just don’t. It is far too time consuming and too addictive. Blogging takes up a lot of time and it does not leave much room for all the other social media. I like having a bigger forum too, where I can say more meaningful things. I know some posts are less important, but again, I still get to add much more to them. Your blog name is fine. I would never have known where Aberdeen was had you not blogged.

  18. Cathy says:

    Hi Donna, commenting again after reading (for the second time) your very timely post and also, the comments of others.

    I started my garden blog in 2011 as an on-line garden journal, but it quickly became so much more….photo record, platform for our support of the environment, personal diary of our garden related activities, guide for all natural gardening…. just to name some of the purposes it serves.

    I stepped away from it last year first from frustration at strangers stealing my photos and text and re-posting or publishing it as their own, in one case for significant money, and secondly due to illness. It wasn’t a conscious decision not to post — I didn’t do so out of deliberate retaliation for my work being co-opted. But I was so upset, I had a hard time motivating myself to write. But as you so artfully articulated, it is a legacy that has taken on a life of its own. So many people wrote to say they missed new posts, I resumed posting this year after a 6 month hiatus.

    I have also come to despise WordPress. From the point of view of a commenter, it is very, very difficult to post a comment. First, you have to be registered and logged in. Many times, when I have posted through Blotanical, I am not always aware of what platform the log is written in and once I try to post, I am redirected to a log in page, and then when I log in, instead of the comment being accepted, I’m sent back to the post comment page only to find that the comment that I have thoughtfully crafted and taken time to write, is now gone.

    Most other blogging platforms allow you to post logged into any number of ways, and will accept a comment if you provide a name, email, and web address. But with WordPress, now that they “know” my email address and forced me to register with them just to post a comment, they automatically force me to log and make the commenting process very cumbersome and frustrating. It has gotten so bad that in the last year, I have gradually stopped posting comments on most WordPress blogs. However, I think that the comments (especially on a post like this, which is thought-provoking and has stimulated such wonderful discussion) are a very valuable part of the post.

    • That really is ashamed you went though all the turmoil with the blog. I too have both experiences you noted, stealing images, scaping and have posts reposted and redirected. I felt there was not much I could do but wait until it worked out and it did. I still have many images appearing elsewhere and some advertising for profit blogs. But I have enough stress in my life to deal with, so ignore a lot of the stealing. I too have had the same issue with WP comments. Now I copy them all before I post them, just in case. Same too on not accepting the WP ID even though I am logged in. That is the worst. Then I have to go to Google and sign in, and have lost the comment in the mean time. Thanks for your thoughts and experiences. Every time you comment at GWW I always read your comments. They are the best.

      • Diana Studer says:

        that’s odd, I rather like WP commenting. First blog after I restart my computer, I’m prompted for my WP password. WP also have that effective system to tell you – your comment has been answered. But I mostly avoid commenting where the blogger uses Captcha.

  19. Happy belated birthday, Donna!

    Why blog? I imagine some of the short-lived new blogs go into it with expectations that cannot possibly be met. There are so many articles out there on how to grow one’s blog, how to make money from blogging, how to get really popular, etc., sets one up for failure. I’ve heard it from people I know, newer bloggers than I am … “You have ### followers, I only have ##.”

    Here is the honest truth … I would blog even if I didn’t have a single follower, and if no one ever spoke up to leave comments! My blog started as a garden journal, and a way to publicize my then-rose nursery business. That was much too constraining, so I gradually branched out into other areas of life. Nothing was configured ahead of time, and posts come as life’s circumstances present themselves.

    I still write about roses, but this probably makes up only 25% of my content. Since blogging is about LIFE, expanding my content is a better reflection of who I am, and it allows me to grow my relationships with like-minded readers. That’s what this all is about, after all … sharing and learning and growing … and making connections.

    I am thankful to have made a connection with YOU!

    • I think that the advice given to new bloggers is usually what steers them wrong. Best advice is do what you love and do it well. The rest comes naturally. I think I like your life posts the best. I like seeing what you and Daniel are up too. Even the cats and I am not a cat person. Fixing your house is right up my alley. I have to say I like to have new readers. I found so many great blogs that way. I don’t remember how I found your blog, but am glad I ‘met’ you too. I am in PA now and wish it was not so long a drive to visit you, or I would check out your roses business..

