January 27, 2015

Yours, Mine, and Ours

cosmos Lately, I've been reading many posts about what bloggers should and shouldn't do. These posts have been thought-provoking, challenging, and educational.

I thank these fellow bloggers for their perceptions, because they've led me to the topic for today.

I'll start by asking, "What is the purpose of your blog?" and "For whom do you blog?"

In answering that second question (with nods to the first), here are four likely approaches:


* Yours: Using this approach, you publish nearly exclusively for others. Your goal might be to gather readers, sell products and services, or to share your writing and photography.

* Mine: With this approach, other people are secondary to your own thoughts, feelings, and recordings. This is often similar to journaling or a type of electronic recording of your personal experiences.

* Ours: This format encourages participation, by asking questions, including polls, meme hosting, and other methods.

* The combo: It's a mash-up. Sometimes you write for yourself, other times you express great emotion, and sometimes you present "just the facts"--for example, with a step-by-step, "how to" post.

clematis Where do you fit in this mix? Is there another format I'm forgetting?

Obviously, you can tell from my questions that this particular post falls into the "ours" category.

This begs the question(s):

What is the purpose of my own blog? For whom do I blog?

Who cares, anyway?

hostaFirst of all, I care. Even if I didn't have a single reader, I'd still blog. I started this blog for myself. I had a burning desire to write about gardening and plants. I had a memory card full of garden photos, and I wanted to document the plants in my garden. That's how this blog was born. It was a selfish act. I started it for me, and me alone. That's when it was "mine."

Then I discovered how fabulous "ours" and "yours" could be. This realization hit me like a sudden warm, pleasant breeze out of the Gulf of Mexico. I hadn't expected to enjoy the interacting part so much!

After about a month into it, in late 2010, I wanted to connect with other gardeners. I joined the now-defunct Blotanical.com. I began to have a real audience of real people--who wanted to share gardening information, stories, and notes with me! And, oh, what fun it was to visit their blogs, too! And to actually carry on "conversations" through our comments to each other.

phlox I didn't see that part of it coming, but gosh, it was rewarding!

I wrote a few "how to" posts. I shared my knowledge and practical experiences.

That was the "yours" approach.

But with time, I've come to realize this is a "combo" or a "mash-up" blog. Some of my posts are written for me--because thoughts are screaming to be written and plants are begging for attention.

Some posts are written for you--for example, posts about public gardens I recommend, or "how to build an above-ground pond."

verbenaStill others are written for us, as in, "I'd like your opinion" or "Let's discuss..."

The situation of any given day, week, month, or even year influences the audience and the purpose.



That's the joy of posting whatever seems right at the appropriate time.

There isn't a "correct" answer to the questions presented earlier, and there are advantages and disadvantages to every approach.

milkweed* If you post purely for yourself, you don't care if anyone visits your blog.

* If you blog to please others, you care deeply about gaining and maintaining an audience.

* If you blog for both yourself and others, your motivations are mixed.

And if, like me, you switch back and forth and in every direction, sometimes you're thinking about your audience, while other times you're purely communicating your personal thoughts or recording the phenology or cyclical events in your own garden.

Perhaps when considering what we should or shouldn't do with our blogs, we ought to think about the purpose and the audience, too. Perhaps those questions should come first?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Next up: a few thoughts about my favorite bloggers, and why I like to visit them. (You might be surprised to find yourself in the list.)

78 comments:

  1. Great post!

    I started writing for myself mainly as an online garden and weather diary that is extremely easy to illustrate with my own photos.

    But I would like to turn your question around. Why do I read garden blogs?

    First to find out what is happening in gardens nearby and for their advice. Examples of these for me are Piece of Eden (for my inspiration) and Late to the Garden Party (lots of good advice).

    Then I found out that I really like to read about what's happening in gardens far, far away like Blooming Garden in Suffolk UK, Deb's Journal in Alabama, Garden Fancy in Iowa and this one in Wisconsin. I get a lot of pleasure out of this.

    Next I found that people either don't know what it's like to garden in southern California or have a very mistaken impression. I wanted to share plants and experiences about living here. So back to writing my own blog again.

    Oh, then there are the comments. Sometimes they are the best part of the post. So entertaining!

    And some bloggers have such good photos, I am in awe.

    Therefore, I am a "mine" and "ours", but definitely not a "yours". I do not even like to read or much less link to blogs that contain commercials or self-advertising in a blatant way.

