Happy Birthday, Gardeninacity!

In the Spring of 2012, a few months after I started Gardeninacity, I was dismayed to read that there was a workshop at the Spring Fling for garden bloggers that asked the question: is garden blogging dead?

Goldfinch on purple coneflower

My reaction: WAIT! NOT YET! I’M JUST GETTING THE HANG OF THIS!

Actually, I recently received an email from WordPress informing me that Gardeninacity is one year old. I have to say that my first year of blogging has been very rewarding.

The idea of starting a garden blog appealed to me for several reasons. First, I like to show off my garden, which has become something closer to a mania than a hobby. Though I am a reserved sort of person, shy really, the fact is that I crave recognition for my garden the way a new mother wants her baby to be admired.

Second, I do enjoy writing. What’s more, I enjoy writing short essays of several hundred words that I cannot post on Facebook or Twitter.

Bumble bee on Knautia macedonica

Finally, I needed more distraction so that I was not constantly thinking about my job. I love and admire many of the people I work with, and I believe in what we do. However, we work in a field where cynicism can reach toxic levels, and I need an antidote.

Well, this blogging stuff has provided distraction in spades. The first few months, my goal was to write one post per week. Then it was two posts. Now I write something roughly every other day. Over the course of the year, I’ve written more than 100 posts.

It has not always been easy. For me the biggest challenge was hitting the right tone: friendly, conversational, upbeat. I do a fair amount of writing at work, and the style I need to use there is very different: factual, understated, occasionally a bit sarcastic. What’s more, people who know me would not call me upbeat. I’ve been told that if I were a character from Winnie the Pooh, it would be Eeyore.

So when I sit down to write a blog post I have to change my mindset, and that is a good thing. Moreover, I feel that I’ve had some success along those lines. For instance, I’ve gotten much more comfortable with the use of exclamation points!

Purple coneflowers and Casa Blanca lilies

And I’ve come to understand the meaning of “on-line community”, which I had thought to be a phrase without meaning. But I was genuinely excited when people like yourselves started commenting on my blog. And through your comments and your blogs, I did in fact get to know a community of people.

This has been gratifying not just because I’ve discovered so many folks with good hearts who are full of useful knowledge and entertaining observations, but also because these people are from all over the USA and all over the world: the UK, Canada, Italy, Russia, Malaysia, the Philippines … in fact, gardeninacity has been viewed by people in 90 countries.

I have to acknowledge a special debt to my loving and talented wife Judy, who encouraged me to start this blog, and who provides almost all the photographs. She may be having second thoughts now that I frequently badger her to take more pictures for new posts. I am also extremely appreciative of all the people who read and write comments on Gardeninacity.

Monarch Butterflies on Zinnia

I am still new to this, but my experience over the last year is that garden blogging is not dead. Perhaps it is contracting because of other social media, I don’t know. For now, it seems to me that blogging provides a depth of expression, both written and graphic, that other media do not. And that’s good, because I’d like to have at least another couple of years.

62 Comments on “Happy Birthday, Gardeninacity!

  1. Happy Birthday to your fantastic blog! I agree that the blogging community is fun to be a part of! I have learned so much as well from all of the people that I have met. Ya gave me a good chuckle when you compared yourself to Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh! Your wife is a good lady for taking so many beautiful pics! Keep up the wonderful work and I can’t wait to follow along!

  2. Happy Birthday to your blog! I have really enjoyed your variety of posts and pictures of your beautiful garden. Looking forward to posts of the future.
    Brenda

  3. And as a co-worker of sorts and another avid gardener, I enjoy your posts. Always interesting to find you share a love of nature with someone you never expected also had the same love.

  4. Happy first blogiversary Jason and Judy! Your posts and comments are always clever, upbeat, and funny, I enjoy them very much. The online community concept seemed a little odd to me as well until I experienced it. What fun to share snippets of lives from around the world, to see and lust after gardens in other zones, and to be thankful that we live in our own zone after all. So here’s to at least a few more years of garden blogging!

