February 10, 2015

Valentine Greetings for My Favorite Bloggers

favorites

Do you have favorite blogs that you visit repeatedly? What is it about them that encourages you to return repeatedly?

I have many favorites, and the reasons I visit them vary. Here are just a few:

Blogger A is a sister from a different mother. Our values are similar. We don't always agree, but we respect each other and we hit it off from the start. This is the type of blogger who, when we meet in person for the first time, feels like a long-time friend. We never tire of comparing notes about plants, gardening, life, and everything in between.

orchid

Blogger B is one of the best photographers I've ever encountered. When I visit his blog, I audibly gasp in wonder at the beauty of his craft. His photos of plants, nature, and landscapes encourage me to keep experimenting with photography, and to see the graceful beauty of simple things. He gives me a new view of the world every time I visit.

babys breath

Blogger C challenges me and educates me. She doesn't settle for mediocrity, and she inspires me to keep working to improve everything about my blog and my world. This blogger doesn't necessarily win all the awards, but perhaps she should. In many ways, I feel this exceptional blogger is underappreciated for the value of her work.

roses

Blogger X lives on the other side of the world (or the country) and opens my eyes and mind to unfamiliar plants, climates, gardening techniques, and cultures. My botanical adventures are deeply enriched by virtually visiting his space. Yes, I enjoy visiting bloggers who are similar to me, but I also find it richly rewarding to visit bloggers like this one who are worlds away. I may never experience anything like his garden firsthand, but I find it fascinating!

cosmos

Blogger Y visits my blog and always has a kind or constructive thing to say about my posts. In the same way that Blogger C challenges me, this blogger encourages me. It's not a coddling type of encouragement, but a supportive "your blog has value" message. This blogger enjoys my blog, and I enjoy hers. We have a symbiotic, joyful relationship.

wax flower

Blogger Z has an incredible plant collection. I'm always curious about what I'll find each time I visit. Some of the plants are new; others are established. But there's always a surprise or a new way of featuring or thinking about his plants. Secretly, I wish I could visit this blogger's actual garden to get a cutting of this plant, or some seeds from this other one, or ...

cyclamen

Did you recognize yourself or your own favorite blogs in these descriptions? I used "he" and "she" randomly and interchangeably here, because the truth is, it doesn't matter. Many of my favorite bloggers fit several of these categories, and many more. If I visit your blog regularly, you are a favorite!

Thank you for the reasons listed, and for your friendship. Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

* * * * * * 

Many who know me more personally are aware that my extended family has lost some dear ones in recent months. I'm trying to figure out a way to write about these losses, and I haven't decided how to do so in this venue. I'm unsure whether this is even the appropriate place. In any case, it doesn't feel like the right time. In the meantime, thank you for your kind words and support. They are much appreciated.

59 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to hear of your losses. It is often difficult to know how to talk about it. I also lost a dear one recently but in this case it is difficult to be sad for long as she was 96 and in very good health before her last week. How much more can you ask for? She was a keen gardener with an eye for integrating her garden in the natural setting.
    Your descriptions of your favorite blogs are very thoughtful and well-written. They show that you really pay attention to the blog you read.

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    1. Thanks, Alain. Yes, that is the best--96 and still gardening to the end. Regarding the blogs--there are so many favorites for so many different reasons. Variety is the spice of the gardening life. ;-)

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  2. I'm very sorry that you and your family have lost loved ones. We lost one of the pillars in my family in a very tragic way this fall. Although I had lots I wanted to say about it, I didn't think my blog was the place for it. Not that it was an inappropriate format, I just felt it was too public for the rest of my family who were more affected, and it was also more their story to tell then mine.

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    1. Thanks, Les. Yes, I agree exactly with your description. Thanks for putting it into words so well. I'm sorry for your loss, too. This new age of social media and the public Internet is taking some adjustment.

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  3. This was absolutely lovely, Beth. I have some favorites too, for many of the same reasons you gave.

    I'm so sorry you've been hurting from the loss of family members. Hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you, Kylee. This family of garden bloggers is a warm, powerful community. So many wonderful bloggers and wonderful people. :)

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  4. Hello,
    I am sorry for your loss. I lost my grandma January 22, 2014. I shared a little about it on my blog. I had made my grandma a book, Tell Me Your Story. I did this long ago, 1998. I had several questions for her to answer. The book became very special to read her answers to her while she was staying at The Dove House.