  20. What a lovely post Donna. Thank you for sharing with us part of your blogging journey. I thoroughly enjoy coming to your blog and reading what you have to say, as well as viewing your incredible photos.
    Kenley

    • It really is a journey and I never thought it would be like that. A journey makes one grow and I think I have become a more open person as a result. I can talk in front of a crowd, but here I think I can be more “me”. I can make an opinion and not care if others agree, in fact if they don’t that is great. It sets up a dialog.

  21. Barbie says:

    What a lovely post on blogging – and I feel it in all you do – you are here to stay!! And so am I. I have met the most amazing people – not just bloggers!! It is such a pleasure to know you!

    • Thanks Barbie. I hope to be around a while longer. I feed on people interacting and it gives me motivation. My interests are so varied, I know it does not jell with all readers. My garden posts really are not a favorite of my photography following, but it is what I do in my line of work. You are right on meeting amazing people in blogging. I cannot believe how many friends I am getting to know well. Thank you for getting to know me. I enjoy all your posts. The videos, the chickens, and your garden.

  22. Patty says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Donna. One of my blogs is simply to record my garden and the other to give me a place to research ladies of garden history and have a place to record it . As legacy? Perhaps. It may be the only reasonable venue to do so.

    • Thanks Patty. I have to get to Toronto to meet you someday. I am so close and each time you had a talk, I could not make it. I like how you separated your blog content and subjects. I started that with Green Apples, then they meshed into the same. I started that blog with a friend that left it because it did not have the following of a design blog. Garden blogs will never have that kind of following I think. It is difficult to get 30 to 50 k readers a day and garden blogs don’t seem to have the same appeal. One of the bloggers I referenced has 88.8K followers. That is amazing and overwhelming. I mentioned above that my blog getting an increase lately had the opposite effect for me. I thought it would be encouraging and it worked the opposite. No reason why either.

  23. Graziella says:

    Hi Donna,
    excellent post! I started my blog when I bought my first plants almost four years ago now! I have abandoned by blog three times in that time, I get bored writing about the same plants in a tiny yard.

    The truth though is that when I leave it I miss it. I miss the all the people that I got to know, and their blogs. For me their writing and pictures are windows into their lives, and it’s always interesting. I think it is their writing that eventually inspires me to go back to the blog and start writing again. There will always be a post somewhere that sticks with you, gives you an idea, raises a question. I think as long as that keeps on happening I will always write, I may veer off subject, but at least I’m writing.

    My blog may not be as successful, and to be honest I’m fine with that, it is the pleasure of taking pictures, and writing that keeps it going not the readership. I don’t think blogs will die off, not everyone is into the likes and tweets, or is as impatient as kids and teenagers. There are still those who enjoy a good read, or enjoy expressing themselves and chronicling parts of their life.

    Thank you for inspiring this comment, and all the others before and after mine. This interaction should be another reason not to stop blogging!

    • Ditto, ditto, ditto. Tiny garden, I bore myself. I have to admit, readership is what drives me. I like talking to others and having them respond. I like to get a dialog going and get to know my readers. I am not into the numbers, but in that people keep coming back to comment. It is more about seeing friends come in and leave me a message and I get to answer back. I like the comments part.

  24. Glad I found your blog and love your writing flair and the PHOTOGRAPHY is AMAZEBalls!!! Having a bad day I just come here and take a much needed nature/garden walk to brighten my day and bring a smile to my face once again; sets me right:) Have a Great Week!

    • Thank you Renee. I enjoy your blog too. It is a journey and one that asks much of the reader. I think you are like me in the comment receiving part too. The interaction and making one’s day. You bring many smiles and are always so kind. Have a great week too.

  25. Eloquently written, Donna! It’s always fascinating to read how blogs started and why people blog. Have a great trip!

  26. Helen Johnstone says:

    Hi
    I have been blogging for just over 5 years. I started one February when it was cold and damp and I read something in a gardening magazine about this new trend. My son set it up for me and I havent looked back. Its now part of who I am which is a little worrying.