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    1. I agree about the comments! The conversations are so informative, even beyond the actual posts. I wish I had more time to read each and every comment on every blog I visit becauses they can be quite entertaining. I always read and respond to comments on my own blog, because that is how I get to know people. Like you, I'm not a big fan of the blatant sales pitch. But I do like the "yours" posts that are informative and help me understand how to do something or take care of a certain type of plant. I will be answering your "Why do I read..." question in my next post. Thanks for joining in the discussion!

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  2. What an interesting and fun discussion! The reason I started my blog was because I didn't have any friends who liked to garden. After talking my poor husband's ear off about plants so much, he suggested I start a blog. So the main reasons I blog would fall under 'Yours' or 'Ours'. I blog because I love being part of a community that cares as much about gardening and nature as I do. I love learning from other people's blogs, and many of my posts are intended to be somewhat informational as well. I was a teacher, so it's rather ingrained :) While I'm not out specifically for a huge readership, the reason I blog is to share with others and to be part of what is a great community.

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    1. Thanks, Indie. I'm so glad your husband convinced you to start your blog! That community is fabulous, isn't it?! The learning and sharing part of it is incredible! I would say my motivations are similar to yours, although I have many local and not-so-local friends and family who garden. I've learned so much from them!

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  3. Mine is definitely a combo. I like sharing my photos with people, and reading their comments -- and, like you, I try to answer every comment and/or visit those commenting. I even went out at the tail end of a blizzard last winter just to get heavy snow pics for online friends in southern/warmer climes. I also participate in different weekly memes, share craft projects, and have occasionally written informative material on my blog. Definitely a mash-up! ☺

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    1. Hi Heather: I find it fascinating that people in warmer climates enjoy seeing the winter pictures. I guess it is pretty outside during the winter, but the snow and cold get so old. ;-) But I enjoy the hot, dry-climate photos when I'm cold, so I guess it goes both ways. I forgot to mention the "mash-up" of content! I guess that would be another format. My blog pretty much always relates back to gardening or plants or what's happening with the weather. I guess a true mash-up would include whatever the blogger is thinking about at the time. I love stopping by your blog for that reason. :)

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    2. Thanks for the compliment, Beth. Like you, I'm starting to get tired of this winter thing, though I have gotten out a bit recently to take some photos (see today's post!). The wild turkeys seemed to be enjoying Tuesday's snow storm, while I was happy to return home where it was warm.

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    3. I'll stop by. :) The recent snowstorm/blizzard was tough after having mildish weather in December and January. We were in the Chicago suburbs during the blizzard and it was rough! I was impressed with how quickly they plow out their roads, though--even on weekends! Stay warm!

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  4. I think the various reasons why we write overlap. I would expect that for most of us it is a mixture of mine and ours. Even if you write a diary mostly for yourself (for instance to remember what you were growing) (mine), other people might learn from what you write (making it ours), even if it was not the original purpose of your writing. Yet others might make you useful suggestions (ours again). It is difficult to untangle all these reasons.
    I used to live in a city and be part of a Master Gardener Group. Now I live in an isolated place and hardly have any contact with other gardeners and that is the main reason I started blogging. I find amazing how much a blog tells you about the person who writes it. If you were to meet in person all those you know through their blogs, you already know which ones you would feel more at ease with!

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    1. Very good points, Alain. Even if the intention or motivation is one form, the ultimate outcome usually flows into another form. I have found that, too--that I feel like I really know people through their blogs. I've been fortunate to meet a few garden bloggers that I knew for quite a while online first. I was surprised how easily we slipped into conversations and got along very well--as if we were old friends. And I guess we were! I've always enjoyed spending time with gardeners, and garden bloggers share another level of interests. Great group!

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    1. Thank you! It's been on my mind, and suddenly it was time to continue the excellent conversation others started, but this time through my own blog.

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  6. I'm mainly a mine blogger, but do like to hear from the people who take the time to read my posts. I miss blotanical, it was so useful. Hopefully some day a similar site will become available. Your photos are fab, as they always are. I particularly like the umbellifer - what is it?

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    1. Yes, I miss Blotanical, too. It wasn't perfect, but joining Blotanical introduced me to gardeners from around the world. Regarding your question: I wasn't familiar with the term umbelifer, but I think you must mean the plants that are in the Umbelliferae family (now Apiaceae)? I'm not sure of the cultivar of the blue Verbena (Verbenaceae). That was taken at a local botanical garden. The last photo is a Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), which is in the Apocynaceae family.