    I appreciate your blog. And enjoy what you write.
    Carla

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    1. Sorry about the loss of your grandma, Carla. Grandmas are such important role models in our lives. It's great that you were able to share your book with her. I'm glad we're getting to know each other through our Wisconsin blogs. :)

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear that. BTW your blog is one of my favorite. You share a lot of things, so you really open my mind on gardening.

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    1. Thank you, Endah. Yours is a favorite, too. Our gardens are so different, which makes the visits fascinating!

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  6. Having lost almost all my family I can really feel for your loss. I never made the announcement of loss because it never felt appropriate to do so on a blog which I like to keep happy and joyful. I wish you and your family all the best. As for favorite bloggers, I have those that change through the years. I look for those not repetitive and those fresh in ideas. I find garden blogging is often rehashing information, so I find those that visit many gardens interesting because likely I will never see those gardens first hand. Others find the how to's and plant recommendations most helpful, but being in the business, that is too close to work for me.I find your blog one I visit regularly and for some of the reasons you listed.

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    1. Oh gosh, Donna, sorry for your losses, too. My favorite blogs change sometimes, too, depending on the seasons and various other factors. I find that I really enjoy visiting a mix of very diverse blogs--some that are like mine and others that are very different.

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  7. This was a lovely post. Your photos are always so good - I like the border you used on them too.
    I'm sorry to hear of your losses. It's always so tough. I don't know if you're interested in family history, but I recently started a blog about mine and find it a nice place to write about family members that are no longer with us.
    Sending you best wishes, Tim

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    1. Thanks, Tim. Sometimes it's fun to play around with photo editing--especially for a holiday or special occasion. That's a great idea to start a blog about your family. I wouldn't want to do it by myself, but it would be fun to set one up for several people to maintain and participate.

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  8. I have lots of lovely blogs I visit all the time, and often talk about them as if they are my friends, which in a way they are. Some blogs I visit just to look at the images and to see what they are up to. It's a big part of my life now and would miss it if I stopped bloging..

    Sorry for your loss and I wish you well...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks, Amanda. I agree: These favorites are a big part of my life now, which has been enriched by visiting blogs and blogging myself. I can't imagine my days without this wonderful community.

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  9. I love how you approached this blog post. It is general yet inclusive; beautifully written. As gardeners we have our own unique talents and approach to gardening which is then reflected in blogs. My favorites are those that have a real passion about the subjects they write/photograph/do. I will be praying for your family and hope y'all find strength and comfort in the days ahead.

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    1. Thanks, Karin! Yes, passion is important, too, isn't it? You can sense it in the writing, the presentation, and the photography. :) Thanks for the prayers. We need them.

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  10. Geraldton wax flower was one my mother loved. I've written about my mother, my father and my great-nephew. But there are stories that are not ours to tell - I have one sister who is vehemently NOT on any social media, and 2 who are.

    I miss being able to read blogs from gardeners in my area. I read other mediterranean climate bloggers, and write deliberately for readers who are mostly not in South Africa.

    My sympathies on the dear ones you and your family have lost.

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    1. We frequently have waxflowers available at our florists as filler flowers. I like the way they set off Roses. Your blog is my connection to South Africa--I so enjoy it! Thank you for your kind words of comfort, Diana.

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  11. I am so sorry for your loss, Beth. When my niece's husband died very suddenly at the age of 40 a few years ago, I wanted to say something on my blog because it had such an impact on our whole family. But I felt it was her story, not mine, so I didn't other than perhaps a passing sentence or two. I think it's entirely appropriate to write about your loss here, but only if it feels right to you. If you feel better about sharing those feelings with everyone, then we are here to support you, and I know it will be beautifully written. On the other hand, we can respect your wishes for privacy as well. Prayers for healing and comfort to your family.

    What a lovely valentine! You have described so many of my favorite bloggers, too:) You fit most of these categories yourself, Beth, with your beautiful photography and all the interesting information you present. I enjoy reading blogs from other parts of the world, but it's also nice to commiserate with a fellow Midwest gardener. A Happy Valentine's Day to one of my favorite bloggers!

