As someone who has been damned for being a self promoter, I must definitely come in the ‘braggart’ category. (see Veddw blog…)(see what I mean?)
And you? Why do you blog? Here’s Jane Scorer’s opinion.
Anne Wareham, editor
There must be as many reasons for garden blogging as there are bloggers, some altruistic and some centred very firmly around our fragile little egos.
Garden blogging is something which gives me real pleasure, and recently, I have been trying to analyse the reasons for this, in an entirely honest way. Sometimes when that mirror is held up, we may not like what we see.
In my defence, I have written a daily journal, for thirty years, and no-one but myself has ever read it. It is the process of writing which gives me pleasure, and that is not diminished in any way by the lack of an audience. I think that establishes my credentials for writing for its own sake, without ever expecting soothing balm for my ego. Yet, I have to admit that there is a certain pleasure in those comments from strangers on my blog posts, which makes me stand a little taller.
My garden blog was the result of an organic process, and the decision to start it came almost as an afterthought. After reshaping parts of the garden, I decided to record a whole season by taking photographs every week, from the same viewpoints, to record the changes in detail. I felt that this overview would enable me to make informed improvements. Then it occurred to me that it was something which may interest other people, and so the blog was born. Maybe it is egotistical to imagine that anyone else would have the slightest interest .
This whole new world of garden blogging has been a revelation to me in so many ways, and I’ve found that it can demonstrate the best and the worst of human characteristics. At its worst, it consists of self seeking braggarts striding boldly into virtual communities and shouting “I’VE GOT A LOVELY GARDEN. COME AND LOOK AT MY LOVELY GARDEN’’ and striding off again, with never a backward glance. At its best it is a thought provoking exchange of ideas between passionate gardeners, often at opposite sides of the globe.
I live in deepest Lincolnshire and, for the most part, my daily life is played out within a twenty mile radius of where I live. It is a small world. The most exciting part of blogging for me is that I can, with one click, slip out of that time / place continuum and slide through a portal into endless other worlds. I enjoy the diversity of garden blogger’s own worlds, and seek out the extremes. Within seconds I can go from maritime Nova Scotia to India in the monsoon. I can be looking at the first snows in Finland or a humming bird in Kuala Lumpur. This morning, I have already watched a clip of the beginning of the rainy season in Townsville, Australia, and commiserated with a blogger in Alberta, Canada, coping with a minus 36 windchill factor. If that doesn’t blow a gardener’s mind, then nothing will. I collect those blogs like a collector collects stamps, saving them on my Blogroll and visiting them every time there is a new post.
Fact : the average blogger runs out of steam in around four months. My theory is that it is the shouty ones, who tire of the sound of their own voices , because they have nothing new to say. Thankfully, there are so many intelligent, thoughtful bloggers out there, who are still fresh and innovative after years of posting. My four month mark is long past now, and I would like to think I am in it for the long haul, but worry that I will fail to find new things to say about the daffodils when they are yet again in bloom. Will I be caught in a cyclical ‘Ground Hog Day’ forever taking photos of the changing seasons and giving them jaunty titles.
I need to ‘fess up at this time, that garden blogging has improved my dreadful geography. For the first few months, I had a world map ever open on the desk top, so that I could locate … erm … countries ! To my shame, I have learned more about climates, cultures and countries in this last year than in the fifty years preceding it.
The word ’community’ is often used in the world of blogging, and at first I think I was cynical about the veracity of this. I’m a convert now! There are definitely an infinite number of virtual communities, shifting and changing all the time, just as they do in the real world. I am still a relative newcomer, but I am aware of the bonds between people , who, incidentally, sometimes do make the leap from the virtual world to the physical one.
So … ego… is it the mainspring of garden blogging ? Hand on heart, there is a weeny bit of me which loves it when someone tells me that my garden/ flower/post is lovely and I suspect I am not alone. But it is not my driving force. For a tiny few, I think maybe it is ego driving them to post, visit and comment. The frisson of pleasure at being complimented, the tiny surge of self-importance when dispensing advice. Personally, blogging is mainly a channel for my writing and a way of communicating with other passionate gardeners. It has also had unexpected benefits in that it has made me much more analytical about my own garden. Spending so much time thinking about it, photographing it and looking at other people’s gardens has brought everything into much sharper focus. Weirdly, I think it has made me a better gardener.
Being a relative newcomer, I know nothing about the ethos of other types of bloggers, but garden bloggers are a kindly bunch. They are quick to reassure and empathise, they are supportive and just plain … nice. Slow to condemn and criticise, quick to offer advice and support. Are fashion bloggers like this ? Foodies ? I just don’t know. Garden bloggers are essentially gardeners, who seem to share those character traits which make gardening appealing to them – nurturing, patience, optimism …
So, are garden bloggers braggarts shouting “LOOK AT MY LOVELY ROSES” or global socialites, slipping across continents to dispense wisdom and empathy ? The truth, I suppose, is somewhere in-between. The virtual world mirrors the real one, in that every human strength and failing is here and for every twenty people you can’t wait to talk to, there is one you duck behind the arbour to avoid.
Jane Scorer blog and website