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    2. Apologies, I meant to write umbel, referring to the type of inflorescence shown in the last photo! The Swamp Milkweed is very pretty!

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    3. Ah, yes. It is a beauty! It's very beneficial to our Monarch butterflies, too. Some (better) nicknames for it are Rose, Red, or Marsh Milkweed. It actually grows quite well in normal, average home gardening conditions. It's too bad it got stuck with the "swamp" nickname. Other butterflies and hummingbirds love it, too!

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  7. Selfishly speaking I'm glad of your Plant Postings for the pure enjoyment of seeing and learning about your garden. The writer in you has been honed too and hence each post is a gem. Thank you for all your visits and comments Beth - good to keep up with Blotanists especially after I lost the garden!
    p.s. I blog in triplicate to keep boundaries around my three main interests and I am mindful of desisting from popularity seeking and doing it just for me. But I avoid overt controversy as it can cause offence so evidently others are always in my thoughts! Laura x

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    1. Thanks, Laura. You are kind. Yes, I miss the Blotanists, too. We had a great circle of gardening "friends" going there. I hope a new platform will be able to fill the void. I haven't found one yet that quite meets the same purpose as Blotanical. I find it amazing that you keep three blogs going--and so artfully! I have a professional blog now, and two blogs is almost too much for me. ;-) Thanks for keeping in touch.

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  8. This topic has been in my mind in the past weeks! After some years blogging I needed to take an step back and reflect. In the past years I have moved between cities and countries and that affected negatively to my frequency of blogging, but on the other hand it enriched the content in posts. I can position myself in the combo option, I started because a friend encourage me to share my photography and I had so much fun that in a instant I was addicted to blogging. After, added to the blog a sense of a repository of my work and research, which meant some professional aim in the end. But now I am in the mood of mixing my personal with professional experiences and trying a new approach. My blog is about botanical visuals more than gardening, because I not always have a garden of my own, but I love reading about different way of gardening in the planet, although I must admit I don't have the time to read as many blogs (and comments) as I would like. That's another question: how much time can you spare to produce your content and consume other's? If you are a producer and not and avid consumer, are you a worse person for concentrating on yourself? And about comments, what about readers that don't leave comments? Do we need them to feel we have succeeded in our task? Is visits or readers numbers what only counts? Thanks so much for bringing up this topic!

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    1. Lula: Part of what I so enjoy about your blog is the diversity! And of course the excellent photography! You always surprise and amaze me with your incredible photos and destinations! "Addicted to blogging" is a good way to put it. That's what happened to me, too! I found I looked at the world in an entirely different way. I was more observant, and mindful, and able to live in the present. Wow, good questions that you bring up at the end! As I mentioned, I'm thinking there isn't a right or wrong answer, or a certain way to do it. Just being aware of the purpose helps to form the current and future direction. I was feeling a bit like I was losing my "voice" for a while, so I switched direction a bit. And I'm always more introspective during the winter months when I have more time to think, and not as many chores to complete. I'll look forward to your new focus with your blog!

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  9. Great post and you succinctly defined the reason(s) most of us blog. I often wonder "why"?--why am I doing this? I didn't have many people with whom I could natter about plants-n-gardening with, so I thought I'd write. Along the way, I've developed an interest in photography and a much greater appreciation of the importance of the citizen scientist and environmental conservationism--it was an interest before, now it's an imperative. I've written a few 'how-to' posts, but I want those new to gardening to appreciate native and water-wise plants and the importance of providing for wildlife.

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    1. Hi Tina: Yes, you bring up another wonderful aspect of blogging about plants and gardening--our role in providing and communicating about habitat for wildlife. I don't think we realized until recently how important our gardens and properties could be, with so much habitat disappearing for development and other purposes. Now, if gardeners plant beneficial and native plants, they can make a huge difference! Citizen science, too, is so important. Plus, it's fun!

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  10. This is an interesting and perceptive way of classifying bloggers, Beth. I always thought there were two divisions, the "professional" bloggers who have a financial motivation for posting, and the individual bloggers who post strictly for personal reasons. In the first group I include people who have a landscaping or other garden-related business or people who write professionally, whether they have published a book or are writing for magazines. In other words, it is important for them to get their name out there, so to speak, and they tend to use social media as well. The number of readers for them is especially important. The individuals, however, have no other purpose in blogging other than keeping a personal garden journal or learning from other gardeners, but they do enjoy the interaction with others. Sometimes these bloggers even try to keep some anonymity. I have definitely seen the difference between these two types at the few Flings I have attended.

