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5 years on …

I was surprised when I read Helen’s blog yesterday to realize she has been blogging for 5 years. As we started blogging around the same time, this means I have been blogging for 5 years too!

I was struck by the anniversary, which had largely passed un-noticed, as writing this blog has been preying on my mind for the past few months. To stop or to continue? That is a question.

A lot has changed on the UK garden blogging world in the past 5 years, not least a huge increase in blogs which touch on all things horticultural. While there are now many well written and interesting blogs around, part of me does feel that the “fun” of my early blogging days has evaporated. It has all become so earnest now. Some of the feelings around the lack of fun is probably due to the excitement of those early days fading slightly, will anyone read my blog? Whose blog will I discover today? What will I learn? That wonderment is missing for me just now.

A few years ago we seemed to have a jolly time. VP organized “The dinner Party” in February 2009, how entertaining it was creating the post for this meme, and visiting other blogs to see who their chosen dinner party guests were. Shirl also did a fun meme based on the 3 plants you would have on your desert island and who could forget the Emsworth Village Show in 2008 and 2009 organised by Emma T.

I am sure there are similar memes around to-day and that I am not spending enough time online to discover them. The garden blogging world seemed a much smaller place 5 years ago.

With some of the Joie de vivre missing, the behind the scenes “nuts and bolts” of blogging is troublesome  more-so perhaps as my chosen platform is a self hosted wordpress blog, so something always needs mending or updating. We are bombarded with blogging advice from every corner of the world wide web;- how to protect our images, how to protect our written work, how to monetize, how to get more comments, more followers, using social networking, pinterest and so one. It is bewildering and dizzying. The amount of spam that I receive is wearing, but also the influx of requests for link exchange, guest posts, and advertising. It is the advertising that irritates me most. After receiving 3 increasingly irate emails from a company asking no, demanding my rates for placing an advert on the blog I responded rather brusquely stating that if the representative from the said company had actually REALLY read my blog – they would notice that I didn’t carry any adverts.

The very nature of a gardening blog means that it is cyclical – it’s January, it’s snowdrops and so on throughout the year. I have not lost my enthusiasm for all things gardening (Well perhaps a little, but then it is January) I just fear that I am becoming terribly predictable and dull. (err for those that are interested I have one snowdrop in the garden).

I don’t want to stop writing this blog – it is handy to look back and see what the weather was like this time last year, or what was flowering in May, or when did I get rid of that camellia. Somehow I need to recapture that Joie de vivre and look forward to writing my blog and reading other blogs.

Possibly the first step towards this is to actually carve out some time once a week to sit at my computer and write my post, rather than having a free floating “my blog, my blog, my blog” running through my head which is so debilitating. I used to do all my blogging late at night, but I have discovered that I sleep so much better if I turn off my computer a few hours before I go to bed.

So while I yearn for the simpler more innocent days of 5 years ago when I knew nothing but merely enjoyed the process, that is not going to return. Having written this post to-day, it has cleared my mind a little, and for a while once a week I will “show up at the page” and we shall see where that leads me.

What about you? If you write a blog are you one of the “old timers” who has been blogging for a few years, or is your blog still young? How do you feel about your blog?

If you read blogs regularly, what content keeps a blog fresh for you, what do you look for. Do leave a comment or write a follow up post.

in january ornamental grass give structure to the garden


62 comments to 5 years on …

  • I wonder if the difference between us is that you can be in your garden whenever, weather permitting, whilst I am stuck in an office wishing I was in my garden. Maybe as you spend so much time in your garden you dont want to then spend time writing about it. I dont think you are predictable or repetitive, I have enjoyed seeing your lawn vanish and more grasses etc appear, your trials and tribulations with neighbouring rabbits.

    I think you are right the early ‘fun’ element has gone. I havent noticed anyone organising any of those sorts of blogs you mentioned and it has become too earnest. I think too many blog as they think it is a way to change their career, make a name for themselves and they are blogging to prove something. I also think that whilst we get irritated about the advertising requests etc some see these as the purpose of blogging to get paid for adverts, earn a quick buck or two.

    I also blog because I live on my own, if you dont count my eldest son, and it helps me sort through ideas and information. I learn if I write things down.

    I’m not sure if sitting down to blog at a certain time each week if the best approach. I think you are just setting yourself up to fail and become annoyed. If you dont feel like blogging dont – why should you. I got in a right stew about my art classes, people sais you should continue as you are good, but it was a chore and to be honest was really getting me down. I might be alright at painting but it doesnt mean I have to go to art classes. Your blog is beautiful but if you dont want to blog dont – there arent any blogging police who will come round and tell you off!!

