What Will Happen To The Blog?

I like to plan ahead.   Sometimes far in advance.  Really far.

Have you ever wondered what will happen to your blog posts after you are long gone? Whether you are gone in the sense that you no longer post or whether you are really gone, as in permanently from this mortal coil, what will happen in the future? Is the space available on the world wide web infinite or finite? Will it ever run out of room for more? Will they begin getting rid of stuff when that happens? Who has control over your work after you are gone? Isn’t there some kind of ownership to your creative property, something that could be willed to your offspring or others? Am I the only one pondering these sorts of morbid thoughts?

Along the same lines, have you even thought about writing a final post, to be published after you are gone? Some authors were said to have written the final novel in a series to be put out after they passed. Long ago, ages ago, we were into reading the Travis McGee mystery series written by John D. MacDonald. Click here to read what Wikipedia says about him. Every title has a color in it and the rumor was that he had written the final novel, where the lead character meets his end using the color black in the title. When Donaldson did pass away, it turned out that there was no such book in the files. Disappointing. While not actually writing such a post for this blog, I have thought about doing so. The instructions and passwords would have to be left written out, in a special sealed envelope, so the intended caretaker of these matters could get access to the administrator page and push the publish button. I told you I like to make long term plans. I am also not afraid of dying, but am not ready to leave just yet. Just planning. Too much free time on my hands, obviously.

But how could the photos be current? Or would it matter? Maybe the prettiest and favorite photos should be assembled for this grand finale. Or no photos. But there are still so many questions. What if instead of being gone forever, we just decide to stop blogging. How long will the blog remain out there? I now pay for the privelege of changing the css stylesheet at WordPress, a yearly charge. If there are no new posts, we don’t need to keep paying that, do we? Will it disappear then? This sounds like a question for the support group at WordPress.

WordPress was in fact contacted about this very question. It was difficult to get them to understand what we were asking, with several back and forths from the support staff. Finally, they got it. The answer was that the posts written would be on the internet for as long as WordPress was still functioning at no charge. Is that a relief, or not?

Just sharing a few thoughts with you today. Funny the paths down which the mind travels. When it is not kept busy. An idle mind is a scary thing, for some.

For those wondering about the relevance of the opening photo to this rambling, (or the point of this entire endeavor) the picture is the only shot I could find of a Geum. There had been a file of Geum shots for a winter plant portrait posting, but this was the only image found on the seven jump drives, ranging from 2 to 16 gigs, where the photos were stored when The Financier switched my computer from Windows Vista to Windows 7 and all photos, among other things, were erased. We cannot do a posting with just one photo, for a plant portrait anyway. There were other files for other delightful plant portraits as well, carefully culled and saved in an oh so organized and well planned fashion, to use in the down time of winter. Clematis, Cuphea and about a million Salvias, are now all a jumble in the thousands of images saved on devices. It just goes to show that careful planning does not foresee everything. And maybe some people have a teensy weensy control problem.


Added: I would like to invite all readers to read the comments that this post has provoked. There are lots of interesting thoughts, opinions and ideas in them. If you do not normally read the comments, what????, you might want to this time.

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75 Responses to What Will Happen To The Blog?

  1. Charlotte says:

    Frances – this is an interesting post and one to ponder on! Am now in the US and hoping to get up your way when the weather improves, so what about some joint posts if we visit some gardens together … even if the posts aren’t immortal??

    Hi Charlotte, thanks. I would love to get together with you! I will contact you with my info. Very exciting, the garden visits and postings! 🙂

  2. Darla says:

    I have thought about this very thing Ms. Frances. What about the people that haven’t blogged in months, are they okay? There are a few MIA’s that I used to blog with. How would I know? It’s strange but I have become quite fond of a lot of bloggers, think of and pray for them daily, just like an extended family. These are points to ponder for sure…

    Hi Darla, thanks for visiting and weighing in. I was afraid that after your recent issues this might be offensive to you in some way, and I so hoped it would not be. We also care about the bloggers, some we have met in person, but even those that are only virtual friends are in our thoughts.

  3. Liisa says:

    I too have meandered through these thoughts, Frances. I thought at some point perhaps I should print out a collection of some favorite posts and photographs. I back up my blog, but what if for some reason everything was lost to the land of your Geum images? I hadn’t thought of writing a final post, though I do like this idea. Perhaps with a collection of favorite images through the years, or maybe plants that share our ephemeral characteristics. You have brought to mind poems of Jean Janzen, and her writings of our connection with the earth. A very thought-provoking post, Frances. 🙂

    Hi Liisa, thanks for your excellent ideas on the topic. I like the thought of choosing plants to show that have our same characteristics. Maybe these ideas are not so morbid after all. Maybe more of an opportunity… 🙂

  4. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, one of the first blogs I followed the writer passed away, her nephew wrote a lovely post to end the blog. He said he would leave the blog up as long as possible, unfortunately I have forgotten the name, I think it was from Holland, or I would check.

    Hoping you will post for many years, best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Hi Sylvia, I read that post by the nephew, too! It was a couple of years ago and it made quite an impression on me as well. It makes one wonder how to handle the situation. I remember that his post was so eloquent and full of love that tears streamed down my cheeks. I appreciate your readership and friendship, Sylvia, and do plan to post for a while longer. I love doing it and the interaction of the comments so much. 🙂

  5. lotusleaf says:

    I have also thought about all those images revolving for ever in cyber space. Like the poet Burns said, “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley”.

    Hi Lotus, it is something to think about, on dreary rainy days anyway. Frost was wise, those dadburn plans have a way of going awry. 🙂

  6. Frances, what an interesting question. I have often wondered what would happen to my blog, years from now. Since I orginally started it as a journal of the garden at KIlbourne Grove, I had hoped to be referring back to it for many years, and when it passes into new hands, that they could as well. You do wonder how much “space” there is, with the huge number of bloggers every year.
    It is comforting when you find out what has happened when your favourite blogger stops, you are not left wondering if they are ok.
    Julie at My English Country Garden stopped blogging this week, and left a lovely message explaining why she is stopping. I think that is something every blogger should consider.

    Hi Deborah, thanks for stopping by. It is something to think about. We put so much of ourselves into these stories, and feel a certain connection to our readers as well. There have been bloggers that seemed to just disappear, and some who leave a message as Julie did. Food for thought.

  7. Anna says:

    What a philosophical post Frances – there’s much time for thinking in January 🙂 I must admit that it is not an issue I have pondered over but I have wondered whether the internet will cease to be at some point in the future. If that happens all our blogs will just evaporate wherever we are 😦 So sorry to hear about the loss of your photos.

    Thanks Anna. It is definitely the time of year for introspection, since working outside is at a minimum. When we think of the amount of information out there, with every book ever written being scanned plus the blogs, newspapers, just continual additions, more and more and more. Is there no limit to it? My photos are somewhere, I just don’t know where. I did find one small batch for a plant portrait, miraculously. Not the best but something. 🙂

  8. gardeningasylum says:

    WordPress could make some money if they would offer hard copies bound in book form to bloggers. Must be legal/copyright issues involved, but looking around, I’d say the content of this and many other blogs is at least comparable to a lot of published garden books. I’m old fashioned enough to think there might be a market.

    Yes, that would be great, wouldn’t it? My family always says we should have a book of the posts, but this is so much easier, assuming the web will always have them. Which I think is a rather large assumption. But again, why pay for what you can get for free? 🙂

  9. I’ve run across this topic elsewhere, Frances. It is an interesting question. My blog will one day just stop, frozen in a its time and place, I suppose. But what will become of our gardens?

    Hi Carol, thanks for dropping by. You are so right. That is my next post. 🙂

  10. Kathy Stilwell says:

    Oh my gosh, what a fabulous idea from gardeningasylum! I love it.
    It seems our thoughts are running along the same lines these days. I keep a copy of my blogs in my journal but that journal is electronic. Will a day come when there’s no electricity thus relegating it all to naught? I’ve been attempting to keep family digital pictures for the past 10 years only to find that I have some major gaps on the backups I thought I’d done to preserve everything. It is a conundrum. I am writing a story of my life for my own use in case I get alzheimers and perhaps for my children and grandchildren. Thanks for your philosophical post.

    Hi Kathy, thanks, nice to see you. Your idea of the story of your life, with photos is a good one. We began doing that with photo albums, beginning with the day our first child was born. Our kids love looking through those real life photo albums. When I got my first digital camera, those albums ended and now the photos are all over the place, some on disc, some of drives. Not the same, is it? And you still need a working computer, internet service and electricity, all somewhat questionable at times, like in Haiti. Maybe we better start printing those shots.