  5. Congratulations on our blogoversary! As long as our community gets something out of this exercise, garden blogging will thrive. Like you, I can’t think of another medium that fills the same niche. It has been wonderful to get to know you and Judy virtually, and to read/view your excellent posts! I hope we can meet in person someday.

    • I’d like that. We drive through Wisconsin sometimes on the way to the twin cities. I’ll let you know when we do, and maybe you can show us your garden.

  6. Happy Birthday! I enjoy reading your posts and looking at the pictures Judy took. You two make a great blog team. Wising you many more years of engaging in your garden therapy!

  7. Happy Blogiversary! I love your reasons for starting a blog…and I think they are similar to my own reasons. I also find that my “blog voice” is very different from my usual one. Actually, I guess I’d just say it’s the kinder, gentler part of me (I’m generally sarcastic to the extreme). Gardening brings out the best in me…it’s something I really love…and I think that’s something a lot of garden bloggers have in common 🙂

    • Very hard to imagine you as being sarcastic, Scott. But I have to say you do have one outstanding blog. I’ve picked up a lot of ideas about grasses and design, and you’re writing is very entertaining. Thanks for the good wishes!

  8. Congratulations! Garden blogging certainly isn’t dead or dying as long as we all keep commenting on all the new posts that come along! I think it is wonderful being in touch with so many people round the world who are also obsessed with gardening!! I was pushed into it by my son who turned up one weekend with a lap top and told me it was time I learned how to use a computer and that he had set up a gardening blog for me!!! Help – what a stressful weekend that was, but now, I wouldn’t be without it!

    • That’s a great story about your son showing up with a laptop. You must have been exasperated at the time, but now it sounds like you’re very glad he pushed you!

  9. Happy Blogiversary. I feel quite old by comparison as I am coming up to my 5th year. I saw posts about that workshop last year and personally thought the notion was rubbish! There has been talk of things like twitter taking over from blogging but as you say you cant post a short essay on twitter. I have been a heavy user of twitter over about 3 years but have recently fallen out of love with it, it seems to be full of people like your work colleagues! I am now fully reengaged with my blog and the blogging community which is full of nice friendly like minded people who arent out promoting themselves all the time.
    Through blogging I have had my eyes opened to new plants, new horticultural techniques, new ideas, new approaches, new gardens and discovered like minded folk all over the world. I have never regretted starting my blog and cant imagine not having it. I hope you feel the same in 4 years time!!
    Helen

    • Five years, that’s impressive. I’m reassured that you the idea of the end of blogs is something you don’t take seriously. I’ve been following twitter but can’t get the hang of writing for it. For one thing, I keep calling it “twitting” which my kids think is hilarious.

  10. Your blog is one of the best written ones I follow. Pix too. And useful and interesting. I’m surprised it is only one year old. Happy birthday, gardeninacity!

  11. Congratulations Jason and Garden In A City on your first blogaversary! May there be many more years of blogging for you. It is indeed life changing.
    Frances

  12. Happy Birthday Jason! It has been a treat to follow your blog over the past year, you do a great job at always having something interesting to share. I find that to be the most difficult part for me as a blogger, I feel like after two years I’ve run out of interesting things to blog about, but I still love to read what everyone else is up to. I hope your inspiration continues for many years to come!

    • Thank you! I really enjoyed your last post about the wood ducks. My guess is don’t try to think of interesting things and they’ll just come to you.

  13. Congrats on your blogiversary! Wishing you many happy returns!! Blogging is definitely different than other forms of writing, but in a good way. Keep it up!!

  14. Happy Blogbirthday, Jason and Judy! This post really touched me. Gardening, like writing, can sometimes be a solitary pursuit. And that’s both good and not so good. Garden blogs really give us the chance to share what we love with people who understand and can share with us as well. What a gift!

  15. Congratulations, Jason. Way to hang in there, Judy. And many thanks to both of you. I really enjoy your voice and your gardening passion. I though the posts asking for design advice were both brilliant and brave. One hundred posts in a year? Tops gardenhood, for sure, at only just over 4o in two.

    I appreciate your expression of experiencing on-line community, and join you in the astonishment that it actually occurs.