    As you know I have given up on twitter as I found it an awful bullying and unpleasant place which actually was pushing me to a breakdown. The relief at making that decision was enormous and unsurprisingly I am still in touch with all the people/bloggers I care about. So if you decided to not blog we will all still be here on the end of an email or a phone – we wont forget you honest.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      I am thinking of “making a date” to sit down and blog once a week to get back into the habit of blogging again. I think that is what I have done – got out of the habit and allowed the plants to encroach on every spare minute of my time. I certainly feel that I also need to carve out time in the studio this year and if I need to build it in to my diary for the 6 weeks or so that it takes to make (or break) a habit. I do want to blog – I am probably just a bit fed up with the “gubbins” that goes alongside it.

      I think it is desperately sad that you found Twitter a bullying and unpleasant place, and it so sweet of you to reaffirm that you are at the end of the phone … talking of which I was thinking of going to the Malvern Quilt Show in May …… :)

  • Very interesting Karen – and even though I’ve only been blogging for a couple of years (wow – it’s flown by), I’m beginning to feel some of the frustration, the ‘it’s-may-so-it-must-be-the-meadow’ inevitability. BUt while a simple calendar is one blog possibility, it’s only one. There’s room for all sorts of other things, and I’m going to push myself to be more diverse. Or try to…

    One thing – please don’t stop, whatever you do. And there is a value in the calendar aspect, too…

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Ah, diversity, perhaps that is what I am missing since I dont have time to do the Mrs. Grumpy comics anymore, they used to take nearly a day! I shall be interested to see how you diversify Kate! Although of course I enjoy looking at your meadow through the seasons, especially as it is not something I can ever have here.

      As I say deep down I dont think I want to stop, I just dont want to go on the same way as I do now. (But I probably will!)

      • oh sob, pretty please? I’d happily forfeit some ‘dutiful weekly’ posts for a return of Mrs Grumpy! I suggested a blog holiday to someone who wrote a similar post, and she got quite sniffy . She didn’t want to stop, just wanted to whinge … sorry, let off steam. Those earnest serious blogs are running on a different circuit to the ones I choose to read. I daren’t look at my Reader to see how many posts are waiting for me after some days unplugged.

        I’ve kept my blog reading fresh, by treating my Google Reader like a garden bed. Weeding out a few, and adding something different.

        • Karen - An Artist's Garden

          Promise I wont be doing “Dutiful weekly posts” I am just making time in my diary to turn up here :)
          Well, Mrs Grumpy has been on a rather long holiday Diana …. we shall have to see what we can do, but she is very introverted and, well grumpy, so she only pops up when she wants a rant you know!
          I am off now to empty my google reader and start again, lovely to hear from you

        • Karen - An Artist's Garden

          Oh, sorry Diana, I dont seem to have set my “reply levels” to enough so that I can reply to your comment below, Love the idea of having a noisy folder in my google reader (chortle).
          Cranberry and orange hot cross buns sound wonderful yum yum

  • I’ve blogged for nearly 8 years, with 2 blogs being deleted/moved in the process. I used to really enjoy it and blogged often but it seems as I got more content with my lot, the need to do so was less (my early, very wretched handwringing posts have fortunately been lost into cyberspace). Far more recently, I’ve found I’ve had very little to say which surprises me given I’ve moved country and all.
    I agree with Helen – I think putting aside a set time may not be the best approach. Blogging should be done as and when you feel like it, when things come to mind and obviously, when you’re near a computer.
    I too self-host using WP but get very, very little spam – I have no idea why I don’t but you do. I’m sure I also get far, far less traffic than you do.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Thursday, I know you dont blog so much these days, but I have to say that when your blog shows up in my reader I am so happy. I get myself a cup of tea, and sit down to enjoy what you write, it is such a treat.

      I think traffic to my blog is slightly skewed by the fact that on St Davids day I seem to get 5,000 visitors, I suspect they are looking for pictures of daffodils that they can make into cards for their Mums!

      So lovely to hear from you.

  • happy five-yeariness! I have been blogging for just over half that time, and for the most part enjoy it. I do have to turn a blind eye to all the mindless contact/advertising/content requests I delete, or they would drive me mad, and the times that I ponder moving my blog to be self-hosted I then realise that I already have too little free time, so stay in the easy environment of wp. Sometimes I tilt towards becoming caught up in the “scene”, and then I remind myself “this is just my garden diary, for me” and all is well again.

    There are ups and downs, times when I am so full of pictures and words that they threaten to spill over until I put them into a post, and times when I couldn’t care less for several days, or have no time to myself, but I think I manage to ride them out pretty well for the most part. I have pondered the cyclical nature of gardening blogs, and whether it will become dull to revisit the same seasons again and again, but so far there have not been enough cycles to tell. Each year seems quite different to the one that has preceded it, though that will lessen as the garden settles down I suppose. In the meantime, over-enthusiasm still seems to be the order of most posts, oops! :)

    Long may you continue – as long as you enjoy what you post… I suspect that blogging at a fixed time may kill that joy, but you have to find what works for you.

  • Karen - An Artist's Garden

    Wise words about avoiding being caught up in “the scene”.