  11. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have often wondered about where blogs go after they have been abandoned. The last post could be a scary thought. I am glad you aren’t planning to go anyplace soon. Computers are such wonders. I am always wondering about them.

    Hi Lisa, thanks, I don’t plan to leave just yet. But it is a question we all may have thought, what will happen to these blog posts. The internet seems somehow ephemeral, dependent on a lot of things, like electricity or batteries. Maybe if someday our energy comes from the sun, and is easily renewable….

  12. Darla says:

    I have thicker skin than that, lol. I don’t get offended very easily, and the paramedic said I was full of piss and vinegar, I told him it was going to get me 47 more years!!

    Good to hear, Darla! I do believe having some fight in us is a good thing. May you see your one hundredth birthday, and beyond! 🙂

  13. Frances,
    This has been on my mind as well. Yesterday, I visited a blogger’s blog that has been MIA for months. I am keeping her on my blog roll, but don’t know what has happened.

    My son, The Archaeologist, really wants our house and gardens when we’re gone. The other son, The Pharmacist, wants to build a house on land in our neighborhood. They both consider this “home” even though we are a late-blended family (they were both 18 when The Musician and I married and will both be 26 this year). The Archaeologist is the one who got me to start my blog while he was in grad school in London. I can see him living here, continuing the garden and continuing the blog (if I have abandoned the blog beforehand!).

    Now, as for our content in cyberspace… who knows, posthumously, some of the bloggers could be famous in the year 2100 when people wonder about the plants and gardens “during our time” before the earth changed!


    Hi Cameron, thanks for your thoughts on this. What an interesting history of your family, thanks for sharing it. It sounds like you have the next generation of garden and blog covered, way to plan ahead! It is a good thought that in the future there will be photos and explanations of plants growing, where and how all over the world. 🙂

  14. James Golden says:

    What an interesting question for archaeologists of the future. I’m, of course, discounting the personal feelings involved in this, but does it really matter? It would be personally satisfying if the blog publishers made it possible to download some kind of readable, easily accessible file so we could store our own blog contents. But here, as elsewhere, we are up against the large, anonymous corporate entity that only has one real purpose–to make money.

    Hi James, thanks, nice to see you. I agree, having the blog as hard copy is a wonderful dream. Maybe some smart person will see that there is money to be made with that.

  15. Hi Frances,
    I rode to work with my husband this morning because the radio people said the streets were icy. I’m not sure what streets they were talking about, because ours weren’t. He has to be here half an hour before I do, and stays half an hour longer.

    I enjoyed reading parts of this post to him. You posed some interesting thoughts here. I love your sense of humor.

    I actually came here because I reread your suggestions about the kitchen remodel, and wanted to tell you that I am glad I did. When the guy wanted us to list the order of importance of cost, function, style and the latest technology, I’m thinking that was Larry’s order of importance, and mine had the first 2 switched. I did email the guy a couple days ago with some things I thought of. One was, that I want to get the highest quality of materials that we can afford. I like what you said about not skimping. Well, he comes out Monday. I’ll have to ask if I can take some photos.

    Oh, and I feel your pain over losing photos. When my dad gave me his computer after getting a new one, Larry lost my iphoto library while switching things over. I am still grieving that loss.

    Hi Sue, thanks. That makes me happy that you and your husband enjoyed this little diversion, it was meant to be light hearted, even if the subject matter was somber. That is exciting about the kitchen. I hope your dream kitchen comes to fruition! We watch the house hunters show and every single person wants stainless appliances and granite countertops, no matter the price point. The women often squeal with delight when they are found. I don’t have granite, but the corian or quartz are nice too, and possibly more *green*, which is appealing to a larger market these days. The loss of photos is so sad. We lost six months of photos when the mother board crashed a few years ago. Pre blogging, but lots of family shots were lost. We really need to print some, really.

  16. Beckie says:

    Frances, a litle deep for me this morning…:). But now that I think about it, it would be nice if a farewell post could be left. On one of the blogs I read, the daughter left a final note. Very comforting to those of us who were left to wonder.

    But, I do think you have way too much time on your hands and you really need to get some gardening catalogs out and start reading them!! 🙂

    Hi Beckie, HA, you are so right about too much time on my hands, and brain! The catalogs are perused, online and in hand, believe me. I have many ideas and would love to be carrying them out in the garden. But it is just a wee bit early yet. And the mulch bags are frozen, hard to spread it when the clumps are like boulders! I do believe a final goodby post for the blog, and maybe a video for the family isn’t a bad idea. You see those videos on TV all the time, usually involving a mystery to be solved. But the question is, when to make it? 🙂

  17. Frances,

    Interesting question. I have mused about a final post before but somehow writing it just doesn’t feel right! Sorry to hear about your photos. I keep mine on an external hard drive. A new operating system won’t effect it and I can move the hard drive when I need to.

    Hi Dave, thanks. We talked about the hard drive, but it did not happen. My husband has bought two hard drives for me, one went to The Hop ice cream shop for their records, and the new one has his stuff on it. I want my own. I guess I am being a helpless female, and should just go get one. I have the photos, or some of them, or I don’t know, they are all mixed up, not in the folders they were in on the computer so I can’t find stuff, even though I have looked. My eyes kind of glaze over after a while and I lose concentration and focus. Then I get mad because they were so nicely organized before. HA

  18. Rose says:

    Frances, I think these long gray winter days are giving us all time to consider the meaning of life…or the meaning of blogging. In all seriousness, this is a good question and one I’ve wondered about. Recently, a blogger that I read regularly passed away. She had been posting infrequently, and we knew something was wrong, but she wouldn’t say. Finally, her daughters posted updates on her health and let us know of her passing. This was much appreciated, because otherwise how would we have known? There are other bloggers at the end of my blogroll who haven’t posted in months, including one whose last post talked about some personal problems. I wish there was some way they could do a final post, like “I”m ok, but just don’t have time to blog anymore” or “I’ve decided to enter the convent.” Anyway, not a bad idea to store the password in a safe place with other documents.

    Hi Rose, thanks for your thoughts, you are so right, I am blaming the weather. What to do is a quandry. There are many blogs on my blogroll that have not posted in a long time, I don’t have the widget with their latest post to know for sure. We do need to have the passwords and instructions available to get into the administrator, or add another person, like you do with bank accounts. Love the convent remark, you should do a stand up routine! (With Beckie, of course!) 🙂

  19. Daphne says:

    I can’t imagine my blog living as long as I do. I change too much over the years. What is important one day, is not as important to me the next. I always wonder if I will be one of those blogs that just disappears into the ether one day and no one knows what happened. I’m guessing I would write a last post before leaving but who knows. But maybe it will just fade away. I’m always saddened when that happens to one of the blogs I love reading.

    As to copyright issues. Your content is copyrighted as soon as you write it. And after your death the copyright is passed to your heirs for 70 years (though I think it can be longer in some circumstances). I think in most of Europe it lives on 25 years after your death. Then it passes into the public domain.

    Hi Daphne, thanks for the law on copyrights, good to know. As you have already figured out, we all change so much over the years, will we still feel like making the blogging effort in the future? One thing I know, I think, is that I will always love gardens and gardening, no matter how infirm I become. I might not be able to write and take pictures, but I will want to have my hands in the dirt. I need dirt! But that is another post. 🙂

  20. Phillip says:

    I haven’t thought about what would happen to the content but I do wonder sometimes about bloggers who stop blogging with no explanation. If I suddenly died, I can’t think of anyone close to me who would know how to post or delete the blog. It makes you wonder!

    Hi Phillip, thanks for your thoughts. I think you might want to leave some instructions for that final post somewhere. Or at least I want to have a finish, an ending so that people will be able to say “That’s all she wrote!”. 🙂

  21. Sweet Bay says:

    Frances I remember listening to a story about this sort of thing on NPR in the last year. I would image that after a certain period of inactivity the domain holder would contact the user — if no response the content would be deleted.

    Printing out a book for permanent safekeeping is a wonderful idea. My husband has a relative who printed out a small book of her NC mountain photos.