    How would you like to receive the Leibster blog award as a blogiversary present? If it sounds like fun, you know the drill: Thank and link gardenhood. Disclose 11 random facts about yourself. Answer the eleven question in my “acceptance” post http://gardenhood.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/only-because/. Nominate 11 other blogs. Ask them 11 pertinent questions. Here’s the logo.

    Either way, celebrate!

    • Thank you so much, Cheryl. I’m extremely flattered about the Leibster but I think I’m going to do at least a brief moratorium on the blog awards. The thought is very much appreciated, though!

      • Understood. :-] They’re so time consuming, and, more importantly, your readership is stellar.

  16. Happy Birthday to your blog! After over three years, I am still hanging in there, averaging about one post/week. I have been impressed with how nice the gardening blog world is, filled with nurturing folks with optimistic spirits. Gardening, and garden blogging, does cause one to focus on the beautiful and creative aspects of life, and the world would be a much better place if everyone did it. I enjoy your own blog very much, and tell your wife her photos are fabulous!

  17. Happy blog birthday Jason and Judy. I would have never guessed you shy because your writing is always like sitting down with a friend. And you are a very generous commenter, not many like you. Many come and say nothing.

    I agree blogging is very much alive, but many are not of the same mind that are blogging. I have a post coming up (that I wrote a month and a half ago) with some thoughts on this, “What attracts YOU to the blogs you read.”

    Too many are quitting and questioning continuing to post with getting less and less readers. A few that read my blog have posted with this very reservation in their own posts. So I questioned them – why do they read certain blogs? Maybe take a hint from those they read and restructure.

    Blogging is time consuming, but like you, I too can post frequently. It seems unending for things that interest me, but I often skirt around gardening. Always related in some way, but not always so obvious. My job is ‘gardening’ sort of, so I get myself bored of it. Blogging is an outlet like you mentioned where creativity is what I determine, not my clients. I loved your look at this subject, it fascinates me how people get to thinking blogging is dead. Once the passion is gone, it is dead for that individual, not the rest of us.

    • I have not had a problem coming up with topics I like. Having the time to read all the blogs I want is a challenge. It is sad that some blogs I’ve liked seem to have gone dormant. Thanks so much for your generous encouragement!

  18. Your blog has hit its stride in its first year, and it’s a pleasure to read. And Judy’s photos are excellent. And the best part is that it sounds like you are enjoying it all… not struggling to find topics or worrying about readers. So for year two my advice is Carry On! If you will write, I will read.

  19. Jason, I’m a few days late to the party, but I definitely want to wish you a belated Happy Blogaversary! Like you, I’ve been amazed by the quality of virtual community among garden bloggers, which was something I had no idea existed until I stumbled into it. It makes me happy to have you as part of that community.

  20. Congratulations on one year! I hope you continue, and BTW, thank you for the Charleston and Savannah posts. I enjoyed them.

  21. Hi Jason and happy birthday on your blog – sorry it’s belated! I’ve very much enjoy following your blog and reading your writing as well as looking at the beautiful pictures. I hope to continue doing so for a long time into the future.

  22. Did you write this just for me? Of course not, but it sure feels like it. I started blogging a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been asking myself why I’m adding something else to the plate. I spend so much time sitting here, pounding keys for newspaper, website, and magazine work, then hit send and that’s the end of it. I’ve quickly discovered blogging is not the same, however. No one blogs alone! Or at least, no blog is alone. And it makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

    By the way, I learned in my first writing class that a writer is allowed one exclamation point per lifetime. So much for that.

    Happy birthday!!! Long live Gardeninacity!!!

  23. Happy bleated blog birthday, Jason! I’m finally playing catch-up with my reading. I believe it’s a tendency of Internet/social media “experts” to tell people something or another is dead – in this case blogging. I’m sure we could discuss this at length, but discussing the garden is much, much more interesting. My sincerest thanks for your writing and I greatly appreciate the time you take to comment on my own blog – which, at best, is awful. Eloquence isn’t my forte, but I’m sure glad it is yours. Keep writing. Forever!

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