    I enjoy your blog and your enthusiasm, so no oops there! However you are a walking example of the guilt I carry around blogging, have I sent you the seeds I promised you? No. Do I leave comments on your posts that I read? No Does it matter in the whole scheme of things, well yes to me

    • Ah, no guilt. Sometimes we read a post when we don’t have the time/inclination to comment, and the intention to return and do so later easily gets lost. You’re not alone in that. I just appreciate all the more when you do stop to comment.
      And the offer of seeds is lovely, but is a bonus not a duty, when time and opportunity coincide for you. Maybe it won’t be this year. I won’t berate you – and you shouldn’t berate yourself, or feel guilty! :)

  • VP

    Well done on getting to the 5 year mark and it was a real treat to see a new post waving away at me on my sidebar when I went into my blog just now.

    A most thought provoking post, some of which we’ve discussed before. I wonder of some of the ‘fun’ element is because we’ve gone from delighted newbies into more of a blogging routine. Funnily enough, I was just about to launch a thought to brighten up Jan/Feb time, but I have to admit it’s nowhere near as much fun as ‘Dinner Time’ was.

    A lot of my blog is about documenting what I’ve learned, or me working things out as I go along. I’m constantly surprised (and lucky) that I’ve managed to make a small ‘career’ (hmm, not quite the right term, but you know what I mean) out of it along the way. Last year I felt that much of the community had gone out of my blogging, and that combined with my curiosity re whether I could grow salad for every week of the year meant that the 52 Week Salad Challenge was born. However, I do also realise that that has more of a serious side to it than fun, fun, fun.

    As you say, there is a cycle and rhythm to our gardens, which can get reflected on our blogs. I do wonder sometimes if it’s that which has taken the fun out of it – perhaps trying not to repeat myself makes things more earnest. I look back at some of my early posts and envy the humour I had then and wonder where it’s gone. My posts (like this comment) seem to be getting longer, and longer … 😉

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Thank you VP :)
      I suspect you are right we have moved from delighted newbies into a blogging routine – but for me that is no reason for the “fun” to vanish, so I shall look forward to the “thought” that you launch, I shall also have to think up something too!

      I dont know why you are surprised that you have managed to make a small “career” from your blog – it seemed as if you have a clear vision and purpose. You also put a lot of thought and energy into what you write which is why it is a deservedly well respected and popular blog.

  • Hello, I’ve been following your blog for a while, just lurking out in the fields. I’m both an artist and gardener, so once I found you, it was easy to stay.

    I also spent time getting rid of (worthless) lawn, so now we have room for a veg garden and my enormous perennial wanderings.

    A different view of blogging for me: I, too, am at a crossroads of sorts about blogging, but not about whether to blog, rather what to blog. When I started 1-1/2 years ago, I was in a searching place… but my humor was intact as was my general outrage with certain moments in the World. Then, a year ago, a health catastrophe–short story, I’ve ended up with minimal traumatic brain injury and I’m just coming out of the fog into the horrible reality.

    I have been open until now about this mess, but today I want to post about the private horrors and fears…. Am I seeking permission? I don’t know.

    I did want to tell you that your searching for your own answer about whether and how to blog resonated over here. What I saw here today is that you have a lovely community and maybe that becomes the more pressing reason to blog. ??

    Best to you,

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Laurel, how lovely that you have come out of the fields and taken this opportunity to leave a comment. I have just had a flying visit to your blog, but will have to come back for a proper look – I love what you are doing with the art side of things.

      I am so sorry about your health catastrophe – I imagine that the world can be a frightening and confusing place for you now. You are right when you say that the blogging community is a welcoming and supportive place and I have had nothing but friendship and encouragement since I first dipped my toes into the gardening blogging I would indeed miss that online friendship should I choose to stop.

      • Hello Karen,

        What a lovely welcome!

        I will use your insightful statement about how the world is for me now. You summed things up perfectly. I am speechless at the correctness of your statement. If I hadn’t commented, which I was a little concerned about doing considering the non-garden nature of my comment, I would not have heard that. Thank you.

        PS. I have a whole new appreciation for the Security Question–simple math, indeed! Kinda funny in an awful, dark-humor way.

  • I have been blogging now for just 18 months but I keep setting myself challenges. I decided for example to post every other day, which I haven’t quite managed. Thanks for your post – it did make me think. Don’t give up your blog – I enjoy it too much.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Malc, thank you for the support, also for the comments that you regularly leave on this blog, it is much appreciated.
      I am glad that the post has made you think – hopefully in a good way. Over the past 18 months your blog has gone from strength to strength, time will soon wizz by and then you will be celebrating your 5 year anniversary!