    I have gone through various stages. Firstly being worried about showing more than a close up of a plant in case people criticised my garden and wondered why I thought I should write about it (I have little confidence). Then I got caught up for a couple of years in meeting other bloggers, helping to organise a UK meet up etc. Then I had a desire to try to make money from it, I was paid for 3 years to blog for a company which was great but I never really managed to break into the magazine article business and disliked the prescribed style they seem to want. Now I have decided my blog is for me – I have a good career I dont need another one, I write what I like, when Iike, I have started to include other interests so it isnt all gardening focussed and that was quite a step but my readership numbers continue to slowly climb and it is a great gateway to finding out about other things and meeting people.

    The only downside is the never ending emails wanting me to host guest posts, do guest posts, review this or that, have adverts etc. I decided about two years ago I wouldn’t do much of this as I think for me it devalues the blog and I have noticed that readers arent really interested in reviews. I only now do reviews of things that really really appeal to me and it seems to work.

    I live on my own with two grown up sons and I think my blog is my voice when I want to share my thoughts etc and my sons have their own lives to lead. It has helped me articulate difficult emotions when my sister died and also work through other lesser issues.

    I cant imagine not blogging!
    Helen

    • I am a bit following your footsteps in many ways. I always wonder what to write about my own garden that does not come as repetitive. I have the confidence after designing for so long, but the garden is so tiny that I have covered most all of it in the time I have been blogging. I am not one to highlight a plant I install in my garden, one it may be one I am trialling for clients, it maybe one I rescued from a full redesign, or it may be one just so ordinary that there is no need to mention it. I design for the whole, not the parts. I also know that most plants in my area are not going to grow elsewhere with as much success. I am doing a post on the azaleas at Winterthur and the Jenkins Arboretum and can tell you, they do not grow well here, yet people keep buying them. That is a real problem with recommendations of plants by blogs across wide regions. Camellias and Mountain Laurels are another few plants having the same reputation, people like them so much, but the plant will not thrive in their area.

      Like you, I also get those same requests. I even had a money making one today. I have not even considered advertising or guest blogging. I have seen so many guest bloggers that don’t have a clue what they are talking about, and by guest blogging, that is supposed to lend some bit of authority to what one writes. I too do not do reviews either. Since I am not a writer, I would not be considered for magazines.

      I can imagine not blogging, but I still enjoy it and will continue until other circumstance changes that. It could turn into something else with photography too in time.

      Thanks for the long comment outlining your experience. It is helpful to many just starting out.

  27. I love blogging but now coming up on six years at it and rather consistently I might add, I am wondering how to I get out of it? It does indeed become a part of the blogger but still life has many facets and blogging for long term bloggers is just that, a facet of life. Life changes. I blog for a record for me to look back at because sometimes my memory is not so great. I enjoy it all but it is time consuming-so much time and as I get older time gets harder to manage. Fortunately with blogs we can take breaks as need be and get refreshed. Blogging is part of a cycle and things in life, which I think is totally a cycle of changes, always change almost like the ebb and flow of a tide.

    I knew you began blogging due to the fling. It’s very nice to understand how a blogger feels. People can at times even seem to know a blogger through the words he or she writes. I am glad I have gotten to meet you in person. You are always so thought provoking and hit the nail on the head with topics. Again, I think blogging comes down to why we do it and if we can define that and the reason is still valid after one year or one month then a blogger will continue. If the reason changes because life changes, well, so be it. I am sad so many of my original blogging friends changed their priorities and have stopped blogging. But I do understand it. I’d love demographics on garden bloggers. At one time I thought I’d do a research project on garden bloggers but again, time management puts that little to do thingy at the bottom of my list. I am content to just do my own thing. Roxanne and I work well together and like the flexibility blogging gives us so I don’t worry too much about other blogs anymore.

    I do hope the organizers at this year’s spring fling have some good wisdom. I did not think the talks last year were all that productive and were a bit one sided. Perhaps involving more attendees in a round table forum and listening to others point of view might help all of us to understand blogging better. Blogging has sure helped me to see others point of view and to realize we all have one and to respect it. I hope good things come from the fling. I know even I don’t get it all but do like my little blog so that’s why I continue. Taking breaks is good though. Enjoy your break.