    Hi Sweet Bay, I do think the printed book thing is a good idea. Because I use the wordpress.com, rather than fairegarden.com (which I own but never used, just to keep someone else from using it, and I have to pay a yearly fee to have it too!), wordpress assured me it would not be deleted, ever. I suppose that could change though. It was hard to get that question across to them. 🙂

  22. Janet says:

    Good morning Frances, interesting thoughts this morning. I guess I am not concerned about what happens after I am gone…or at least I haven’t given it any thought. As for losing photo files (or misplacing them) is always a worry. We have an external hard drive, but it is attached to the household computer, not the one I usually download my photos to. I do think you have a good point about printing some of the photos to put into an album. I have a couple of shoeboxes of unfiled photos now, I can’t imagine how long it would take me to put all into an album. One day…….when I have time. hahaha

    Hi Janet, thanks. I think you have enough on your plate to not have the idle thoughts about this stuff, what with your move and all. Our external hard drive in on the desktop too. I don’t want my photos and blog stuff mixed in with that. Printing, we need to do it. All of our photos were put right into albums as soon as they pictures were developed. Those albums are what would be grabbed in case of a fire.

  23. VP says:

    Frances – you scared me for an instant having seen a couple of people have stopped blogging today!

    I sometimes ponder this conundrum too, particularly as I have no children to hand over the reins to – assuming offspring want to carry on the work of their parents and we carry on blogging into our dotage of course!

    I’ve thought about leaving a letter with my solicitor, with instructions of how to create the post and showing what I’d like to be said. No photos, because that would make it more complicated and less likely for someone to do on my behalf.

    Perhaps such a post could be left in draft ready for the right buttons to be pressed?

    Some of my blogfriends seem to have stopped blogging lately and I miss them dearly. It’s good when people leave a goodbye so you at least know for sure what’s going on.

    I’d like to think our thoughts would remain in the ether somewhere. Partly because I won’t have family to carry me on in their memories and partly because I believe blogging is a marvellous window into what’s going on in so many lives today.

    Hi VP, sorry to scare you, but thanks for the concern. We are not at all ready to hang it up with the blogging, but know that someday we might not want, or be able to keep it going. I do think having a draft is the way to go. You could change it every once in a while, as you see fit. Even with four kids, who knows if they would want to continue this blog? I can’t imagine any of them wanting to. It is my story, not theirs. But do think one of them could push the publish button for the final, prewritten goodbye. I notice none of them has responded to this, they are so busy now with their own lives.


  24. VP says:

    PS I am also thinking of putting some of my posts into a book as a number of our older relatives don’t have computers and don’t really understand what I do, yet would like to see something of it. I’d choose posts that they’d particularly like: e.g. NAH’s aunt is a ex-allotmenteer, a cat lover and lives in Dorset, so you can guess which posts would be steered in her direction! It could make a rather nice Christmas or birthday gift don’t you think?
    I’m already making calendars from favourite photos – everyone got a cat calendar this Christmas!

    Yes to the book idea, VP. Now to find the cheapest way to do so. Might have to look into self publishing, family members have already suggested this. How fun to make the cat calender, an excellent gift and well received, I am sure. 🙂

    • VP says:

      Yes it was the most fun present to do of everything I did for Christmas. I did one of photos suited to each month the year before. It’s fun to select the photos and add everyone’s birthdays onto the right days, public holidays etc etc and then write the message on the front. It’s made me ponder if more in the way of homemade gifts is the way to go next year.

      There’s quite a few companies around who seem to do books fairly cheaply as long as it’s kept relatively simple – more like a photo album with accompanying text rather than an actual book. You can choose the number of pages, whether it has a soft or hard cover. Often the minimum order is one and you load up the content in a similar way to loading up a blog. I don’t have any website links to hand, but I’m sure there’s plenty available in the US

      Hi VP, thanks for returning. I did not put the birthdays on the calenders I made because some were given to non family members. The kids were bummed! I did look into the self publish sites and found the same thing, a per page charge. I was wondering if I could just print it myself. It seems easy enough, since the posts are already written. Selecting the right number, and making them by month of gardening tasks perhaps seems like it would be fun. Better than wondering what will happen to the blog, to be doing something constructive!

  25. Catherine says:

    I’m also someone who thinks and plans far ahead. I had thought about what would happen to my blog if I wasn’t able to post for some reason. Like a few other commenters mentioned there are bloggers who have just stopped suddenly and I wonder what happened. This was a good topic to ponder today.

    Hi Catherine, thanks for stopping by and weighing in. I can tell you are a planner just by reading your posts. The comments are certainly good for helping ideas form. A final post with instructions, or a goodbye post if we decide to stop blogging are both good ideas. I really like the book idea too. Something you can hold in your hands, not needing electricity, the internet or a computer, is quite appealing. 🙂

  26. Tatyana says:

    Thank you Frances! Philosophical post. Sometimes, I think: What if…? Then, I run to my desk and drawers and start sorting my papers and pictures. I threw a lot of them away! As for the blog – yes, a book!

    Hi Tatyana, thank you for visiting. These moments of reflection sometimes can give birth to good ideas. The book one is something doable, maybe. Even if we have to print it ourselves. I was just adding up the cost of photo grade paper and ink cartridges! 🙂

  27. Jen says:

    You’ve given me a lot to think on today. I always assumed my blog would live on after I’m gone – part of my legacy to my kids. Where they might go to find a favorite recipe, or renew memories of playing with our dog. I never considered having to pay to keep it up. But I guess it stays there once it’s up, huh? Not a bad idea to back up, though.

    Hi Jen, thanks, that was the idea. The thought of your kids seeing themselves on your blog is a sweet one, a very good response. It does sound like it stays without any money required. I only pay as long as I am still writing posts, and using a theme that needs tweaking to meet my vision for the blog. That is fine, but I didn’t want it to disappear if I don’t pay, and it sounds like it won’t.

  28. Barbarapc says:

    I saw a diary from the 1800s at the Royal Botanical Garden that was hidden away in the herbarium mainly because she had collected and pressed a large variety of plants that were growing around her Ontario residence – providing an excellent record of the native plant material. It was kept and preserved because of who she was and what she wrote about. Obviously we can all put our posts together in books and give them to our family – but what makes blog material worthy of preservation – the quality of writing, the photos, or maybe the ability to influence? Perhaps in the future, the criteria for saving blog bits will not be too different from what we’ve done in the past – #1 – who wrote it & #2 how important is the information to those who must keep it.

    Hi Barbara, thank you for such a thoughtful response. Who knows what or who will be considered important in the future? To family, or people doing geneology work, the blog material would have value, I believe. To others, doubtful, but nice to think it would matter to someone. Already, with the wordpress stats, I can see what posts are viewed the most, and try to figure out why, what google searches bring them to so many long after the initial posting. Right now, the muhly grass post is the number one for hits, written over a year ago. It used to be the Lamb’s Ear Love and the moss posts are right up there. The How to’s might offer something to people in the future as well. Fun to think about when deciding what to write.

  29. Cinj says:

    Very good questions indeed Frances. I don’t find myself with much time to think about such things, somehow I manage to keep too busy. I guess I had always assumed it would just stay around forever but wow, you’ve given us a lot to ponder…

    Lucky you, Cindy, being so busy to not think about such things. When my kids were younger, and living at home, life was quite different for me as well, never a moment to ponder. Now it is the opposite, with lots of pondering. The phases of life, one supposes. 🙂

  30. Dear Frances, When I first started reading this important post I found myself thinking… “what is making Frances think this way?” Then reading you lost your well organized folders … erased… poof… gone … well it may not have inspired this post but it might for me. Thank goodness for back ups but there is so much work in finding what one needs. Very thoughtful and engaging post… vital questions too. Poignant … in how we never know… erasure is a unpredictable thing. Heres to spring … rebirth and many happy blogging years to come. Now you have me thinking of my last post … a great idea really and to see it over the years and how we might tweak it. LOL ;>)) Carol

    Hi Carol, you are very insightful. Sometimes we get down, just a wee bit, even though we are normally quite optimistic. The photo mess was an annoyance, not a big deal really, at all. I loved your recent post of inhale, exhale. Nature’s rhythms. Thinking beyond the day to day is good for the soul sometimes. 🙂

  31. I do admire your propensity for planning ahead, and someone already used the Burns’ quote, so I’ll quote the 70’s band Kansas, “all we are is dust in the wind.” At some point, we, our gardens, and probably all our photos and online life will vanish, most likely lost forever, even if we get it printed up in book form. If you want something to last, carve it really deeply in stone, but even then, somebody might come along to use it as part of their house.
    I have thought of what would happen if something unexpectedly happened to me. I would hope my husband or my children would post the news on the blog, so there would be no unexplained disappearance. (Of course if they perished with me, I haven’t made provision for alternate blog executors, so there goes that idea.) But in the end, I’ll be dead, so why should I care what happens to my blog? It’s more important to worry about what I can and will do while I’m here.
    Is that too dark and existential?

