Journeys through the Seasons: Keeping a Garden Blog
I'm doing a free-for-members, but donations encouraged program next week for the NC Arboretum.
Why did I agree to this, I thought last week?
But this week, it's been so encouraging to think about why I write blog posts, revisit some of my many posts over the years, and summarize a few thoughts about blogging.
I thought I'd share what I'll talk about with whomever shows up. I'll be including screen-sharing, too, about how I enjoy revisiting posts (and benefit from them, too).
Below are my notes for the class. Let me know if you have additions that you think my group would appreciate!
Notes for Journeys through the Seasons: Keeping a Garden Blog
I’m so glad to share thoughts with you today around keeping a garden blog. I have found it a wonderfully enriching way to connect with my garden, our landscapes and nature over the years I’ve been doing posts and it allows me to revisit the garden years and seasons in my garden as well. My second blog site encouraged me to expand into new topics and more reflective posts.
People write blogs for many different reasons, and on many different topics, too, of course, and now other forms of social media are prevalent, too – Facebook and Instagram.
A blog is a permanent digital record of whatever you put there, easy to refer back to chronologically, along with topics and labels.
So, it can work remarkably well as a way to keep you connected with your garden, what you’ve planted, what’s work well in the past, including photos and reflections.
It can take whatever form, however, in how you’re wanting to connect with your garden – what would you like to be reminded about in the future? What did you plant and where? What did best? What disappeared? What were some of your favorites in the garden? Were there colors that you particularly enjoyed, or not? What were your favorite experiences?
A blog can keep you taking and posting photographs that serve as a visual record of change in your garden and landscape, too. Keeping track of seasonal happenings is equally rewarding – the arrival of the first hummingbird in the spring, flowering times, flocking of robins, cedar waxwings appearing, for example
You can certainly include garden journal items – seed sources, nursery sources, when you started seeds or divided perennials. But the content is really up to you.
There are a lot of garden blogs that have a strong functionality to them, with abundant “how-to” advice. That’s not my own purpose in writing about gardening and nature in my blog posts.
What I’ll share with you this afternoon is my personal version of garden and nature blogging.
I write for myself, as a creative way to reflect on what I’ve been doing, observing, and enjoying in the garden. I love the encouragement to write about it, as I’d always wanted to keep a nature journal, with drawings and beautiful prose. The blog format freed me up from the self-critical thoughts that discouraged me when I contemplated handwritten scribbles and quick sketches. The blog format allows crafting and editing prose, using one’s best photos, etc. So, I was off and running.
I actually started out anonymously, but realized that what I was writing about was the creation of gardens, vegetable gardening seasons, and observations in the natural world. This was hardly the stuff that I’d be sorry to have a colleague or student see!
So, I put my identity out there and started sharing my site with students in my gardening classes and presentations. I also started going to the Garden Bloggers Fling, an annual volunteer-run gathering of bloggers from across the country. They all are bloggers, although many also are active on social media (FB, Instagram, etc.) What a great experience!
Now at almost 2300 posts, Natural Gardening reflects so many aspects of my gardening life, spanning now 3 gardens, our former SC Piedmont garden, our garden here in Asheville, and our increasingly naturalistic native plant garden in Quebec. It is so nice to have those documented and written about. Some of you may have seen images of our Carolina gardens, as I often include them in classes and programs that I do.
But even more importantly, writing blog posts has honed my observation skills, improved my writing, and encouraged me to expand creatively in other ways, especially returning to art. In addition, I expanded my creative non-fiction format several years ago as a year-long daily writing challenge; that blog is Places of the Spirit, which encourages writing about a wider range of topics, which I enjoy.
So, let me share some of my posts and format with you and talk a bit about my process with that.
My first post on Natural Gardening was July 11, 2007. I was thinking about woodchucks.
August, 2008, is typical of my posts then and now, really, around gardening. This one about peaches on August 15 is typical of my reflections.
Similarly, doing searches around seasonal appearances and other topics are telling.
Including wider subjects in a search like “a view of the world” and “local food” bring up even more posts.
And Stockholm and Italy – travel post examples, even more.
As final thoughts, I’d like to encourage you to pay attention to what has meaning for you in your garden, your walks in the wood, and what you’re seeing in your neighborhoods.
I recently was able to see the Contemplative Photography exhibit at the Baker Center in the Arboretum. It totally captures the visual side of what I’d like to encourage any of you around blog posts.
I like writing posts, but they’re usually accompanied with one or two photos. I so enjoy writing reflections on what’s inspired or interested me that day.
Why not join me in doing that?