    But I also like your clearer classification and think that people often jump back and forth between categories. I was going to say I was mostly a "mine," but I do love the interaction between bloggers and getting to make new friends through blogging. I used to spend more time writing posts and enjoyed the whole writing process, but for the last year or so, I just can' t seem to find the time or the motivation to try to write something clever, so I often think my posts are pretty dry anymore. I enjoy participating in a few memes, like May Dreams Gardens' Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, because it has provided me with a great monthly record of my garden; Gail's Wildflower Wednesday, because I've learned so much about native plants this way, and your Lessons Learned, because it makes me reflect on the past season each time. Occasionally, I'll join in on another meme, but I hesitate to join too many, or that's all I would have time to post.

    Indie's comment could describe me as well--I have loved joining this garden community and finding other people who enjoy talking about gardening as much as I do. I have been lucky enough to meet some of them in person as well, and it's convinced me that gardeners are some of the nicest people around!

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    1. Thanks for that thoughtful response, Rose. Yes, the point about business-based blogs and blogs for authors makes sense. I've often thought it would be rewarding to write a book, so I understand that motivation of needing to get the word out. Regarding your blog: Obviously, it's one of my favorites. Your photos are beautiful and I'm especially thrilled to visit your blog in spring--to see what will be blooming soon in my garden, since you're just a bit ahead of me. ;-) I have the same feelings about memes. I absolutely love them, but I have to switch things up and participate in memes off and on because of limited time. I love to read meme posts, though. They present that "community" "ours" format in such fabulous way. Garden bloggers are wonderful folks. ;-)

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  11. I blog the way I used to play the piano for my own amazement and the amusement of the dog. If my babble about the Calvin Cycle and reasons to water succulents of family Crassula in the evening interested anybody else, I am glad.

    I do not regurgitate long paragraphs of documented university hort site information in a professorial voice. I write about whether it is true that putting Hyacinth bulbs in a refrigerator with fruit will kill the embryo flower using my own unintentional experience and showing photos of the emerging buds.

    I miss Blotanical too.





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    1. I loved your response, Jean! I giggled reading about playing the piano for the dog. The practical advise of fellow bloggers is invaluable. I also enjoy the technical side of things and the botany of it, but making it simple and understandable keeps my interest. There are several incredible, but highly technical, blogs that are fascinating. But yes, long spouts of technical info probably belong in a textbook. I wonder if we'll ever experience another forum like Blotanical?

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  12. It is not important to me, if you're writing for yourself, or for us, I would still like to look here. You think you feel satisfied and it is nice. Regards.

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    1. Thanks, Giga. I feel the same way about your blog. I would visit no matter what your intended purpose or audience because I like your approach. Plus, I get to learn about plants and gardening in Poland when I visit you. I'm thinking it's good for the blogger to keep purpose and audience in mind when he/she sits down to write a post. Cheers!

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  13. I agree with many who have written in, that my blog is a mixture of mine and ours. Like you, I am amazed at the genuine kindness and friendship that is developed through these blogs. A friend had told me that....he called it "your tribe", but I didn't believe him until I experienced it myself. My blog was designed to help me write my book and to help me figure out the shapes of said book! It hasn't been as much help in that way as I'd hoped. I still am working with a developmental editor to discover the primary themes--gardening is certainly one of them. I'm thinking of it as cycles of Life. I LOVE Jean Campbell's comment. Cracks me up-:)

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    1. "Your tribe" -- so true. I also enjoyed the humor of Jean's comment. ;-) Interesting that you started the blog to assist in developing your book, and many of us approach from the opposite direction: We start a blog, which spawns the idea or rekindles a previous goal to write a book. Good luck as you shape your book, Susie!

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  14. My blog is a bit of a mish mash of every kind of post or that's how I intend it to be anyway.
    I started blogging mainly for myself to record what was happening in my garden but also to 'meet' like minded folks. None of my family and friends are gardeners so thought it would prove useful to pick up hints, tips and advice on the way. I hadn't realised just how friendly everyone would be. I've gained a wealth of information along the way and hope that I am now able to put together a post that at least one person will find interesting.
    Issues with education (or should I say me not wanting an education and thinking I knew better than my parents) means that writing does not come naturally to me and I do worry that it shows in what I write but the more I write the more confidence I am gaining.