    Not at all too dark, MMD. And you have written something that is already in the next post to come. You are right, eveything will be gone at some point, as it should be, the only thing constant is change. I would hope the family would post something if I were no longer able to, but they would need passwords and instructions written down to do so. As for caring about anything that happens after we are gone, isn’t that the reason you will want your children to go to college, or meet the right mate, have a happy life? We do care, not for us, but for them and for their kids and so on. It is what makes us human.

  32. I’ve considered leaving instructions for a final post, in the event, but it seems a little unfair to ask the survivors, if there are any, to carry on with the blogging, of all things. So: I’ve also thought about creating a post to act as a dead-man’s switch, something dated in advance that I would have to change the date on every so often, such that if I were incapacitated for a certain period of time, it would post itself automatically.

    The reason I haven’t done this yet is because writing such a post is both creatively daunting (I have to come up with something to be my last post ever?? And how do you make your own death funny and/or botanically relevant?) and technically difficult (how long after there’s been no activity should such a post go up? What if I just get sick for a long time, and that’s why I can’t post, and I’ve just told everybody that I’m dead?). Plus also kind of emotionally oogy.

    But I’ve thought about it.

    Rather a lot, actually. I mean, it’s kind of disturbing, now that I think about all the thinking.

    You are a thoughtful fellow, all right, Mr. Sub. That is what we love about you! I agree about carrying on with the blog, it is our voice, not theirs and if they want to blog they should start their own. A couple of my kids have done just that, although not the same as mine of course. I like the dead man’s switch idea, but wouldn’t know how to set it up. I do think a final draft of some sort could be made anytime, with instructions left on paper on how to finish it. I have thought of the opening sentence, “If you are reading this post, it means that I am gone”, or something to that effect. I do think we can make our deaths funny, I know you can because you are just funny, period. If not funny, bring a smile at least. Now that is a pleasant, not disturbing thought, bringing a smile, isn’t it? 🙂 I had to add it.

  33. Joanne says:

    Hi Frances I am sure many of us have wondered like yourself. Since I started blogging last February I have lost now the third blogging friend who is/has stopped blogging, two I have been in e mail contact with and one infact popped up and posted on my blog today which was lovely. Her garden blog is still there and she has posted on another blog on travelling so I will be back to look. Jan of course has come and gone and come back again which is such a delight to have her back.
    My youngest daughter has been busy making some of my posts into a book of the garden which is looking lovely and will be fun to have as a hard copy because I have heard that blogs can go wrong and get lost. How worrying.
    Becky did suggest I try and get it published which would be fun especially as proceeds could go to my pet charity, surprise surprise Lyme Disease Action. I then thought what fun it would be if a publisher ran a series of books from Blotanical garden bloggers! It’s fun to dream.
    Sorry for such a long comment.

    Hi Joanne, we love long comments! All of your ideas and thoughts are much appreciated. We all know that blogging can be hard work. It takes an effort to take the photos, get them loaded and prettied up, write the narrative, answer the comments, and do that on a regular basis. When I first began blogging, I posted everyday, for there was a lot to say. After a few months, I saw the light and switched to three times a week, now am on a regular schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It leaves the weekends free for family time and allows my brain to recharge. When I told my husband that I could no longer post every day because it was too time consuming, his response was, “You think!”, and he is not normally a sarcastic guy, ever. It is so enjoyable however, and meeting others with similar interests has been great. Your book sounds perfect. I would love to do something like that too and might contact you for more details. Not as a fund raiser, but to just have for the family. They always ask about such an endeavor when we are together. I believe there are lots of book worthy posts out there. 🙂

    • Joanne says:

      Hi Francis someone gave me this website to look at http://www.blurb.com/
      The download is free and you can add your own photos and words to make your own book. Perhaps Tuesdays and Thursdays!!
      I am lucky my daughter is using something similar to do what she is doing. What a pity there aren’t twice as many hours in the day how ever did I find time to go to work.

      Hi Joanne, thanks for this. I don’t know if this is one that I have looked at or not, but did find several similar sites that would print whatever you wanted for a per page price. I like your idea of Tuesdays and Thursdays! Good one! There will be some decisions made about which posts might be the best to use, how many, the format, etc. Time consuming, yes, but worthwhile I believe, for what will be left for the children and their children.

  34. Lona says:

    I imagine this question has filtered through our minds from time to time. You see blogs you have read that go for months without postings and you wonder if something is wrong.Dealing in genealogy where I keep records upon records, I have left instructions to my daughter on where to send them so the years of work will not be lost. So a final blogging post may be an option to consider. Eventually the pictures on my blog would be lost with the account. It is an interesting subject Frances.
    I am glad you are planning to stay around. If Blogger dies before me, like Geocities did to my genealogy website, then the subject will be null and all will be erased.

    Hi Lona, thanks for that. I am sorry that your genealogy website was lost. Blogger, owned by Google seems like it will outlast us all, but one never knows what the future will bring. WordPress, much less of a presence online without the tentacles of twitter, facebook etc. is more iffy. The book idea is getting more attractive all the time. I am wondering about how to do it at a reasonable cost, with a very small printing, like ten copies maybe?

  35. Robin says:

    I’m glad you are asking this question. In a small way it’s kind of like pre-planning or life insurance, not something you really want to talk about, but necessary every now and then. I think it is a good idea to leave final instructions, just in case.

    I love the idea of a book!

    Hi Robin, thanks so much. I agree, it is like the pre planned funeral, which we did for my relatives and were so glad to have that already taken care of when the time came. We even got a check afterwards because the interest it earned over several years made the amount more than was necessary. The book idea is a good one. I am looking into the options, there are more out there than I imagined!

  36. Elephant's Eye says:

    If you trust a paper copy (no electricity, or web servers, but silverfish or …) Anyway, there is a service Blog2Book. So you could, if you wanted to. And what if the world ends, due to global warming, caused by storing our immortal words. And our camera has just died, so no new pictures (((((O)))))

    Hi Diana, oh no to your camera! That is always bad news. Even if you can get it fixed, being without it feels terrible, like you are missing all kinds of once in a lifetime shots. And a new camera has a steep learning curve. I did check out Blog2book, and found a whole lot of the same types of enterprises with varying costs. I will look into it more to see if there is something affordable or if I should just print it myself. I am not trying to sell it, just leave a couple of copies for the kids. I don’t think that will cause the world to end, do you?

  37. Rosey says:

    I took your advice and read ALL of the comments. Wow! Your readers have definite opinions. I consider my blogging friends some of the most understanding and I think they would be the most likely to forgive me for not telling everyone I bit the dust. ( kicked the can, died, whatever) Somehow, it seems strange to be entangled in someone’s life you barely know. Yet that is what happens when we blog.
    Even if you did print out your blog book, who’s to say it won’t get damaged somehow? The things of this earth are not meant to last forever. But the souls are. I went off on a little tanget, hope you get what I am saying. Thanks for sharing your insights!

    Hi Rosey, thanks so much for reading the comments. They are quite interesting and full of insights about how folks feel about the topic. Our reading public does deserve some kind of notice. One of the first blogs I ever read was written by a nephew for his Aunt, who had a blog and had passed away. It was the most beautiful bit of writing I had ever read, and planted the seed for this post. It was way before I was blogging myself, or had even thought of doing so. I can’t remember the blog, but the emotion conveyed in the eulogy was sincere and moving. Things do not last, you are right, but they can still be treasured by the living. Old photos of my family, all are deceased, are among my prized possessions. I put them into albums and made copies of the photos, with all the info about each person and the date it was taken, including photos from my own childhood. I made four albums, one for each of my kids, so my family would not be forgotten, even though the kids never even met some of them, they are descendents, and that is important.

    • cpollen1 says:

      Too true! I have spent years compiling scrapbooks, wondering what will become of them …hopefully someone will treasure them later. You are a good mom to do that for your kids. Record keeping is sometimes tedious but mostly done for later generations. 🙂

      Hi Camille, thanks and welcome. I am sure your family will love the scrapbooks that you made, such a personal artistic statement. I love record keeping and tedious. I often say there is no task too tedious for me to be happy doing it. 🙂

  38. Nell Jean says:

    After our son died in a motor vehicle accident, I made some tentative plans ‘in case of sudden death.’ They do not include any blog. I did write to omit music at my memorial because my music stops with me. So will my blogs.

    When I changed servers the old provider kept my web site (pre-blog) of my garden from 2003-2006 intact. I could make changes but not add to it. The provider changed and the new owner left the site, but the URL changed and I can no longer make changes. It lives on but the whim of a large company could delete it in a twinkling.