  • Oh congratulations on the five year milestone Karen and I do hope rather selfishly that you stay around for a long time. I think that along with Veg Plotting, your blog and Helen’s were my first glimpse into the world of blogging. I do indeed remember that dinner party, Shirl’s desert island plants and the Emsworth Village Show – all great fun. I suppose that garden blogging like any other form of communication has evolved with time and is certainly a much bigger community than it used to be. Maybe part of the early fun was its sheer newness :) I think that at this moment in time I gain more pleasure from reading other blogs than writing mine but that’s not always so. It certainly should not be an activity that you force yourself to do on a weekly basis but only when you have something that you want to share. Don’t worry about the cyclical side of it – that is a comforting and inherent part of gardening – I can’t wait to see what your tulips are up to this year :)

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Oh Anna, I am afraid that you will be disappointed by the tulips this spring (whispers) I didn’t plant any :(
      I put a big order in to Beth Chatto instead. I know that when tulip season comes I will be cursing this decision but there we go.
      Thank you for your kind words Anna I seem to remember that you first posted in 2005??? !!! (or did you start and then stop for a bit?).
      I promise I wont force myself to blog – those kind of posts would be very stilted and dreary – Just want to train myself back into the blogging habit again.

  • Hi Karen. The first thing I want to say is, in a period where I am finding it harder to keep up with the blogs I have been following, when I saw you had posted again you immediately leapt to the head of the queue because I enjoy reading your posts so much. I have loved getting to know your garden, and really hope you at least keep on blogging as a way of keeping track of what is happening “out there” because I look forward to seeing it carry on developing.

    I can’t comment on the fun thing, as I only started blogging in (Rushes to blog to check out the date of first post. Does a double take.) April 2009. OK, so longer ago than I thought, and I remember feeling rather intimidated by the way it was so obvious lots of the people all knew one another, and then I discovered that mostly people are friendly to newcomers too. The seasonality thing, yes, hard to avoid really! I know I particularly enjoy blogs in which the gardener talks about new challenges or experiments, rather than “look at how lovely this clematis is this year, just like last year”. Not that there is anything wrong with celebrating the plants we love, but it does get a bit samey. I look for quirky writing style that hints at someone I would like to know in person, gardens that challenge or inspire me, people who share knowledge without lecturing. For what its worth, you tick all those boxes for me!

    I think I have been lucky, in that each year I have been bloggin I have faced a new challenge, so have always had things I want to get out and look at. Making the pond border more colourful, getting an allotment, and now starting again somewhere new. Like Helen, I use the blog to “think out loud” as although I don’t live alone, I don’t live with a gardener. Add in my health issues, and blogging helps relieve the social isolation as well as giving me access to other ideas and opinions so that I don’t go stale.

    The one thing I have had to re-learn recently is to remember that my blog is just that, mine, and I don’t have to post if I don’t want to. In fact, more and more I appreciate the people who don’t blog more than once a week, if that, it makes it seem less of a chore to keep up with them!

    Sorry, turned into an essay, but it was a very thought-provoking post…

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Janet, it was lovely that you left a lovely long comment and I am pleased that you found it a thought provoking post.
      See how quickly the years go, you have been blogging longer than you thought :)
      I am touched that this blog ticks the boxes that you are looking for when reading a blog – and I also hope that 2013 is the year we finally meet up face to to face. We must make it so.
      It is a good thing to remind ourselves from time to time that our blogs are out own to do with as we like and like you sometimes I find it hard to keep up with the reading of all the posts that tumble into my inbox. Occasionally I unsubscribe from every blog I read, and then start all over again (Currently I am back up to 95 sigh)

      • 95?! Good grief, that’s a full time job!! I am clearly far more ruthless than you, makes me feel all the more grateful you take time to visit mine! And yes, lets see if we can manage to meet up some time this year. When it has warmed up a little…

        • Karen - An Artist's Garden

          Yes, 95 is too many, but quite a few of them are arty blogs, and some of them dont post very often (Phew)!

          • around a hundred for me. And if they post daily – they get banished to a noisy folder, so I can pick the currants out of the bun. (We bought cranberry and orange hot ‘cross’ buns today)

  • I will have been blogging for five years in April so I have been at it a long time too! As has been said, your blogs are always interesting and fun to read so don’t for heavens sake stop. I do identify with that sense of a certain sameness that accompanies having blogged for a long time, particularly about gardening which is after all just a way of engaging with the same cycles year on year. I cope by determinedly not regarding my blog as a gardening blog, even though it often is. When I get bored with it I write about something else and I enjoy the process of writing so I don’t want to stop as long as I don’t bore myself. Sometimes I feel it is all getting stale and then I find very deliberately going out there and finding new blogs to read livens me up again. I get quite a lot of approaches from PR companies and generally just don’t respond at all. Every now and then something slips by which looks interesting and then I might do it or might even then not bother because I don’t want to be tied to doing something at a particular time. The thing I love most about blogging is getting to know people who I otherwise would not have met, including of course you and Helen and Michelle! At the moment I am not at all interested in my garden so I am blogging about other stuff. Sue Beesley commented about having lost her gardening mojo and so have I. Perhaps we will all it back when the sun shines again, if it ever does!