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    1. Well, Angie, I never would have known that writing doesn't come naturally for you, because your posts are always well-written, entertaining, and lovely! It sounds like you and I had similar motivations throughout the stages of blogging--from the beginnings to the present. I do have many friends and family members who garden, which provides a nice base of joy and knowledge. Gardeners are friendly folks, that's for sure!

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  15. I think in its best form writing is a at once a personal endeavor and the beginning of a conversation with others, but it's easy for me to forget this. I just started blogging recently and it's the first time I've written in 5 plus years. One of the reasons I stopped writing was because I was spending all my time doing private journalling and it felt like a waste of time; I decided going forward I wouldn't write if I didn't have an external audience in mind.

    What's been a pleasant surprise is how personally rewarding it has been to get started. Especially because I've spent several years living in cities and apartments really without any outdoor or natural space to call my own. That was harder on me than I realized and starting to write about it has been therapeutic in it's own way.

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    1. Helpful points, Chris! In my personal experience, writing in private without an audience can be fulfilling on its own. But at a certain point, it becomes a bit boring. It doesn't feel as sustainable over time as carrying on a conversation through my writing. But along the way, I feel a great need to write what my own soul and person are whispering in my ear--not necessarily what other people might want to read. Although sometimes the authenticity of writing personal thoughts can tend to spark deep thoughts and interactions from others. Cheers to your restart with the writing!

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  16. Hello,
    Thank you for your honesty and thoughts about blogging. I like to share adventures, tips I have learned along the way in life, fun quotes that make me smile and I love reading other peoples blogs. I have learned so much from reading others blogs.

    Carla

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    1. Thank you, Carla. To me, what you have communicated is what most attracts me to nature, travel, plant, and garden blogging--my own blogging, and the posts of fellow bloggers. It's like a free education, "on-the-job" learning, and also incredibly fun!

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  17. Great post...I blog for me and to teach others..I also read comments when I visit...Michelle

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. Interestingly, I'm finding that most of my posts work in your "Nature Notes" meme, without my even trying to match the theme of a meme. So it's a good fit for me. :) Thanks for hosting it! I do try to read comments when I visit a blog, but mostly I try to visit many blogs and read them thoroughly. I also attempt to comment back on all comments on my blog, although occasionally some comments on past posts slip through the cracks. Great reminder to check back on that!

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  18. Hi Beth,
    I am a mish mash sort of person all the way around. I think of the blog as a form of keeping a journal, but do tend to address the readers when I write. One thing I have been firm about is blogging for fun, and have never put up ads. Actually, I got started blogging by visiting with people, such as Jean and others in an ivilliage garden forum. I think I learned about Blotanical from them as well. I have not posted since October, though, because I am not spending too much time on FaceBook. In fact, that's how I ended up here, because you had a link to this post there. I am hoping to start posting at least once a month, maybe just for Wildflower Wednesday. I am not one who is organized enough to reply to each comment on my blog, but go visit each person's blog and leave a comment there. I miss it, and hope to get back into it.

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    1. I should have mentioned the fun part! Yes, that is crucial for me, too. Mine is not a work-related endeavor, although my experiences in starting, maintaining, and improving my blog have helped me with professional projects, too. You have had many personal exciting things happening in your life. I find when that happens to me, I have to put the blog on the back burner a bit. The nice thing is that when I give it a little rest, I'm so enthused to get back! I love Wildflower Wednesday!

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  19. Again, Blotanical, tempted me to try my own blog.
    I appreciate the online searchable garden journal. I've settled into a monthly post, that tells our garden story in bite-sized chapters.
    Travel posts let me relive happy or at least interesting slices of my life.

    I do need and appreciate readers and their comments - or I could return to the dead tree journals I had for the Camps Bay garden. How flat, how uninspired they feel compared to the rich life with active links and instant - Anyone know what this plant is? Thank you!

    Blogging is social media and I leave as many comments as I can - fanning the vitality that makes blogs live.

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    1. Yes, I remember meeting you through Blotanical, Diana. Thanks for trying to help resurrect it. Maybe someday we'll have a similar tool. If you know of one, let me know please. Your last sentence says it all ... "fanning the vitality that makes blogs live." Nice.

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  20. What a great question Beth....I started my blogs to share my stories and experiences with others and then moved to journaling about my garden more....and now it is a mish mash of both. I love the discourse blogging gives me and the back and forth in the discussion is what keeps me addicted and writing. Great discussion here.