    I do try to keep important issues updated well enough that I will not leave difficulties for my family. Everything else can be bulldozed, so to speak.

    My deepest felt sympathies go to you on the loss of your son, Nell Jean. Our preferences are personal matters. The loss of control on your web site must be annoying, but does enforce how fragile is the whole enterprise. Having necessary papers together is important for survivors. Everything else doesn’t really matter, but leaving mementos with meaning could be soothing to those left on earth.

  39. Hi Frances,

    This question has crossed my mind as well. I look at the blogging world as a quilt of history that will hopefully be around for future generations to learn about us and our way of life. But I never did think about the final post, and that is a good one to ponder. You see, I originally started the blog because I’m not sure if I will ever make the effort to be published, but then it morphed into something for my kids once I am gone. I was thinking about hiding the blog from them and only stating in my will that it is there, but I doubt I could keep a secret like that–especially since my 7-year-old son helps me preview some of them!

    A few months ago I came across a blog that I enjoyed reading. As I read on, I came to realize that the author had died. It sounds weird and morbid, but I want to read his blog from start to finish, so I put it on my “favorite blogs” list on my page so that I wouldn’t forget where it is.

    I think that the best contingency plan for after death, to avoid the total loss of the blog (just in case the host decides to delete it from lack of use) is to keep every post saved in a file on your hard drive or on a disc. I plan to start saving mine.

    Thanks for such a thoughtful post. Sorry for being so wordy!

    We are looking for wordy, here, thanks! I do think that when each of us began blogging, we did not understand what would happen, the community that is behind the garden blogs, and others. It was just supposed to be a journal, a record of the garden with plant names, chores, successes and failures. I would not show or even name the family. We still don’t use their real names, but have shown them all many times and the world did not come crashing down. I think reading the blog of someone who is gone would be compelling. Saving the posts is an excellent idea, whether on paper on a drive.

  40. Kathleen says:

    Gee Frances, I hope we won’t have to worry about this with you for a long, long time. I’m glad your posts will stay on the Internet tho ~ that has to be comforting. I pay for my blog so I guess if something happened to me and I was no longer paying the bill, it would cease to exist. 😦 Something for me to think about. I like your version better.

    I do have an experience along these lines tho ~ I used to read the blog of one of my fellow papercrafters ~ she was younger than me (in her 30’s) when she suffered a sudden brain aneurysm and passed away. Her husband came on and wrote a final post to tell her readers what happened. It was the saddest thing.

    Thanks Kathleen. That is so sad, for such a young life to be lost. But life is fragile and fleeting. So if you fail to keep paying for a domain, the blog disappears? Or the name is no longer protected and someone else may use it? I am not sure your old posts go away. You might ask someone about that, your host I suppose. Lucky you with that orchid!!! 🙂

  41. Hi, Frances;
    Just got home from a long work day. Saw the title of your post and came racing over. I thought that title indicated you were done with blogging!

    I’ve probably never mentioned this but today’s post has prompted me to say so.. I get all of my good blogging connections via your site! It’s why I rarely visit Blotanical. (I don’t really care for blotanical; it makes people too competitive.)

    Anyhoo, I’m glad to see this was a false alarm and that we’ll be seeing many more of your posts. As far as preserving? Howsabout turning them into books? One for every blogging year? They would make precious keepsakes for the kids and would look very impressive on a coffee table.

    And, if we all did that, and sold them? Just imagine the money we could raise for charities!

    That’s the last of my brainpower for a Friday nite. 🙂

    Hi Kate, thanks so much for your concern and your readership! I appreciate your using the site for blog reading, I use it too, but also go to Blotanical, as I am somewhat competitive! HA I think the book idea is a good one, by year, as you say. The kids have already mentioned it to me. Raising money for charity would be great, although I can’t image anyone buying my blog book when they can read it online for free, but you never know. 🙂

  42. Jim Groble says:

    I always wonder if something has happened when a blogger I follow goes missing for a time. If I am close to the blogger, I’ll send an email of friendship in hope of a responce. Sometimes a blogger writes of a tragedy in the family, sometimes of cancer. I know that when I was going through chemo I felt alone, except for Pat. You gave me alot to think about.

    Thanks for this, Jim. Blogging is work, even if it is personally rewarding. There are many things that could take away the will to do it. Going through what you went through must have been difficult in so many ways. I am glad you are still with us.

  43. joey says:

    BIG POST, dear Frances, BIG THOUGHTS shared in these many thoughtful comments! Growing up, the nuns told us, “The idle mind is the devil’s workshop!” (One of many things they said that I never agreed with 🙂 I think an idle mind is quiet time, centering down, allowing creative ideas to surface! You must have been reading many minds because I have often though what will become of my years of blogging. I reference my own site since I began my blog to gather my seasonal recipes (hoping one day to incorporate all in a book) and as my gardening journal, watching
    how my beds (likes and dislikes on both my part and my plants) have changed. Haven’t though of a final blog but often wonder how to back-up our blogs. You and your creative mind are amazing! Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

    Dear Joey, thanks for your own thoughts, no devil’s workshop there!, although I agree with them on one level. We used to believe it best to keep our children busy, sports, music, dance, scouts, lots of activities to fill their days, and ours. There was still plenty of time for creative ideas to squeeze in, the mind cannot be caged. Of all the blogs, yours lends itself perfectly to a book with those recipes and photos. I have saved and used many of them, thank you. Having them online is convenient, but somehow it seems they should be printed as well, more permanent, whether that is an illusion or not.

  44. Teresa says:

    Funny you post this question for us because just the other day while jumping around different blogs I came across a girl who blogged while in Haiti helping care for orphaned kids. You may or may not have run across it also. She had died in the earthquake at the very young age of 22 and her family had posted her fate. Her previous post had been about being away from her family for the first time at the holidays and although it was difficult, she was so happy to be around her little smiling faces. You could tell she enjoyed her work there and felt like she made a difference although she missed her family in the US. She seemed mature beyond her years. The final post was her family’s telling of their loss and how hard it was without her. I of course cried the whole time I wrote a comment knowing that poor family would eventually read everyone of them and take heart that their daughter/sister/grandaughter/cousin etc… had made an impact on the world. This all of course got me thinking about exactly what you are talking about. I guess it will be up to our families. If they know it was important to us, they would probably put in a final post. I would think. Plus, like this family I think there is comfort knowing that someone else would miss your loved one and there is also comfort in their words and memories. In the words of Scarlet O’hara “I won’t worry about that today, I’ll worry about that tomorrow”

    Hi Teresa, thank you for this tragic story. Haiti is so full of sadness, it is beyond comprehension, the misery there. This brings to mind a letter we received from a wonderful garden nursery located in the mountains outside of Asheville, NC. It was a favorite stop off, family owned and run. It seems the couple’s daughter had returned after college to help run the business, with new ideas and fresh energy. The daughter was killed in an auto accident and the parents wrote a letter to the customers telling that their hearts were broken and they could not go on with the business, feeling the return of their daughter had kept her from *living her life*. It was wrenching and yet I feel the daughter did return because of the love she felt for them. So sad, I still have that letter. Death can come at any time, whether we are prepared for it or not.

  45. Pam/Digging says:

    Since you’re at 47 comments already (!) I’m going to leave mine first, then go back & read the others. Yes, I have wondered about this myself. My DH has my password, so I assume that he would put a note on my blog in the event of my untimely demise, just to let people know. I hadn’t thought of writing my own obit/goodbye—you ARE a planner, Frances. I had wondered how long the site would be out there, if inactive, also.

    Thanks Pam. I am sure your DH, and possibly your children would write on your blog should something happen to you, knowing that your many readers and friends would want to know. Maybe that is the key, we are friends in the blogdom, more than just ones and zeros, and care about what happens to each other. My planning gene cannot be denied, although I have not yet written even one word for a final post. The comments have brought in so many thoughts about the matter, it will take some time to digest them.

  46. Pam/Digging says:

    I got through all the comments, Frances. Thought-provoking indeed. I’m glad someone mentioned the Blog to Book site, or whatever it’s called. I think Jenny at Rock Rose posted about having her blog put into book form a year or so ago. You might contact her to see which site she used.

    Thanks Pam, I will contact Jenny about the book. I did look into some of those sites, there were several, and think it is doable.