    • Thanks Tina for your thoughts. I agree on how does one leave. It just pulls you right back in. I am not stopping because I visit so many gardens, both big and small, that I could do posts on them for a long time. I can approach them in different ways too. Design is not horticulture and that is not botany, or any of the other related Earth sciences. There are many ways to look at a space or piece of land and what grows on it.

      Oh don’t get me going on blogging advice. I think you would have made a great speaker last year. You would have approached it from a positive direction and also from one based in reality of how and why people blog. Experience is based on what happens now, not what happened a long time ago. Like you said, things change, and so does how bloggers do them now. I find too much of the same old, same old. No wonder people get bored and want to quit reading. Blogs should have value in some way, but I guess if it has value to the one writing that is all that matters to them. As a reader, I like to see more. I want to know something I don’t. Thanks again and enjoy your break. I am enjoying visiting big gardens and I get inspired by them. Most of my work is on large properties too.

  28. Why Blog? Well, for me it’s a matter of having an easy reason to write. I love writing almost as much as I love reading, but having realised there’s no great – or even mediocre – novel hidden inside me I’ve satisfied myself with writing about anything I can think of. I’ve been blogging on various platforms since 2004, and I love writing something that people can choose to read or not as they please.

    I guess I simply have a long-lasting, deep love affair with language; I live playing with it, shifting it around and generally having fun with it. Especially foreign languages, which is – I guess – a small part of my reasons for blogging in English rather than Danish. The major part is, though, that there’s a greater chance of somebody reading my little words if they are in a world language rather than a language with just over 5 million native speakers.

    • You really have a different reason than most for blogging. I am appreciative (and impressed) that you write so well in English. I have a hard time with foreign blogs that I have to copy and past for translation. I cannot write in any language other than English. I learned German and some Spanish, but always had a hard time writing in a different language. Your writing is interesting and I could see you coming up with a novel. Try shorter stories in eBook form. Maybe compile blog posts. Many have made that jump. Thanks for the comment!

  29. Indie says:

    My greatest passions are actually education and learning, and being part of the blogging community allows me to be involved in that in connection to a couple of my other passions – gardening and nature. Blogging is also fun and interesting for me because it involves several mediums and offers a good challenge (which prevents me from getting bored!) Sometimes it does get a little tedious (feed the blog! love it!). It is actually getting out there with a camera that usually snaps me back into enjoying it, strangely enough, even though I am no pro. I wish you safe travels!

    • Pretty much my thoughts exactly. I love learning and will always be a part of my life. Tedious is a good word on it, not that it loses enjoyment, but keeping on top of the greater scope of blogging. I too get renewed when I have something of real interest to photograph. Gardens are not really it though as I am in them with my job. I still like taking photos of them, just not much discussion on them.

  30. Helene says:

    Thoughtful post and beautiful pictures as always.
    I started blogging as a natural progression from having my own website since 1999. There I had lots of design projects and I wrote about my garden and had pictures, but a blog seemed more appropriate in terms of my garden. I have apparently lasted longer than the average blogger, my blog is now 2 1/2 years old 🙂

    • Good for you! I am a month and three weeks shy of three years. I was happy to get past that nine month period of continuing. I don’t write on my design projects because clients don’t want that and I can understand considering that they live rather well off.

  31. Fossillady says:

    Hi Donna, I loved you snail comparison . . . when it comes to blogging, that’s about the pace I go, lol, since I have too many other obligations and interests. I started my fossil blog to share my collection that otherwise would go unseen and that would be a waste now that we have the internet. Also, I have written a children’s book based on my collection and started blogging to get the word out even though I haven’t published it yet. Anyway, blogging has been an adventure and opens up other avenues while at the same time improved your writing skills . . . not to mention meeting a nice community of friends. Safe traveling, Kathi ♥

    • I think your fossil collection is great. Many are rare and all are beautiful. My fossil collection is so small and ordinary, but I like it just the same. I know the preciousness due to their age and time which the plants and creatures lived. Your children’s book really sounds interesting. I agree, meeting and talking with people all around the world that share similar interests is a great thing. I end up seeing things that I admire and would have never seen elsewhere too. Plus places I will never go too! Thanks Kathi, my trip has been very busy and fun so far.

