To me, anyway. I have been hearing and reading a lot about Social Media these days, you know them, Facebook, Twitter, and assorted others of the same type and idea. It has been written and said that these modes of human exchange, fast paced and über-current are pushing older forms of communication out the door, like the horse and buggy of yesteryear, passé, old hat, obsolete. I say, it depends on what you are seeking to gain from the interactions.
Keeping up with friends, making new friends, sharing interests right down to what you are eating, when you sleep and how you brush your teeth is all fascinating stuff to some. Facebook especially is a wonderful forum for ideas to be exchanged and photos shown to a larger group. I like the photos part. But, of course there is a but and it is a big one, the limited character use by these forums tamps down creative writing and thoughtful musings and the most important aspect, inspiration. To me, anyway.
Long ago, I yearned to read about gardens, gardeners and gardening online. Garden blogs were discovered and they were heaven sent to an obsessive like me. The Home and Garden sections of the big newspapers had become way more home than garden. HGTV gave up on programming for real gardeners, instead focusing on instant makeovers that were totally inappropriate, heavy on outdoor sofas and giant outdoor kitchens that would be ruined in our Tennessee climate if we even wanted such things. But back to the Garden Blogs.
The first garden blog I ever read was from a link sent to me by good friend Laurie for the now defunct Sign Of The Shovel by Michele Owens. Laurie sent the link and one word: Enjoy! And it was more than enjoyable, it was a revelation. There were links on her sidebar to other blogs, and each of those blogs had links to even more. I read them all, and some are still posting today like Carol of Maydreams and Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening. Michele joined up with Susan, Elizabeth and Amy to form Garden Rant. They all provided plenty to read during the short day, long nights of winter, plenty of ideas to think about, new plants to try, even the impetus to try writing about gardening myself.
I had already been taking photos of the garden with the new digital camera since 2002. The shots were in folders by date and gazed upon endlessly. When the idea came to start a garden blog, using these photos and lessons learned from the trial and error of a lifetime of gardening, we jumped into the arena in December of 2007 with Fairegarden. Around the same time there was a new directory of garden blogs started by a chap in Australia named Stuart. It was called Blotanical and there could be found other like minded folks from all over the world. Thousands of them. Blotanical has grown over the years and the number of garden blogs is staggering. There is a blog on every aspect of gardening in every climate and situation. Endless information is being presented everday in entertaining ways, with brilliant photos and well written narrative.
The quickie interaction of Social Media is fine for making plans or advertising your product or ideas, or catching up with friends and family, but for in depth garden-aholic offerings, the longer blog posts will get my internet browsing hours. I am not in a hurry, but want to learn something useful, see something beautiful, laugh at something funny or be moved by prose unbridled by number of character usage. Call me old fashioned, I am a grandmother it is true, but there are a whole lot of people my age so don’t sweep us under the rug of over the hill just yet. We still have clout and some of us still even have money to spend, maybe on plants.
Oops, sorry, the theme went off on another tangent. Back to the blogs. They still matter, they are still being read and enjoyed, they are still being written. Thank goodness for them. I just wanted to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening. 🙂 Regular programming will resume shortly.
(The image is Eryngium yuccifolium with Chinese Elm, Ulmus x hollandica ‘Jacqueline Hillier’ taken June 24, 2010.)