  47. brokenbeat says:

    mom, there is so much to digest with this post and all of the comments…

    part of me is crying (actual tears) for many reasons. most of all, of course, thinking about you no longer being around. part of me is thinking about the memories brought back into focus by photo albums and other physical, tangible things, and how great they are to have at hand. part of me also thinks about those moments when the photos were taken and how a picture can never capture exactly how beautiful (on the morning you saw it – the sun cutting through a fog, the dense air encasing its smell in a bubble that, once it hit your nose, exploded like nothing else you’ve sensed in your whole life) that moment/experience/flower was. a picture, a post, an entire blog, can be like that one led zepplin show in detroit one went to, when they played “that’s the way” accoustic (page on the twelve-string). one may relive it forever, always come back to it when the mood may be similar, but, even having a live recording of it would never do it justice. sometimes the live recording lives on and serves its purpose. sometimes moments are sacred and should not be available to everyone all and sundry. but sometimes they should. i don’t know… i ponder with you on the topic. much love.

    Dearest Brokenbeat, thinking of your tears brings ones of my own. Do not think of me being gone just yet, I am still kickin’. This was just an exercise of an idle mind by one who likes to control their own destiny, but knows that life if a fragile thing. You know about the treasured photo albums, not for the pieces of paper they hold, but the memories they trigger. Those memories are what is precious and the pictures help keep them from fading into the cerebral folds. The same would be true of the blog posts, memories triggered, especially the ones with family members featured. You are right that the memory cannot touch the real moment in time, but age will teach you that the memories are so very precious in their own right, even if they distort the actual event, and they do. Moments are sacred, but everyone’s memories are unique and different, and can be shared.

  48. James A-S says:

    This is a great post, Frances.
    Death and the future…
    The interesting thing about technology is that it is so difficult to prophesy how it will develop. After all only fifty odd years ago all this stuff that we do so effortlessly was completely beyond the comprehension of all mankind (apart, perhaps, from a couple of dreaming scientists). Fifty years before that motor cars were a rarity and people died from simple infections.
    Most people my age (50 again) knew grandparents who were alive at the turn of the century and who lived through the great whoosh of 20th century technology from Marconi to the atom bomb.
    So how can we know what will happen in another fifty years? Maybe all our blogposts will have evaporated in some catastrophe but probably they will all be kept in a little jewelled box the size of a plum on the desk of the new Emperor of Cyberspace.
    To turn them into books is a bit retrospective as books, as in printed paper, will soon be as antiquated as oakum pickers and scurvy. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will probably regard printed books as hopelessly quaint! What they will use instead is impossible for us to envisage but there will be something.
    I love the idea of pre-writing a final, posthumous blog post the problem is when does one write it?
    Now? in case of sudden demise or when one begins to feel the fading of the light?

    Thank you James. Trying to imagine the future is fun, but we cannot foresee what will happen. My own thought is something along the lines of implanted chips controlled by thoughts to communicate. Even money will be on the chip, so when a purchase is made, the sum will be subtracted by a scan of some type of a bank account far away. I like the jewelled box idea, but am scared of the Emperor, power corrupts. All paper will someday go the way of the dodo, but for now and for the now of my children paper can offer comfort with the memories it conjures. As for that final post, a draft that gets updated seems good, at the moment. We had better get writing, it’s been nice knowing you!

  49. So many questions, Frances, that left me worring about these issues. I do want my blog be seen by my children and grandchildren… but, what if… all the ifs you are pondering!!!! What about the old photo album, always at hand, always lasting to next generations??? I think I´m gonna to have a paper copy of my pictures and find a big and beautifu album to put them in…
    Muchos cariños,
    Maria Cecilia

    Dear Maria, I am so sorry to have caused you any worry with these what ifs. But thinking about what we leave to our children and their children is important to me, and it seems to you as well. Sometimes we assume the things on the internet will always be there, but maybe that is not true. Having the paper copy seems a good idea, along with a beautiful album.

  50. Diana says:

    Frances – How thought-provoking. And thanks for encouraging us to slow down and read the comments. I certainly “get it” (having just a smidge of control issue myself!). I do want to make a paper blog copy and that is on my list. I don’t know if I would write a final post – it seems like I couldn’t sum it all up in one small story, but rather the sum of my blog tells my story. I would hope (and may now plan) for my family to post when I am no longer able to write, so as to share that information. But you really got me thinking of old gardens gone by. Even though those who tended them might move on, heirloom bulbs, and perennials and trees often live on, passing on their beauty to a next generation. Even in vacant lots, hope, and plants, spring etermal – little burst of color peeking out of rubble and brambles to speak to anyone who will listen. Your post took me to memories of such places and thoughts of how those gardens simply live on in a different form. Perhaps like us.

    Hi Diana, thanks for joining the conversation. The blog posts do speak for themselves, but I do think either a final draft for the last post, maybe to be amended by a relative when the blog stops is a good idea. Will we do it, who knows, but the idea has been seeded and might germinate some day. As for the gardens, well, that is another post. 🙂

  51. Hilda says:

    Interesting. The NY Times ran a whole feature story not that long ago on what happened to your Facebook page after your death… and they did get the Facebook people to comment for the story (it seems there’s an official policy in place over at Facebook, so maybe WordPress isn’t far behind in adopting one.)

    Hi Hilda, thanks for visiting and welcome. I was trying to get the official stance from WordPress and was told that the posts would remain online and available forever, or as long as wordpress was a going concern. Nothing about inactivity, no postings or log ins seemed to matter, so I was told. They may come out with a policy at some point. Maybe I should ask again.

  52. Chickenpoet says:


    Dearest Chickenpoet, this is just an imaginary thesis, I am fine and plan to hang around for a while longer. Just a mental exercise and planning ahead is all.
    Smothering you with hugs, love and kisses,

  53. And you wondered earlier why none of the children had commented yet. Because you have brought them to tears and they may have needed a moment to compose themselves. Chickenpoet may not have waited very long.

    Now I need to go to Word to compose a thoughtful reply. I am more of a spelling freak than a control freak and have no idea why.

    Thanks Christopher, for this preliminary comment. The tears surprised me, but shouldn’t have. I am still puzzled by Chickenpoet, although it is the essence of her personality, she is very emotional. I used to be like that, but have outgrown it somewhat. There is nothing wrong with correct spelling!

  54. Frances, I don’t worry much about what will happen to the blog itself if I should stop posting. My old blog is still there intact after almost three years. As long as your blog host does not have a policy of purging its data base for any different type of reason, much like you would clean your own computer to get rid of the clutter, it will be there in cyberspace forever. Google I have read is building an even bigger giant brain out west some where to hold even more data. Without power that data just goes dormant and would not get erased. The giant brain would have to blow up for it to get lost. Power comes back on, the blog is still there.

    Besides when I go back and read some of my old posts it just seems like so much blather. I am not sure I would care much if it disappeared. As far as keepsakes or mementos I can see pulling some photos and text from the blog and printing them on dead trees. I think the calendar idea and other things like that as personal gifts are fab. A small book of the garden through the seasons and a few years would make a very nice and easy to keep memento for the family to pass on and enjoy.

    The one thing I have thought about more than once is what if there was a sudden and unfortunate termination of my existence. I would want there to be a final post to let my readers know. I’m sure one of my family members would be fine writing up a quick summary and would even possibly think of it on their own, but they couldn’t log on to post. Leaving a comment on the last post just does not seem adequate. Does google have a death of the blogger policy to allow a family member to make a final post? It probably would just be better to leave passwords in a safe place and tell someone and bypass google or whoever hosts your blog.

    If I was to decide to stop blogging I would do a final post and say goodbye. That is only good manners. That thought has certainly come when I feel like I am the weather blogger more than a garden blogger and am bored with the whole thing. Of course there probably is a weather blogging niche out there too. Maybe I should look them up.

    Do I want to plan ahead and write my own obituary for the blog? Hell no. That is someone else’s job. When we die the people left behind get to clean up the mess and tidy the remnants. If you want to plan ahead, just plan to make those tasks easier. In the case of the blog, leave the passwords with the rest of your organized pile of stuff for your passing. In essence the blog is just one more of your belongings or possessions that will need to be dealt with when you leave this mortal coil.

    Thank you for taking the time to collect your thoughts, Christopher, and sharing them. People have different attitudes about death and dying, or even talking about it. Having lost every single member of my own family already, with the burden of making the arrangements, and then going through their possessions myself, I know first hand what a true burden that can be. One almost does not have time for emotional release, because there is much to do, and I always lived far away and had to fly there to Oklahoma while leaving my husband and family in the care of others, another emotional issue. What that means is that it had to be done quickly, no going home to rest or relax or think, but do it all in one fell swoop and then leave. Not good at all. But anyway, I do not want my survivors to have to wade through all that, but want to make it as easy as possible on them. I have already written out the instructions and passwords on how to get to the blog, what to click, etc. Now if a post gets written that is to be the final one, I will add that to the instruction sheet, making copies for everyone. One nice thing, it can be done from any computer, anywhere, not just mine.