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      I thought that you started about the same time as us – you were one of the people that I wanted to invite to my “dinner party” who knew that we would meet up and become such close friends. The friends I have made through this blog are an aspect of blogging that I will always cherish. You state quite clearly on the top of your blog all the things that you write about and it is a delight – all things I dont do – well apart from the gardening of course.

      I cannot tell you how very pleased I am to read that you dont respond to PR companies, Phew and double Phew – I shall continue to ignore them too (Unless they get right up my nose). I am still not in gardening mode – but I have had a fabulous time in the studio, and taught a great workshop last week.

  • Your words encouraged me to pause and reflect on my own feelings… I’ve been blogging almost three years now. I began the blog to answer my grown children’s requests for gardening “how to’s”. As they began their own gardens they had so many questions. What I discovered is blogging gives me a creative outlet to express myself and to share what I am learning as well as what I know. Of course, photos are a part of blogging, so I bought a camera and began taking pictures… and as I did, I found a side of gardening that I hadn’t taken much time for before… discovering the beauty that is part of the landscape I am steward over, and included in that beauty, the little creatures that call my gardens home. I discovered in myself a new talent… I can take a pretty good picture… that brings me great joy to share. Most of all I love the connection that blogging brings to people all over this beautiful earth. I must say that I have learned that I must blog for me… if others enjoy what I do… wonderful. My muse hides in a closet if I try to please anyone else with my posts. So in short… post when you have the desire… and go out in your beautiful landscape for inspiration.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Pause and reflection is always good Carolyn and thank you for taking the time to share your feelings about how your blog developed and what it brings to you. You are right when you say that blogging does connect us with others in a lovely way.

      I think sometimes my muse does not just hide in a closet, but goes on extended holidays overseas – however writing this post and having such interesting comments has certainly helped me. Thank you.

  • Dobby

    Umm. I agree with Helen that if you set yourself a specific time to blog and don’t do it, you will beat yourself up about it. You will have written notes on bits of paper (’cause you won’t have an electronic device to hand) and then not be able to find them, so sit in front of your computer and get frustrated.

    I like a bit of humour or self deprecation in the blogs I read. Buy hey, I am a simple soul! Congrats on getting to 5 years. I’m sure you will get your mojo back if you don’t worry about it too much.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Me beat myself up about something ….. never! (Chortle) You know me so well. You more than anyone know how my life goes, so I think for a little while I will put blogging in the diary otherwise the studio and the plants will take over, and I have missed connecting with all my blogging chums. We shall see what happens.

  • Hello again Karen, Congratulations on five years of blogging. Oh my… between you, Helen and VP I’m feeling my blog age… you’re all catching me up! As said already, the minute I saw your new blog up I too was over and the nicest thing of all is that I see so many ‘old’ blogging friends have left comments. I do remember the good old early days when you and I would exchange emails after midnight when we were both writing and publishing posts then 😉

    Again, as already mentioned, there were fewer garden bloggers then and that definitely made it easier keeping up with everyone. I see my comment to you today as much like meeting up with a friend I don’t see often (my posts have been lean due to difficult personal stuff over the last 1½ years) but that doesn’t matter as we can always pick up from where we left off like we were only exchanging comments yesterday. I’ve enjoyed many visits to your blog and yes the dessert island challenge was fun. Perhaps I should be putting my thinking hat on too to tempt you back – although I don’t think we are going to lose you really 😉

    When there are so many gardening blogs out there it’s easy to get lost and my lengthy posts probably have people running away rather than running over to see what I’m yabbering on about especially when I chat about birds! Lol… and they take me an age to do with photo and video editing (like you with your cartoon posts which I always loved) and then I start the writing! Perhaps a very small number of people read my storytelling posts but all I hope is that they see my enthusiasm is genuine. I love the sharing bit pure and simple.

    At the moment I’m having a ball blogging, I don’t plan too far ahead with posts and don’t put pressure on myself on when to post. Yep… I’m covering current things but I try to put a fresh spin on them for myself and any regular visitors I might have. Am I succeeding? Och… maybe not but the fun is in the trying… right? Then again, if I am enjoying writing ridiculously long posts, cropping heaps of photos and sitting trying to count in the beat of a piece of music to a bird moving around my garden for a video then I have succeeded 😉

    My tip to you Karen, blog when and in the way you want to and enjoy… then you will keep your blogs fresh. I’m certain that once you start connecting with everyone again you’ll be itching to go. Okay… I’m off now as I’ve a late date with a pheasant… say no more… I’ll think of you when I’m having fun video editing and wish you the fun back in your blog xx

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Shirley, so lovely to hear from you – how well I remember our little late night chats via e-mail, I take it then you are still burning the midnight oil? It does feel rather like old times to see “old” friends commenting doesn’t it! I also remember when I was very new to blogging I emailed you as I heard a strange knocking noise from one of nesting boxes and thought if anyone knew what it was you would, and you did :)
      I was sad to read you have had a tough time recently, but it is great that after all this time you still have such enthusiasm and delight for your blog. I cannot imagine how long it takes to do all that video editing, it is quite marvellous.
      Lovely to catch up Shirley, and thank you