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    1. It is an addiction, isn't it? A good one (in my experience), though. It's not hurting anyone (except maybe for those who blog into their sleeping time or worry unduly about the next topic). As Sue mentioned, I try to keep my blogging experience fun, and so far it has been a labor of love. Thanks, Donna. :)

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  21. I really enjoyed your thoughtful, reflective post, Beth. My blog is only eight months old, but it has become such an unexpected joy in my life! I thought I would just be sharing garden experiences in my posts, but truly I have been documenting the stories of my life. I just follow my heart! It is so lovely to meet kindred spirits from around the world. The blogging community has been so encouraging and supportive! The comments that readers leave are the very best part of blogging for me. It feels like I have 'pen pals' all over the world! I'm looking forward to your next post! ♡

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    1. Thanks, Dawn. Yes, I feel the same way about the "pen pals"! I had several penpals when I was a teenager, and it was a rewarding experience. Blogging simply makes it that much easier to develop friendships with people around the world. It really is a small world when you have friends in many different places. :) Garden bloggers are fabulous supporters. Cheers!

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  22. Great post! Interesting to see why people blog. I actually started my blog as a way of sharing my garden (& other photos) with my Mom. I would tell her what I was growing or what was blooming and she'd always say "send me a picture!" So I decided to put them on a blog then it would be a diary of sorts for both of us. Since we don't live near each other, it's worked out great. Meeting other gardeners was kind of a side benefit. :)

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    1. How sweet. That makes sense, but I'd never heard of that impetus before. Your mom must be thrilled with your amazing accomplishments! Your photography, your excellent writing, your plant knowledge ... your beautiful blog!

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  23. Looking forward to meeting you too! Must admit that I've had days when I backspaced over several paragraphs when I re-read and realized that my sharing didn't serve people who might stop by. Always mindful of the public. As much as I enjoy beautiful photos in other blogs - and there are so many splendid ones out there - I want to see/know what pests, problems, solutions are out there. I want to know what's blooming and what the plants look like in different parts of the world. I'm striving to make my blog a wee piece of the North American gardening puzzle: Weather, pests, design styles, plant tastes, and because it's a blog some of my personality. Perhaps it's my old university history background, but I think it would be great years out, to take a collection of blogs and study what captured our interests and hearts in the garden world during this period.

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    1. The more I read these comments here, the more I realize how rich this community is! You're right--the current and future history, and the information of it all are fascinating. I often start to write something and then "backspace" or delete, too. Generally, once I post I don't go back much ... unless I see an embarrassing typo, or I want to clarify a point based on new knowledge or a comment from a reader. Thanks for your insights about the "gardening puzzle" and the history gleaned from gardening blogs.

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  24. I'm in your camp, and couldn't have said it better.

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    1. Thanks, Ricki. What's especially fascinating to me is that I'm learning so much from the comments. The discussion continues ...

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  25. Very interesting question, PP. Maybe this is a little weird, but what really drives me to blog is the desire/need to make and tell stories. I like to write, and I love to learn about and make sense of things. Putting together stories about things that fascinate me is so satisfying. I wonder if anybody else feels this way? So it's kind of a me-thing, but also an urge to share. And I like to read blogs by others who are excited about their topics.

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    1. Yes, it does make sense, Hollis. I guess that was part of my original purpose for starting my blog--the urge to tell stories about the plants in my garden. I didn't think of it as much more than that until I realized the joy of interacting with others who were gardening and blogging in similar and very different situations and conditions. But, yes, the storytelling aspect of it makes blogging more compelling, in my opinion.

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  26. Reading your post I find that we journeyed down the same blogging path. Like most things in my life my posts are an eclectic mix and I'm good with that. I have to admit that sometimes I get down, sometimes my life is so busy and not so inspired and then other times I have lots to say and share. I love the interaction with other bloggers and it is especially fun when we get to meet those bloggers we've become friends with in person.

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    1. Yes, I'm looking forward to meeting you at the fling, Karin (I think I saw your name on the list?)! Personally, I don't think I would be able to sustain a blog that was purely yours, mine, or ours. But going the mash-up route keeps me motivated. When I write too many mine posts, it seems too much like examining my navel. How-tos get a little boring as a writer. I guess the "ours" format is my favorite, but sometimes I feel like I'm losing my personal voice if I don't purely write what's on my mind once in a while. So, the "mash-up" works for me, too!

