Gardeners – Why blog?

Looking for inspiration? Or seeking to inspire others? We gardeners, being creative by nature, avidly scour plant encyclopaedias, books and journals for expert guidance and direction on which to base the decisions and choices we make in our own outdoor spaces. We spend many hours touring the gardens of others, both grand and bijou, looking for ideas to adapt at home. However many of us are now tuning in to the thoughts, ideas and experiences of our fellow amateur enthusiasts for vision – for we have a comparatively new resource in the gardening blog. 

I’m intrigued by the concept of blogging and the reasons so many gardeners, including myself, have embraced this modern age writing medium. Relatively speaking, this is no doubt a very small number of gardeners, but it’s still significant enough to have got me thinking seriously about why we do it. 

However, before I go on to explore the reasons gardeners blog, it’s probably useful to provide a definition. To be precise, ‘blog’ is the abbreviated form of ‘weblog’ and it’s described as ‘a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style’ 

Believe it or not, when researching the origins of the ‘blog’, I found that there are bloggers who specialise in the art of blogging and I noted at least ten who appear to be making a living from it, running on line courses, offering seminars and advertising on their sites. One such blogger notes that todays blogs have ‘moved forward from being online journals to tools for driving serious change, building oneself  as an authority or building a community of like-minded people to connect’ 

Websudas takes this concept further when identifying that many blogs are issue-based, aiming to ‘sway people’s thinking in a certain way’, whilst in a more straightforward and practical way, Gunelius describes five purposes for blogging; business, fun, networking, journalism or education. 

It seems that there are business opportunities in blogging; having perused a few examples listed in the Vuelio’s top 50, it is clear that sport, popular culture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogs dominate in terms of prevalence and many advertise for third parties on their sites, but is this why gardeners blog – to make money? 

I follow quite a few gardening blogs, and in my experience, the motivation is not about money, it’s about fun and a genuine desire to join a community. Gardeners are by nature creative creatures – painting pictures with plants is a big part of what we enjoy doing and many of these blogs are highly creative. Making a garden is also a significant achievement – worthy of great pride and a desire to share it – showing off if you like. It’s fascinating to take tours from the comfort of the living room through the gardens we follow – there are some fantastic photographs!

Horticultural bloggers, such as the award winning Blackberry Garden, share both their successes and failures and offer fellow gardeners useful tips and recommendations about plants, growing, designing and even sharing cuttings and spare plants. We’re also a caring lot, ask a gardener for help and you’ll get it in abundance – nurture and nature of course being closely aligned. There’s an air of gentility, companionship and peacefulness inherent in gardening blogs and there’s a distinct and welcome lack of angst, ranting or rudeness. As well as advice and help, you’ll also find poetry, informative articles, eloquent prose and of course superb images. On the other hand, there’s very little advertising, garden bloggers really don’t seem to be motivated by business opportunities. Real rather than ideal, the garden blog delivers a tangibility we can all relate to.

The theme based blog is an interesting phenomenon and quite a few have been initiated by garden bloggers – peruse The Propagator’s catchy ‘Six on Saturday’, blog and you’ll find gardeners from all corners of the globe gathering together each week to share six photographs related to a garden or plant based topic. I really do enjoy selecting six pictures either from the garden or my experiences of the day to share with the SoS brigade, but even more entertaining is the chance to see what so many other gardeners are engaging in each week. Then there’s the delightful ‘In a Vase on Monday’ theme, with gardeners arranging and sharing flowers gathered from their gardens, the no explanation required ‘Wordless Wednesday’ and the colourful ‘Flowers on Friday’, again contributed to by garden bloggers from all over the world.

So why do I blog? I love gardening, writing, photography and reading – what better way to combine my passions and if others get use or enjoyment from it, then that’s a bonus. I was extremely self conscious about sharing my words, pictures and the garden at first and in fact used it more as a journal, blogging intermittently.  Having started to blog in 2012, it was only in 2018 that I decided I would like to share my musings and tentatively added the ‘follow’ button to my site and also started to follow fellow garden bloggers. I’d realised that I did want to share my thoughts, pictures and indeed my garden with others and am now growing more confident in the sharing my efforts as the months go on and I attract more subscribers.

So…. I was recently asked what the point of ‘Blogging’ is – I really hope this post enlightens!