  • What an interesting conversation these comments are proving to be. I like Elizabeth dont respond to PR companies unless they really really really interest me. I just delete or spam them, even having a specific page on my web saying more or less dont bother me doesnt seem to make a difference.
    I agree with Hillwards that the best approach is a gardening journal and not getting caught up in the scene something I have been guilty of and it hasnt done me any good. But I have also, like Elizabeth, started to blog more about other things that interest me so I suppose the blog is becoming more of a general journal. I am also engaging in a couple of new memes this year and stopping things like GBBD. I am particularly enjoying the WordPress Weekly Photo challenge as it makes me think a little and also ends up with me looking through old photos which is always nice.
    Use your blog for you – why not bring more of your textiles in to it, after all it is The Artists Garden blog – so lets see more of the artist?!

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      I am going to take a leaf out of your book Helen, I have seen your contact page and think what you have written is such a good idea. I shall take on bord your comment about bringing more textile into this blog and letting my textile blog simply sit in cyberspace – which it has done for the past 18 months.
      Thanks for checking back

  • Jenny

    I only discovered your blog relatively recently and have so enjoyed reading it and especially seeing the beautiful photos of your garden.

    I found your blog through a search for art and gardens – I love artistic photography, plants, and gardens and your blog fulfills all those needs. I don’t blog myself, until recently I have been in full-time employment with little time to even maintain my garden let alone write about it – but reading your blog has given me so much pleasure. I do hope you continue, I’m sure there must be lots of people out there who look forward to your blog posts as much as I do.

    Thanks Karen for all your hard work so far.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Jenny, thank you for your kind words, and I am delighted that you have enjoyed following this blog, much appreciated.
      Writing this post and the responses has been very useful for me – lots to think about, and if I did stop blogging it wont be right now this minute and I will say good bye not vanish off! :)

  • According to the blogging experts, the key to success, is to post frequently with great content. Having now been reading and writing blogs for a few years, I think that advice is dubious. If all you want is numbers of followers and to make money from your blog, they may be right – indeed that is probably the ‘expert’ definition of success, but I’ve taken the time to analyse the blogs I read and I’ve noticed that the people who blog most frequently often become jaded – first their posts get a bit boring, then they go ‘off message’ – probably because they realise they’re running out of enthusiasm, and then a proportion will stop blogging. I’m rarely surprised when I read the ‘I’m not sure if I want to carry on’ posts – you can spot them coming.

    But – my favourite blogs are those that combine content with personality. It doesn’t matter if you post every day, weekly, monthly or once in a blue moon, if when you post, your character comes through. It’s the personal aspect of blogging that differentiates it for me. And the best bit (for me at least) is meeting people who I’d not otherwise know. I suppose I’d say it’s more about quality than quantity. When these bloggers post, it’s a treat. I wish people would’t feel pressured to write when they don’t want to, just for the sake of their ‘stats’ – just do it when you really want to. x

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Anny, lovely to hear from you. I have to confess that I rarely look at the stats page on my blog, I assume that the visitors are google bots or spammers! :)

      Everyones comments have been really helpful for sorting out what is really going on for me in my head – and I think (but I am not 100% sure) that Shirley might of hit it on the head with the words “once you start connecting with everyone again”. Possibly that is one of the aspects of my blog that was missing for me – I felt that I had lost connection with my readers and more particularly responding to other bloggers, the connectedness was the aspect that I most enjoyed in my early blogging days. I know what you mean when you say that when some bloggers post it is a treat, I feel like that with q few blogs who dont post often, but when they do it is a joy Thursday, who commented above is one such blogger.
      Thank you so much for sharing what you look for when reading a blog.

      • Karen - An Artist's Garden

        opps, sorry I hit something and it all went italic without my noticing, sorry about that! :)

  • I know that you are not the only one feeling this way. I attended the Garden Bloggers Fling last year in North Carolina and it was a major discussion topic. Those of us who had been blogging for quite a while were feeling kind of burnt out while those new to the arena were very enthusiastic about the process. I’m guessing that it may be a cyclical thing.

    As for myself, I know that after a 2 year slump, I’ve begun posting more regularly again. The blog has evolved considerably over the 7. My current interests lead what the blog is about;more nature, less gardening – more photography, less writing. Perhaps change is the answer – post about something other than your garden. You have a whole other life with your art. I know I would enjoy seeing more of that-or your beautiful photography.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      So lovely to hear from you Jill and it is good to know that you are now posting more regularly. I think our blogs do evolve over time, and I am seriously considering putting more art on here in the future (Studio Sunday, Textile Tuesday :) )
      It has been such a treat hearing from some “old” blogging companions with this post.