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    1. Hi Rose: I appreciate your prayers and kind thoughts. As you know, when a loved one passes--no matter what the age or the circumstance--it's tough and rearranges our world. I can't make sense of it. But as you say, it doesn't feel like my story to tell--at least not here on my gardening blog, and not now. You are so kind. Yes, fellow Midwestern bloggers are dear to me, as are bloggers who have entirely different climates, plants, and gardens. Happy Valentine's Day to you, too!

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  12. It's nice to see your favorite blogs. Each of these is certainly. I'm sorry that your family lost loved ones. Regards.

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    1. Thanks, Giga. One thing I find interesting about your blog is that it shows how your climate, landscape, and some of your plants are so similar to mine -- though you're on the other side of the world! I enjoy your beautiful photography, too!

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  13. Beautiful post, Beth. When the time and venue are right, trust me, you'll write about your losses and the writing will be cathartic. After my daughter died, it was a year before I could write about her--but I did and it was one (of many) practices which allowed me to re-engage in a healthy way.

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    1. Thank you, Tina. I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I think you're right--writing is cathartic. Even if it's a private journal or one that we only share with a few other trusted friends and family. Thanks for your kind thoughts.

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  14. This is really a creative idea Beth--thank you. There are so many people I admire and I love the way you have broken out the various talents. I'm sorry for the loss you have had recently. As you haven't written about it, I don't know any particulars. However, you may find some comfort in the blog www.opentohope.com. It is all about different kinds of loss. Blessings to you.

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    1. So many talents among a wealth of amazing garden/plant bloggers! These were just a few I could think of. Many of my favorites fall into multiple categories. Thanks for your kind words and the bereavement resource. I'll check it out. Peace.

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  15. Beth, sorry to read that you and your family are having sad times. I've no doubt you'll find the words, if and when the time is right for you.
    I loved this post and what better way to acknowledge your favourite blogs with a bit of Valentine's Day appreciation.

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    1. Thanks, Angie. Family and friends have been communicating through smaller social media groups, so that helps a little. I'm glad you enjoyed the format. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  16. This was a great post Beth.....such a clever way to acknowledge your favorite bloggers. You will always be a favorite blogger of mine my friend. Beth, I am thinking of you daily and wishing you and your family some solace in these sad times....much love to you!

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    1. Thanks, Donna. Of course you are a favorite of mine, too. :) I appreciate your kind words and thoughts. They mean so much.

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  17. Condolences on what must be a very sad loss. Best wishes to you. I enjoyed reading your blogger valentines.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. We're working our way through. Life is a journey with great joys and sorrows along the way. I'm glad you enjoyed the Valentine messages.

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  18. Aw, happy Valentine's Day! Your post was such a wonderful way to point out how many different types of great bloggers there are in this community! So sorry for your recent losses. Sometimes the grief is too big and the story too personal to be able to adequately express in such a form, but do know, the thoughts of your fellow garden bloggers are with you and your family.

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    1. Hi Indie: It does help to have such a beautiful community of support. A large group of talented garden bloggers with large hearts. :) Happy Valentine's Day!

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  19. Beth, I don't know where I fit in, but I hope it is Blogger Y. Gardening, blogging and good friends can all make a big difference when life gets hard. I have plant friends. Sometimes I find solace working in my scented geraniums. We both feel and smell better afterwards !

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    1. Hi Becky: Yes, I would say that description fits. ;-) You should know yours is one of the first garden blogs I visited. I remember reading about your blog in Horticulture Magazine. And you have never disappointed. Yes, working with plants will always lift my spirits, too. Good point!

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  20. Mentioning your losses allows us into your life to smother you with kind thoughts. Thank you for always being so open.
    Happy Saint Valentine's Day, dear Beth.

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    1. Thanks, Ricki. Happy Valentine's Day, to you, too. What a wonderful community this is. Thanks for your kind words. :)

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  21. Sometimes with a loss we come to peace out of resignation and exhaustion. There is simply no other way so we accept it and move on. Most of my family has passed and it is a road I am so tired of. As for your blogging profiles, I have no idea where I fit, except for the photo comment which will never be about me. I'm just glad when my finger isn't in the picture. I've learned so much from blogging that to compare my garden pre-blogging to now, is to witness a dramatic change for the better. You have been part of that change. :o)

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    1. Sorry you've been through so much loss, Tammy. It's tough, no matter who it is and how it happens. I can think of several categories you would fit, and you're definitely one of my favorite bloggers. But you're also one of a kind, Tammy. ;-) You've been a huge influence on my journey, as well.