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  27. I started my blog as a way to share my garden through photos with a few family members but realized it filled my need to write. I'm not sure how to classify my blog. I definitely write for myself but also want to share my experiences with my readers so I guess I'm a combo mashup. But I also want to educate and inspire by sharing the idea that no garden is perfect, that perfection is contextual, dependent on perspective, and ultimately, ephemeral. I want my readers to not give up and to think, 'If she can do it, I can do it." I want them to be fearless, brave, and happy with their gardens or motivated to fix what can be fixed. I want them to laugh and let go a bit. :o)

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    1. Your blog is definitely unique, Tammy! Your use of humor is so effective. I appreciate what you say about the ephemeral nature of any garden. It's kind of like that Colbie Callait song, "You Don't Have to Try So Hard." Gardening is supposed to be fun, healthy, and enjoyable. Yes, challenging and frustrating at times, but a rewarding, doable endeavor!

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  28. I see so many comments that echo in my heart...it's saying, yes, that's me, that's what I feel, and why I blog the more I read.

    I'm still exploring so many of the reasons that I blog...and I like doing that, while each post may not resonate with everyone of my readers, I am opening up discussions that might not be considered if I was silent.

    Maybe that's one more reason why I blog.

    Jen

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    1. I appreciate the "opening up of discussions," Jen! This aspect of blogging has become increasingly important and rewarding for me. We learn so much from each other. And we also support, challenge, and encourage each other, which I think brings out the best in our blogs.

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  29. There seems to be a near-consensus of "some of each". I do care about having an audience, but I also want to write about what's on my mind. I wouldn't change the basic nature of what or how I write to attract more readers. At the same time, the interactions with readers and other bloggers enrich the experience immeasurably.

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    1. Yes, many of us seem to gravitate toward a mix--maybe not all a mash-up, but a mix of two or more formats/audiences. I guess that makes sense. As I mentioned in a previous comment, it's hard for me personally to sustain a single format--both for my own interest and motivation, and for the ongoing discussion. Your last sentence describes the "ours" dynamic perfectly!

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  30. Hi Beth. I have tried numerous times to leave a comment on this post but your blog is not accepting it. I will be brief and say you hit the nail on the head with the choices. GWGT was always and will be always a blog for others rather than myself, so yes readers are very important. I can not imagine others interested in my travels without at least talking about the place and people rather than me in it. I saw a Northern Cardinal too!

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    1. Oh dear, I'm sorry about that, Donna. I saw only this comment in my Google Blogger dashboard. No matter what you write about or photograph, it will be interesting, Donna, whether it's you or the place or the other people. You have a true gift with your photography and storytelling. I am amazed that there are Northern Cardinals in Hawaii! That seems so strange, but wonderful. I can't wait to read your posts about your trip!

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  31. I also giggled at Jean’s comment about playing the piano for the amusement of the dog – I don’t play the piano for my cat, but I do tell him about the ins and outs of aphids, slugs and snails in the garden, and how to stake peonies so they look almost straight but not too straight and so on. He is a perfect listener, hardly ever interrupts.

    And when the cat isn’t enough interaction I write a post, often too long posts, and get lots of lovely comments - I really enjoy having the contact and feedback on what I write. It was a bit lonely the first year when I was writing, but I didn’t write my blog for other people, I wrote it for myself, as a diary, and I suppose I still do. I like to look back on older posts now and then just to see how my garden has changed, but I also like to write how-to posts now and then and I try to chuck in the experience I can contribute with in my answers to people who has commented, after all, I have learned so much these 4 years of blogging so I really would like to give something back to anyone interested. I have met so many lovely people online these 4 years, and I have actually met some of them too, as you know! My online social life feels very rich and makes up for the lack of ‘real’ social life due to my health issues which make me practically housebound.

    My blog has made me a better gardener and a better photographer, through my blog and blogs I have visited I have learned a lot I would never have sat down and read on my own initiative, and by taking thousands of photos and more recently also regularly filming my garden I get practice I would not have got if I didn’t have a deadline hanging over me. And I must also admit my English has got better the last 4 years, it helps practicing….for someone like me who only learned English at school and started practicing it at the age of 35, I can truly say I am still learning English. Writing a blog is a very good way of practicing this language which is so difficult once you get past the ‘tourist level’!