    • It would be even better if I could form a complete sentence correctly. Hope you could read around the errors.

  • I first posted in January 2008 and I must say that at the moment it is a bit of a slog to come up with regular posts. I agree with VP that the enthusiasm of being a newbie, discovering Blotanical and other garden bloggers etc generated a lot of energy at the time. I am hoping mine is a temporary slump – not helped by this being the gloomy season that I hate with a vengeance.
    Another thing I should be doing is seeking out new blogs to read but I rarely get around to it. Hopefully my enjoyment in blogging will return before too long.
    I also suspect that getting an iPad didn’t help as I spend much less time at my desktop computer which is where I prefer to do my blogging – an ingrained habit which stays with me. Wicked Apple for leading me astray!

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      I so know what you mean about the ipad, I also prefer to do my blogging and photographs at my desktop computer, but I do so love my ipad :) Hey we can do face time and just show each other our gardens so we dont need to blog at all!!!!!

      I know that you are never at your best at this time of year :( but, I am sure that Spring is somewhere around the corner. It is SO lovely to hear from you and thank you for sharing how your blogging is going at the moment.

  • I’m always pleased when an e.mail tells me that you have written a post, please carry on when you feel you have something to say as I think you now know that we all love reading your posts. I think I first came to your blog because of its title, I used to be a wildlife artist before woodcarving took over. Since my health problems with my muscles, long story, I hope I will be going back to the painting as I don’t know if I have the strength to carve any more, well, not huge lumps of wood for sculptures for the garden anyway! There are times when I wonder what to write about so maybe I could include the art and not just write about gardening, maybe I could paint flowers instead!! I’m sure weverything will sort itself out for you and will look forward to your next post, whenever it is!

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Thank you Pauline, such a sweet compliment. Sorry about your health problems and hauling large lumps of wood around is not much fun, even though the end results of your wood carvings are quite beautiful. So will be be seeing some paintings on your blog this year? That would be a treat. :)
      I am sure everything will sort itself out, and writing this post and the marvellous response has been thought provoking and helpful.

  • Being a new comer to garden blogging I haveread this post and sall the comments with interest and it has made me think about blogging. I feel that there is a lot out there to see and comment on and then I begin to wonder if there is enough time in the day to get to ‘know’ the people who take the time to write about things that interest me.
    The fact that I’m quiet an inexperienced gardener and an even less experienced Blogger scares me somewhat as I compare what I write to what others write. In time I hope my garden, gardening knowledge, photography and written english improve.
    Thanks to you and your supporters above for giving me food for thought :)
    PS I’ve only had one unwanted comment and it was regarding something to do with a topic I would not expect to see on a gardening blog :)

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Hi Angie and welcome, thank you for taking time to comment, much appreciated. I agree with you there is a lot out there, and blogging does take time, both writing, reading and commenting! Please dont compare yourself to others, we are all different, and having popped over to yours I dont think you need worry – it is delightful, and I will be back for another look soon.

  • Congratulations on 5 years of blogging. I’ve only been at it for just over a year now so for me it’s still an enjoyable experience. There are elements that are frustrating – the PR stuff and the whole stuff around photos being stolen now. Writing a post and replying to comments and reading other blogs is time consuming I just can’t be bothered having to protect every photo I use before I upload them.

    Blogging means different things to different people. If some want to use it as a way of earning some money, or getting into writing I don’t see anything wrong with that. After years of feeling quite lost it has completely changed my life by giving me the chance to write a book and write for magazines. I would never have been able to do that without writing my blog and I will be ever grateful to it for the new world it has opened up and the new people it has introduced me to. As long as the content of blogs is interesting and worth reading, for me they are as legitimate reasons as wanting to use it as a personal diary.

    I agree about a sort of monotony or rut that can set in generated by the seasonal nature of gardening. When I started I decided my blog would cover wider subjects with plants as the connection, simply because with such a small garden I didn’t think I would ever find enough to write about. I think my quest this year will be to not do anything snowdrop related. 😉

    I always enjoy reading your posts so I would miss them if you stopped but blogging is about you and what you want to get from it. Maybe after 5 years you need to find another muse for new inspiration. I agree more fun in blogging. I’ll try and remember that this year. :)

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      I so know what you mean about the photos – that is the bit that seems to take the LONGEST time. I also agree with you that we all blog for different reasons, and the fact that yours has opened doors for you is fantastic :) Well done

      Thank you for your supportive comments … so we will make FUN the watchword for 2013! 😉

  • Congratulations on reaching 5 years. We have just passed the two year mark with our blog, and did go as far as starting to write a post about the anniversary although it never got finished.

    Even in just a couple of years the blogging world seems to have changed a lot, Blotanical was a fun resource to be part of a community although that seems to have almost died off now, here do seem to be other groups but they seem either very new or dont quite seem to have captured what mate blotanical work well.