  32. Thanks for a lovely and thought provoking post. I resisted blogging for a long time because I write several days a week as a freelance garden writer, but have found the blog offers something different. For me, the garden story is always more about people than plants or design, but writing is a very isolating process. Blogging, though, is a community. Even when I don’t have much response to a post, the blog stats let me know someone is reading. And I especially like reading other bloggers and commenting on their ideas or musings.

    • Yes, so true that blogging has the community component, a very good aspect. I cannot relate to writing as solitary, but I can with my art. I get to share it and hope others might enjoy. As per little response, I have the same experience at times. I can see many that come in but may not comment, but at least they are interested enough to check out a post. I prefer they leave a comment though so I can also return to see what they have posted. That link makes it so much easier getting to a blog, plus I see a lot of hits out on those that comment, so I know it has helped them too.

  33. I started blogging in 2006, initially to promote Garden Walk Buffalo. I used iWeb, Apple’s web software that is discontinued and unsupported, so I no long have my first year (plus) of posts. After Garden Walk and promoting Buffalo gardens, I started blogging about gardens I visited on trips from around (mostly) Europe and the the U.S. I found that I liked blogging, and was getting a good reaction. Then I helped start Buffalo’s National Garden Festival and I had even MORE to tell the world about. I’ve now found a niche in the garden tourism realm, which is a natural for me–combining my advertising and marketing experience with organizing garden-related events from bus tours to speaking engagements. The blog (among other enterprises) has given me a venue to pursue a specialty of garden tourism consulting. Now if I could only find a botanical garden, garden tour, motorcoach operator, or public garden that can afford me…

    • That is tragic to lose a year’s worth of posts. Shame on Apple for not making the transition possible. You have so much to blog about with your activities and associations. I do also with the Lewiston Walk and all the walks that happen that can be photographed. Like you, I have many groups on which to report, but I have found that not always being in my area of interest at the moment. Interests change and I always seem to come back to the garden walks, like this week, taking photo tours of the big name Philadelphia gardens. Tomorrow I am visiting Longwoods, a garden I have not seen in ages. You have such a fun job doing the advertising and marketing. I was in that field quite a long time ago and I find I miss it on occasion. So much creativity is inside with no outlet for it. Oh, I know I do it for Lewiston, but like you, would love doing a botanical garden for example. Bursting with ideas every time I visit. I am going to post my ads and poster soon because Lewiston’s Fest is right around the corner being first. They need the publicity and I get a lot of views for them. Searches too! I am going to San Fran which you are not this year, right? That happens at a time when all is getting into gear in Buffalo. Thanks Jim for adding a new perspective. Many in garden blogging don’t have garden walks in their area and could learn about them from your organizational posts. Hey, learn from the master, right?

  34. It is interesting to see how and why folks started…my posts have progressed and I have talked about why I blog…anyone can read that in my first few posts…but I keep plugging away…I too do not find any lack of subject matter…quite the contrary it is time to get it done. I made a commitment to myself to blog every Monday and have not missed one. I plug away at it sharing the things I love and I learn from blogging and the blogging community about many things.

    I hope you are well and I wish you a belated birthday. We both started around the same time and we are still blogging.

  35. Brian Comeau says:

    Love the snails. And the blog!!! For me blogging was an outlet, a way to get my thoughts out but also to get me to think different about photography. I wanted to get away from “taking” photos and to start creating some photographs; but with some purpose. Get people thinking. Writing is very much a struggle for me and something I’m very insecure about. At first I planned on one a week but that became too much pressure and cut into family time on occasion. So I’ve taken the philospophy that I’ll say something when I have something to say. I’d love to write more but this seems like what works best for me at this stage. Still learning as I go.