    My blog has evolved into a combo, I am following a few memes every month and with a few other posts in between I am trying to limit the amount of posts but I have so many topics I could have written about if I could just find the time. I am thinking of adding a food section to my blog but I have no idea when I would get time to write, comment and answer – I am too busy in the garden - I will have to give up sleeping then!

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    1. I agree re: the plentiful topics and insufficient time. Ha! We can't give up our sleeping time--that would be tragic! I don't know what you're saying about your English, Helene. I would have thought you'd been speaking it and writing it your entire life!

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  32. Hi Beth! I enjoyed this post and I appreciate your thoughts about blogging. Writing and photography is my passion, plus I like to communicate with other gardeners. That is why I have my blog. There are two more things to add: 1- blogging is a good workout for my brains, my memory; 2- writing a post causes me to research a subject, and I like research. If I just keep pictures of some garden I visited in my archive, I enjoy them, that's all. If I write a post about that garden, I learn more about it, I notice details in the pictures, try to find out more about them, etc. I should admit that I slowed down my blogging last year because of my volunteering and involvement with my kids' school life and also because I have another blog in Russian.
    Thanks again and Happy Blogging!

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    1. Thank you, Tatyana! A brain workout and research opportunities ... of course! Those are important to me, too. The comments on this post have helped me to realize the benefits and purpose of blogging are so multifaceted! How impressive that you have a second blog in Russian!

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  33. That was such an interesting post. I started my blog partially as a record of my garden and to help others. I never expected very many people to read it, but I'm glad I'm still writing after seven years. I would definitely say it's a mashup, a combo. I still keep track of things I do and how the garden looks throughout the seasons, but I also still want to converse with people about gardening. I would say all of the garden bloggers I know are passionate about the craft, and I'm so glad they share info with others.~~Dee

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    1. The passion part ... yes, that is so true, Dee. :) I'm finding more than anything that no matter who is the intended audience, if we write and post with passion, the blog finds its purpose. Sharing with others brings me great joy.

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  34. Oh, Blotanical! I miss it. That was how I discovered the great big botanical world out there! I started my blog mainly to share my garden with others, as not many people saw it because of my location, as well as to give creative outlet for my love of writing and photography. Those are still my main motives, but I have probably received more benefits than my readers. I had no idea what I was getting into, the amount of work it would take, or the great gardeners I would get to know and their inspirational gardens I would get to see. I have been blogging for over five years, and I cannot see stopping now. Happy blogging!

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    1. Me, too, Deb (re: Blotanical). Good point, also, about receiving more than we give. Being a part of this great botanical blogging world is such a gift. I appreciate it more every day. Happy blogging to you, too!

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  35. Blotanical, Buffa10, Horticulture magazine, conversations about building stone walls and growing ginger with gardeners fromthe other side of the world have made blogging a wonderful experience.. Favorite blogs have come and gone j. Really it's like having a huge library of gardening experiences at my fingertips. Most of all it is FUN!

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    1. Applause! The fun part is the best part. I couldn't agree with you more about the "huge library of gardening experiences" at our fingertips. And people are so willing to share information, tips, and knowledge. What a blessing.

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  36. What a great post! So many people clearly enjoyed it and were eager to share their ideas. I love this sort of post which provokes so much discussion. I think most of us are mostly ' mine' and ' ours' bloggers. We all love gardening and love to talk about it. If we have something nice in bloom we want to say: 'Hey, come and look at this!' And we want to have a nosey in everyone one else' s garden and see what they have in bloom. We all learn from each other.
    I started to blog because I enjoy writing and gardening. I have been delighted to find a whole community of like- minded people round the world with very different sorts of gardens. It is lovely to be able to chat and exchange ideas.

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    1. Thanks, Chloris. True! We all have something to talk about. And photograph! Learning from each other is a pleasant benefit. Sounds like we started our blogs (and continue them) for similar purposes and motivations.

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  37. Dear Beth, this is a great post! And it comes at the right time for me, since I was wondering in the last couple of days where I would like to go with my own blog and your questions can help clarify my intentions and motivations.
    One thing I know for sure though, I blog to have contact to and to be able to communicate with other gardening bloggers that are as passionate about gardening as I am myself. That is a big part of the fun that blogging brings into my life. Have to ponder about the other questions a little bit more...
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thank you, Christina, and I'm glad the discussion was useful for you. :) It helped me to clarify some thoughts, too, and confirmed my faith and joy in this online community of botanical bloggers. Cheers!

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