    The turnover of new bloggers also seems quite high, in just 2 years of blogging we have seen a lot of people come and go, you can quickly find the circle you are in growing smaller and it can sometimes feel a chore to find new interesting blogs to read.

    However like many others have said the social aspect is fantastic we have met up with other bloggers, and even been invited to events that I doubt we would have met/been invited to if it wasn’t for blogging. I still feel we are starting out, and it can be interesting when occasionally we get asked for advice from new bloggers.

    We are not very good at joining in the various blogging memes, and have set our selves a target of joining in more as they can be such a great way to discover new blogs.

    Whatever you do, have a great 2013!

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Hi Mark and Gaz, and well done for 2 years of blogging. I agree with what you say about Blotanical, and I wish it was still working the way it used to, I confess that I have nearly stopped visiting it, although I do pop in from time to time to see if there is any news about a re-vamp.
      I find it difficult to set aside time to find new blogs, and even if I do – it also takes more time to set up a “relationship” by way of leaving comments etc.
      Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment and share your experience

  • VP

    I’m still chuckling over having a ‘clear vision’ :) Most of the time it’s me working stuff out or just writing it so that I can unclog my head – until I do that it sits there demanding to be written!

  • Well you certainly opened a can of worms with this post, Karen. I know I blog to stay in touch with the gardening world, living in a country where gardening isn’t the number one hobby of the majority. I think your feelings and thoughts actually need a post to respond to them, so I will write one, but it will be when I have time, so no promises as to when. Christina. PS I hope you don’t decide to stop, you write so well and I do so enjoy reading them

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Christina – I look forward to your post, whenever it may be!
      I often think it must be strange living in Italy and getting such as response to your blog from a worldwide gardening community – but yes, blogging is a good way to stay in touch with other “like minded” people – even here in Wales.
      Thank you for your kind words of support, much appreciated

  • I used to check my Google reader daily – now a month could pass without me reading another’s blog, but I always check out your posts when I spot them. It’s probably because you are so honest about the good and the bad, and I also relate to the pull between gardening and working in your studio. Your blog always made me feel better! I’ve just had to check to see how long I have been blogging and was amazed it was back in 2007 I started. It took me a long time to find my feet and my ‘voice’. I had a few years when I constructed ways of making myself blog regularly, then went through times when I had nothing to say and my empty blog made me feel guilty. It seems many of us have reached the point where we began to question the value of the inordinate amount of time it takes to compose a post and sort the accompanying photos. I can see why so many bloggers are determined to make their blog pay. But when you are a maker time is often better spent making!

    I’ve concluded it is perfectly fine to blog when and if the mood takes us. It creates a more real and honest blog, rather than one where the voice is forced and the content contrived.

    Do keep posting when the mood takes you – I like the truth in that! And I love your photography. Sarah

  • Arabella Sock

    Oh no.. I missed this.. Which in itself is a marker of how blogging has changed. As another 5 yearer I could have written your post myself – in fact I started to write much the same several times but couldn’t seem to get my thoughts down as well as you have.

    Things have changed and some for better some for worse. I miss the community and excitement of the early blogging days too. I also have been worried that I have notjust lost my blogging mojo but that my imagination has gone too so I was relieved to find that when I finally got down to making my latest ‘sockmovie’ it all came back. For me I need to feel enough pressure to ensure that I blog with some regularity but not so much as it becomes a millstone around my neck. So I set myself the idea of 2 blogs a month as a rough goal. I remember that my original purpose in writing my blog was to have somewhere to post my photos and humour without having to answer to anyone else’s rules and regulations. This is still the case. My jokes need an audience but if that audience is only a few friends then that still works.

    Twitter I find a fun place and a great equaliser.. I have made a few friends on there and it is much more immediate than waiting for blog comments. It has changed things though as I rely onbeing prompted on there when someone has published a new post and also use it to publicise my own blog which I am never totally comfortable with but it has to be done. The kind of short jokey posts I made daily on my blog when I first started now take the form of tweets.

    I don’t comment as much on blogs any more partly cos I use the ipad so much and it is more of a pain typing than on the main computer .

  • Apologies first – there are 61 comments and I’m not reading them! Most of them are, I’m sure, profoundly interesting and I’m missing out by not reading them. But 61!

    I find this significant. We bloggers always like a bit of navel gazing.

    I plough my own furrow. Blog when I feel like it. Don’t have any photos. Witter on. I feel a strong connection with some of the bloggers I met in the early days. (Like you – I remember our first contact through much lamented Blotanical.) I feel connected with some newer bloggers too – often the less ‘professional’ ones. Sometimes, if I look at too many blogs, I find myself thinking ‘oh, no! not another plant!’. On the other hand, when I try to expand my horizons and read non-gardening blogs . . . it’s not often that I feel I’m making proper human links. Odd that.

    I’ve joined Twitter. I like Twitter. I dislike Facebook. I’m very cross about Google+ which I think may divert and distort things.