    Now for the book idea, the posts with family featured, and some of the better garden posts seems the best path to take. It is doable and I will be looking into the best way to go about it. If for some reason I decide to stop posting, I will explain that in a final post, but right now cannot imagine stopping. My old blog on blogger is still out there as well. I have done everything short of deleting it, the same exact posts are on wordpress. I had to stop the comments because spammers were getting to it. I also stopped the linking so that really cut down on the traffic. Now I need to change all the links on wordpress in the old posts from the blogger url to wordpress. I started doing that and need to take that gauntlet back up, so there will be no broken links on wordpress. And then Faire Garden, rather than the wordpress fairegarden, will be deleted. Now I just hope that wordpress has a giant brain too.


  55. Interesting discussion and comments, Frances. I do worry and wonder about some of the bloggers who have stopped writing, but I know from teaching writing courses and writing professionally that there is a natural cycle to these things. Some people burn out, or lose interest. Writing a blog, especially an interesting one, can be very hard work, as you know, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea for dozens of reasons. I’ve had writing students who have assured me that their calling is to be the next great writer…but then they couldn’t complete the basic assignments in our classes, and couldn’t even deal with writing simple posts on the private blog I had set up for them. Sometimes people start out thinking it will be so easy to write, and then they decide it isn’t. (not necessarily from lack of ability, usually from lack of confidence, or time constraints, or less occasionally, lack of motivation to apply the seat of pants to seat of chair and just do it.)

    The question of what would happen to my blog should I stop writing it for whatever reason is easy for me to answer. If I do decide to close it down, I’ll likely delete it as I have many of the posts backed up to various media here. My son is even more of a computer geek than I am, so if i were to suddenly take off for Trafalmadore (or better yet, Pandora) without tidying it up, he would look after closing it down, would explain I was becoming the first female Toruk Makto in Pandorian history. 🙂

    I’m really sorry that you lost precious photos and other things, Frances. A couple of years ago, I lost a good chunk of a year’s worth of photos and work documents in an errant external harddrive glitch of my own creation, so now I back things up to dvds as well as external harddrives. There are also sites in cyberspace where you can store data, far away from power surges and harddrive failures and other woes, but I only know a little bit about those. Might be worth looking into if you’re concerned about more equipment or software mishaps.

    Dear Jodi, the image of you as the first female Toruk Makto brings a broad smile. We are going back to the theatre this very day to return to Pandora, this time in the Imax 3D rather than the 3D regular viewing experience. I may leap into the screen to live there. But I am afraid of heights so will remain on the ground and wave to you sailing about above. I think I will become the caretaker of the sacred tree, that is right up my alley.

    I hope you do not delete the blog if you decide to stop writing more posts, for your readers would be very sad. Like we were when you were ill. Your wit would be sorely missed, whatever the reason. As for my photos, I am figuring out a better way to keep them in the folders, naming the folders differently. On dvds, the folders remain, we just can’t put that many photos on them with the high pixel count of my Canons, unlike the smaller Kodak pictures that could hold an entire year on one disc. I will come up with a system of some kind for easier access to specific shots.


  56. Silvia / SalixTree says:

    Interesting thoughts… I always wonder what my garden would turn into when I’m gone.. will it become overgrown? Will the strongest plants/weeds take over? Will it be sold to someone who removes everything and puts down a patio? I never thought about what would happen to my blog. I would hope it stays where it is for a while.
    I know some people stop blogging just because something else has grabbed their attention, and they go off on their merry way. I know I’ve been gone for long periods myself.. I just go with the flow, and do the new thing for a while. Then I remember my blog.. and it’s still there. And my blogging friends are still there too, still writing and posting lovely photos. It’s a nice thing to return to now and again.

    Hi Silvia, so nice to see you, thanks for joining in. You are a fine example of an on then off then on again blogger. It is wonderful that you can just pick back up where you left off as well. When we just go on vacation, for a week at the most, we worry about the blog, but shouldn’t, it, and the readers will still be there when we get back. That is so comforting to know. As for what happens to gardens, please see my next post. 🙂

  57. Teresa O says:

    Hi Frances,

    What a thought-provoking post. I came across a blog a couple months ago and added it to my blogroll. There had been no post in quite some time. Ta-da! A new post was up and I ventured over to catch up with A Little of This, A Little of That, only to discover that Flydragon was very ill. Her daughters wrote a tribute to their mother and it remains on the site. I’ve pondered whether to remove the blog from my blog roll or leave it…it just feels right to leave it for now.

    I have all ready experienced what happens when you leave a beloved garden behind. Gardens, like all things, change and become something new.

    Hi Teresa, thanks. The daughters of that blogger did a great service to the reading public by posting that tribute. It seems fitting to leave it on your blog roll too. As for gardens, I have moved many times, so do not become attached, well, maybe a little to one in particular.

  58. Nancy says:

    I have, through an accident of ?fate? read several blogs by authors who have died. Some, disappear forever. Others, with friends who can not bear to let them go, have kept the site going, static, with the final post the announcement of their families. It has given blog friends a place to express condolences and wishes for the family to heal.

    One blogger, a very popular one, had already given his “keys” to others to write on as guests, and when he died suddenly–shocking his friends–one person, who had helped him with layouts and administering site, stepped up and has not only kept the site active, but has done so by reposting old posts…one a day. She took his death hard. A lot of us did, as he’d been active in attending blogmeets and was known personally by a large number of his readers. He was also the inspiration for a huge number of people to become bloggers (ie..he was their blog ‘daddy’) He has a kind of melancholy immortality now, I suppose.

    At blogmeets, still, a glass is raised and he is toasted, and his presence missed.

    I think…I would like my site to exist after I’m gone. I have no children, and it might be one of the few traces that I ever existed. You never know.

    Hi Nancy, thanks for this. Losing a fellow blogger is so sad, especially one that you have met in person. Living on in posts seems like a good thing, I hope it is true that these stories will stay up forever, or a very long time.

  59. Hi, Frances,
    I regret that I don’t have time to read all the comments here. It may be that someone has already shared something similar to what I am about to tell you. My son (in his 20s) already pondered some of these issues in an essay called Digital Dust. Shortly after writing this, he proceeded to archive his blog posts into a hard cover book. He copied and pasted all his old posts into a word processor. Using search and replace, he removed parts of the blog post that he didn’t need (such as categories or tags) and reformatted things to look more book-like. Then he used the self publishing website lulu.com to make himself a hard cover copy. I requested and paid for a separate copy for myself. This was not intended to be a book for public consumption, but just as a way to preserve it in a form that didn’t depend on electricity to be read. Another form of back up, if you will. Also, his posts didn’t use photographs, which made converting it that much easier.

    I have considered how easy it is to lose digital photographs and want to start putting the best ones into book form using a service such as Shutterfly.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for that. My sister in law, I think, told me about lulu. It seems that the posts would not be that difficult to make into book form, with some editing. Just copy and paste, adjusting the photos. I think it is doable. I already use shutterfly for sharing photos and making albums. They are a little pricey, I think, but the products are good. Lots to ponder here.

  60. When its over its over, at least I know I did it my way….

    Thanks for adding your own take on it, Helen. And Frank’s. 🙂

  61. TC Conner says:

    64 comments is a lot of comments to read Ms. Frances. I’ve not attempted it, yet, and I’m sure there’s lots of interesting remarks regarding The End, or The Beginning, depending on how you look at passing from this mortal life.

    Yes, I’ve often thought about what you mention in this post. But I’ve not carried it as far as you have, which doesn’t strike me at being odd or morbid, it’s like you said, I think it has something to do with control. Although there’s really very little control we have over existential things (in human form).

    Am I afraid of dying? Not really. I hope I go peacefully, and I want folks to have a party afterwards, with live bluegrass music, and lots and lots of flowers and plants. And someone blogging about it as it happens.

    Hi TC, when I asked that people read the comments, there were not that many! But all offer interesting points of view of the matter, just like your own. Of course there would be music at your party, I would also like to have music. And happy memories of times gone by. Maybe they could read from this blog post! I have buried all of my family members, and trying to guess their wishes, like what clothes do they want to be wearing, and we won’t go into the hairstyles given them by well meaning stylists. Sigh. Let’s just say, that if you want it to be a certain way, you had better let someone know about it. In writing. My hope would be that there could be smiles along with the tears. The final post needs to be able to bring a smile.