    • I have to agree with you. It made me also jump from just documenting for my job and looking to add the art back into photography. I had not really done that since college. That is my favorite part of the craft too, although in college it was darkroom work. I love making a photo have life and seeing that others might see the vitality I might try to instill in a work. Plus it made me try new things in photography, like the studio work. If I did not have a career already, I would go into studio photography. I found I love shooting people and product. It would be nature photography, but too much sitting around waiting.

  36. 1. Why did you start blogging?
    I am a right-brain person who has worked for 35 years in a left-brain occupation (as an editor and course developer for a university’s distance-learning program). When I started my blog on Nov. 1, 2010, I think that I was afraid that my right brain would mutiny and leave my head if I didn’t give it regular exercise. I needed an outlet that was primarily creative.
    2. Did it start slow?
    No, from the first day it was a Mon.-Fri. photoblog, meaning that I was going to have to “feed” it with one of my photos and a funny title and caption five days a week. Little did I know what a taskmaster a M-F blog could become (especially if you’re compulsive–I have never missed a weekday post).
    3. Do you feel like a rat on a wheel or are you part of a big, happy blogging family?
    I usually pre-schedule all of my posts for a week on a Sunday, but some weeks I am just one or two posts ahead of my readers. This “stress” is counterbalanced by the immense joy I get from creating my posts and from reading the comments of my followers. I am now on a first-name basis with bloggers from around the world. FORGET Facebook. This is MY virtual community. I have even begun e-mail friendships with a few of my blogging friends. (I finally have a virtual friendship with another guy who is as crazy about flowers and gardening and garden centers–and photography–as I am!)

    YOU said it best, Donna, “You start something on a whim and find out it becomes part of who you are or who you have become.” I never got much satisfaction out of my “career.” It was just a paycheck. Because of my blog, I don’t HAVE to self-identify as a “course developer.” I can now lay claim to being a “Photographer and Humorist,” and the feedback from my followers validates that I do these things well. Blogging gave me that, and it is worth more than diamonds to me.
    –John

    • What a wonderful and thorough reply. I wish you would have posted earlier so others could have read this comment. I knew of your need for creativity and how you jumped in head first. I did not know you try to do them ahead, but it makes sense. It would be stressful to have to do it each day for that post. I too have a number in the hopper, but what I find is whatever I am currently working on is what I want to post immediately. The ones waiting usually are for when I travel.

      It is great you made so many friends. Your followers are very loyal too. I think mine change often, but some have been around since the beginning and rarely miss a post. Time is really an issue at this time of year for me. I wish I could visit as much as I used too, but like you, work gets in the way! Plus in the last few years, I am traveling more too.

      • Anyone who clicked the box to see the follow-up comments will see what I wrote. Our lives have been somewhat insane these last 10 days. I work an 8-5, M-F job, so I HAVE to pre-schedule my posts! (So far I haven’t written any posts past today’s. I built and manage the website for my brother’s company, and he asked me to make several changes which have tied me up.)

        • I see you must get images from campus too. I do a website for a garden club too. I am always making changes there. We moved it to GoDaddy this year and I had to build it all over again. It came from Microsoft that closed the free service. I used to run four I built, but I got three of them to get someone else. My images are still on the sites and I allowed them to keep them. Why don’t you do an image without a caption and let readers do the captions. I know they do anyway, but once a month or week it could be their “show”. You would get a bit of a break.

          • That’s a great idea! The number of people who leave comments has dropped off considerably lately, so maybe a little reader participation would help that. Because a major traffic bridge connecting the lower and upper campuses is closed for repairs this summer, I have to go through the new student union and ride the escalators to get to my office. I took all of the shots for the blog this week during my trips through Baker Center.

  37. Dear Donna, Blogging started as a use of time while husband was commuting long hours. The longer we are into retirement the more I see blogging taking a backseat. I don’t think I will stop blogging but I don’t see myself being as active as I once was.

  38. I am catching up with blogs/posts, and probably my comment is not adding anything new here, but I wante to state how important is pusuing in any activity it is important for one. For me blogging is as much communicating as a research and a personal conversation, it hasn’t been easy for me to blog up in the past months, and I realized how much I need it, I am happy publishing, if I have readers who enjoy the blog, I am happier!

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