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  22. My condolences to you and your family for your losses. It does not make them come back but I know it does comfort a bit. These a re one of those moment when one has to reconsider life, but also celebrate life and be kind to one another. Happy Valentine's!

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    1. Thanks, Lula. Yes, kindness is a top priority. Also important to hug and care for each other. Happy Valentine's Day to you, too!

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  23. Oh what a heartfelt and clever post though I am sorry to read of your loss... Michelle

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. Your kind words mean so much. Peace.

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  24. love your idea of the mystery valentine approach - so well sums up blogging relationships and I can fit you into just about every category
    p.s. nearly missed that note of sadness Beth- can feel trivial to be posting when life events are occuring but its also a space of light relief for the eventual unburdening. Hugs

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    1. Thank you, Laura. Yes, it's all a journey, and tough to know how and when to communicate the difficult life events. I'm glad you enjoyed the format. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  25. Very cute post. Bloggers make great valentines don't they? Loved the way you wrote this. Thank you for all the times you come and leave a comment on my blog. They cheer me.~~Dee

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    1. Hi Dee: Yes, garden bloggers are wonderful friends. I always enjoy visiting your blog, and your comments are always thoughtful, too. Thanks for visiting and sharing in the knowledge exchange. :)

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  26. I found many bloggers whom I like to read, and admire in your list...very clever. It's a inspiring world out there, and I am always happy that there are so many amazing bloggers out there.

    Jen

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    1. Yes, an inspiring world is right! And the creativity just keeps getting better. Reading gardening blogs (including yours) is one of the highlights of my life. :)

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  27. I know from my own experience the dilemma of whether to share such a personal thing with your online friends or not. I think we all have to just find what’s right for us personally, there is no right or wrong here. My sincere condolences to you all, my thoughts are with you and your family Beth.

    Your post is touching a topic I discussed just the other day with someone, the fact that some blogs can be well visited for years while others crash after a short time. I have stopped a long time ago wondering what my visitors would like me to write….I just write and post what I have on my mind and I am so happy there are so many people that come back again and again to follow what happens in my tiny garden. You are one of my most faithful visitors Beth, I don’t think you have missed one single post I have written since first time you visited some oh…more than 3 years ago? I really value that kind of visitors, thank you for staying put with me!

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    1. Thanks, Helene. I like your idea of writing and posting what's on your mind. I'm doing that more lately, and finding it very rewarding. I think the creativity flows more easily with this approach. I may have missed a few of your posts, Helene, but not because I wanted to. I would like to visit your blog and garden every day. :) Sometimes life throws circumstances in the way, though, but I will always be a faithful follower of your blog. Plus, now that I've been to London and your garden, I have a personal connection and perspective.

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  28. What a lovely post and a great tribute to your favourite blogs. I feel the same and enjoy different blogs for different reasons, but the main reason I keep coming back to certain ones is because the writers feel like friends. That is the greatest gift that blogging has brought me. Having gardening friends all round the world and learning about the challenges of gardening in all these places is wonderful.
    My sympathy for your losses.

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    1. Friends, yes, that is a huge part of it, isn't it?! Gosh, you've put it into words so well, Chloris. It is a great gift. I feel like I'd be happy in just about every part of the world now. I can imagine my blogger friends in various places and it makes me feel at home. Thanks for your condolences, Chloris.

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  29. Beautifully said! There are so many bloggers whose blogs (like yours) I love reading and the community of garden bloggers is very vibrant and exciting! I'm sorry to hear about your losses. When you are ready and if you choose to write here about your losses, you will find sympathetic ears and eyes which is another special thing about this virtual community.

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    1. Thank you. You're right--this virtual community of garden bloggers is very special. I find it amazing to think of how many friends we all have around the world. It makes the world seem like a much smaller, more universally welcoming place.

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  30. Beautiful post. I'm sorry to hear that you too have suffered personal losses recently. I hope our frigid Valentine's Day was a good one for you!

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