  62. My goodness….so many thoughts and viewpoints. I have wondered if I should start backing up my blog posts. I would hope that if I ever stopped blogging, my blog would continue to exist so that the helpful gardening information would still be available for others who search via a search engine.

    Amazing, isn’t it, Noelle. I am with you on the wish for leaving helpful information behind that would be available for a long time. WordPress offers stats on each post, and search engine requests. Seeing those has directed some of my topics, sort of changing the focus from journal to info sometimes. Even the wording of the title has been affected. Your posts are so full of good information too, I am sure many find you while looking for desert gardening ideas.

  63. linda says:

    Hi Frances, such an interesting post and comments. I feel a personal connection with blogging friends. If I decided to stop adding posts I’d want to do a final post letting friends know. I wouldn’t want to needlessly worry anyone.

    I hadn’t given much thought to writing a final post in the event of my unexpected demise. You and all the commenters have given food for thought on this.

    Being someone who values the written and photographic records passed down through my family for generations, it makes perfect sense to me to consider preserving hard copies of blogs, and even selected emails, in the same way my grandma preserved letters of her forebears, and passed them on to my mom, who will one day pass them down to me, and so on.

    Of course everyone’s different, and every family is different. In our family it’s truly a gift having those precious photos, stories and letters of generations who came before us. Knowing who we came from . . . well, it matters. Giving our children a sense of their family heritage and history is of great value, and even more so in our short-attention-span contemporary culture.

    A blog book would make a wonderful keepsake. Hopefully it would become part of the tapestry of family records that have already been preserved for us for generations, and hopefully future generations will continue to choose wisely to whom they entrust their care and preservation. Hopefully our kids will pass not only the keepsakes, but also the stories and values that come with them to their own children, and so on. My life is most certainly richer for knowing the ancestors I came from, knowing what they looked like, and knowing them through what they wrote about and what mattered to them.

    Thanks Cousin, for a thoughtful response. I think we both come from families where our heritage was spoken of frequently. It was a big deal, on my mother’s side. I have saved letters and pictures for my own kids and grandkids as well. The blog is a new animal, and figuring out what to do with it wasn’t a goal for my mother or grandmother. Printing out something that could be held and that did not need electricity, a computer or internet service seems like a good idea. It is a project that will get my attention.

  64. eliz says:

    I guess I’ve never thought about this. I would like to leave a couple books behind I guess, but as for the blog, I’m fine if it just meanders off into the ether. It is interesting, though.

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for joining the conversation. Leaving behind books is a great way to contribute. The future of the blog posts does seem somewhat uncertain, it is all too new to know what will, or can happen over the long haul.

  65. cielo says:

    I have enjoyed seeing all your photographs… very lovely.

    “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

    Thanks Cielo. Wise words. Now to find something to keep me busy until spring….

  66. Autumn Belle says:

    I arrive here late but I followed your suggestion and read all the comments, every single one. I started with a blank because I have not spent time to think about these issues yet. Maybe I spent much of my available time downloading from my brain, what to write. Now, my head is filled with so many great advice and ideas. I am so lucky I didn’t miss this post. I haven’t even scrapbooked my family or my own photo album. oh oh oh, when and where to start? I am so glad there are wonderful bloggers like you who lead the way.

    Dear Autumn Belle, you are so very sweet, thank you for joining in the discussion. Now is the best time to start getting photos together, while you know when they were taken and who the people in them are. That is something I did from the birth of my first child on, and those albums are so precious. I have always thought about the future, even as a child, and tried to make the right decisions to make my life turn out the way I desired. Of course things happen that we cannot predict or control, but some things we can do, like putting photos in an album. A good place to start. 🙂

  67. greenwalks says:

    Ah, Frances, musing on the impermanence of things? How very zen! Maybe you could take the zen approach of mindfulness, that all we really have is the present, and that dwelling on the past or projecting too much into the future can cause a lot of things to happen in the mind, not all of them good. It’s something I struggle with myself, I don’t have a very tidy mind that way (nor do I have my photos filed by plant – I can only imagine how irritating it would be if I did, though, and they became disordered!). For me, I feel like blogs are pretty ephemeral, and I don’t mean that as an insult. Just that they came into being so recently, they aren’t really “anywhere” except on a server somewhere, so that at least for mine, if it were to disappear along with me, I don’t think it would be too big a deal in the grand scheme of things! Just my 2cents. If we think of all of the stories, music, plays, art and other treasures throughout history which have been lost compared to what has survived, we can probably imagine it will be the same for the modern era. And really, isn’t that okay?

    Hi Karen, thanks for adding your thoughts. While I try to be as zen as possible, my very nature is to plan ahead. I do it in my sleep. The thing with the plant portrait photos is that they were different dates, so that a sort won’t help find them again, especially the Salvias. There were so many, carefully photographed at peak bloom. Arghh. Trying not the think about it. You are right about the newness of the blog posts, who knows what will happen. I just tried the blog2print site without success. I have too many photos, making it too expensive and can’t control where the photos are shown on the pages either. Sigh. Lost to the ages, it looks like. And that’s okay. 🙂

  68. carolyngail says:

    It is good to be prepared before leaving for that great garden in the sky . What if tomorrow never comes is a thought-provoking post, Frances, with a lot of interesting responses.

    You’ll be pleased to know that Faire Garden could live forever because the Internet Archives is a source that preserves web sites through the Open Directory. It contains over 4 million sites in a half million categories. Fortunately you can sign up for it and if your blog is accepted it will be around for generations to come. The category is under home -gardening -people-personal pages .

    Visit the website http://www.dmoz.org and http://www.alexa.com to learn how to register. I saw a few names I recognize such as Nancy Ondra at Hayefield, Doug Green and Ilona’s Journal. They are even looking for editors to volunteer to improve a category as this is a human-edited directory. I wish that one of our garden bloggers ( I nominate you ) could improve the listings of garden bloggers as it is really lacking.

    I’m all signed up and waiting for their reply and I encourage our fellow bloggers to do the same.

    Hi Carolyn Gail, thanks. I looked into this and did not like having them able to publish parts of my posts without my okay so did not sign up. They certainly need an editor! It seemed to mostly be retail sites, not personal blogs although I did see Hayefield and Dave’s The Home Garden on there. I am not ready to sign away any rights to my work.

    Frances, you would not be signing away your rights. The Internet Archive is a library that collaborates with the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian and its mission is to help preserve artifacts in digital form and create an internet library for researchers, historians and scholars.

    Those that chose to have their blog, music or book registered are free to use the Creative Commons License which specifies that the material can only be used for non-commercial purposes and not for profit. The Grateful Dead is the first major band to allow free non-commercial use of their music in the Internet Archive.

    Yes, I agree they need an editor and our garden blog directory there is sorely lacking . As I said, this is run by volunteers and I think its a worthwhile project to consider.

    The Internet Archive was listed as one of the top sites in 2007 . It has strict rules and regulations governing the use of its material and while it is free, it takes some technical expertise to access it.

    Remember, we are all cached on Google and I don’t recall them asking anyone for permission.

    Hi Carolyn Gail, thanks for coming back and explaining this. I am always on the lookout for agreements that give others control over my content, having been burned a few times by thieves. I will look at it again.

  69. Frances, I’ve thought about this post all week, and I wrote about it a bit and linked back to you. It’s good to think about it now before we aren’t able to give our loved ones passwords. Thanks, and remember, spring will soon be here.~~Dee

    Thanks so much Dee. I loved your story and thanks for the link love. Having written instructions for how to access the blog, I feel better knowing there will be some kind of final post, whether I have written it or family members have. Spring cannot come soon enough! 🙂

  70. carolyngail says:

    Hello again, Frances. This post has inspired me to write one on how to preserve our work for future generations and I have linked to your blog.

    I hope to see a comprehensive registry of garden bloggers on the Internet Archive site, including yours.

    Hi Carolyn Gail, thanks for that. You have persuaded me to sign up. I just did, although it took me three tries to get the word verification right. Now we wait, I guess. Thanks for making the case for it. You would make a fine lawyer! 🙂

  71. Wow. THis is such a deep subject, and there have been so many and varied answers. I read them all, and I don’t have anything much to add except that I did wonder about what happened to blogs that were “abandoned” for whatever reason. Nice to know the bits go on.

    I am very interested in the idea of the book form for my posts. Of course, I realize that it would be quite a tome considering my wordiness.

    Hi Hands, thanks for joining in. I did join the thing that Carolyn Gail suggested, apparently that will help the blog live on. As for a book, it is not the wordiness that, but the photos that have been the snag for me. So far I haven’t been able to solve that dilemma of size and cost. I seem to have written a lot of posts.

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