If I’m not mistaken, WordPress usually sends its bloggers a message on the anniversary date of their first blog post. Either that didn’t happen this year, or I missed it somehow. This is a bit like having your mother forget your birthday.

8 in flowers

Whether or not WordPress remembers, January marks the eighth year of this  blog. It’s been a rewarding hobby, enabling me to obsess about the garden year-round and letting me indulge my penchant for writing my own prose. Also, serving as an introduction to a small but passionate community of gardeners.

And I should add that this blog has provided Judy and me with a hobby we can enjoy together. As readers know, Judy is in charge of blog photography, and without her pictures it wouldn’t look anywhere near as good.

view from front door may 2014

I should keep a garden journal, but I don’t. This blog is a pretty good substitute. Plus, reviewing all those photos of favorite plants is deeply satisfying. It’s kind of like looking at old pictures of your kids. Most plants, though, look roughly the same every year, unlike children who keep thoughtlessly growing into something new and different, which while delightful, leaves you nostalgic for their earlier incarnations.

One challenge of this blog is to keep it from getting too repetitive: the same flowers blooming in the same sequence every year. This is just one of the compelling reasons, I tell Judy, why I have to try multiple new plants each season.

DSC_0577 front garden summer

Ironically, I also find it challenging to come up with a sufficient array of descriptive adjectives, especially when talking about design. I just have an inadequate vocabulary when it comes to aesthetics. (All too often I feel like throwing up my hands and just writing: “That garden sure was pretty.”) In the coming year I’m planning to reread some of my classic gardening books. Maybe the second time around some of the language will stick.

I keep hearing that blogs, with all their verbiage, have become passé. For me, though, the writing is the point as much as anything. There is value in brevity, but there is also joy in language. I’m making a stab at using Instagram, but I don’t find it very satisfying. Also, I really don’t like typing on those tiny keys on my phone.

DSC_0823 bluestem goldenrod shorts aster

Nevertheless, it does seem that the ranks of garden bloggers have thinned in recent years. People tend to have busy lives, what with children, new jobs, illnesses, etc. Writing a blog can be time-consuming. Nevertheless, there is still a vibrant community of garden bloggers, as the recent Garden Blogger Flings have shown.

The readership of Garden in a City continues to grow, although slowly. In 2019 it had just over 120,000 views, which is a mere drop in the internet ocean. However, it’s enough to keep me motivated.

2014-02-08 13.43.42 front garden in winter.

Plus, this past year I’ve had a few gratifying moments. For example, for the first time someone stopped me (while I was walking in the Lurie Garden) and asked if I was the guy who wrote that garden blog. And a new neighbor told me that a visiting friend recognized our garden because she too was a reader.

See, I could never get something this long onto Instagram. And even if I could, my fingers would be completely worn out trying to punch the tiny keys. So I intend to keep writing this blog. And I want to thank all of you who are regular or even just occasional readers.

59 Comments on “8 Years of Garden in a City”

  1. I’m glad you are going to continue. I agree with you about the difficulty of getting such long messages onto an Instagram post. My blog has been a satisfying outlet for my writing too. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer, although lately I have felt rather discouraged from blogging. The fact that I actually enjoy the writing part of it is probably going to keep me going, if I can just come up with ideas for posts that aren’t repetitive and boring.

  2. I held my breath until the end when you said you would continue. I also have noticed that there are fewer garden blogs. I was going to be so disappointed if you were going g to stop writing . I would truly miss your prose and Judy’s photos. You two support one another in a grand style. Congratulations on 8 years. May you have many more.

  3. Congratulations and…the garden sure is pretty! I’ve loved your blog and though we garden in such different situations, we’re both wildlife and native plant enthusiasts and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning from your blog. I still want to see the Lurie Garden and you’re the primary reason behind that so thanks for those tours.

    Here’s to another (at least) eight years of lovely photos and fun and informative posts. Huzzah!!

  4. Happy eight year blogiversary. Amazing how our little community has grown too. I so look forward to the Fling gatherings.
    I did a bunch of pruning today and thought about the need to start keeping a garden journal. We don’t usually blog about pruning Illicium or Clethra or untangling Muscadine vines off your dogwood. It would be a good thing to write down what was done when, but blog about it? Maybe once but not every year. Your garden is really gorgeous- whatever adjective you want to use. See you all in Madison?

  5. Congratulations! I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and certainly can tell it’s a labor of love, both the writing and the garden. I do like Instagram, but it’s very different than blogging, so works better as a complement to the blog. Definitely not as a substitute unless you really dislike writing. Here’s to many more years and looking forward to seeing what each new season will bring!

  6. I had no idea blogs are supposed to be passé. I love writing mine and reading yours, and would be verklempt had you decided to cease and desist! I’ve learned so much here, and every now and again I roam the archives, just to see what I’ve missed. And to be honest, I’ve never found your writing to be repetitive or inadequate. It’s your descriptions and reflections that pulled me in initially, and have kept me here. Besides, sometimes “That garden sure was pretty” is just what’s needed!

    Here’s to more years of design, planting, failing, and enjoying — we’ll be right there with you.

  7. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I started my first blog in 2009 when I was in Mississippi and the first Belmont Rooster in 2013. A lot has changed over the years for sure and so many bloggers I first followed (and followed mine) are no longer blogging. I have been working on my third Belmont Rooster since January 2017. I don’t have near as many followers this time as with the first, but that’s OK and I have no complaints. Most of my views come from people doing plant research. Your writing and photos have always been inspiring to me to do better and your garden tours are amazing! Keep up the good work!

  8. Happy blogiversary, you two! I got an email from WordPress this past week, telling me that I too have an anniversary to celebrate. I guess I must have started in January too. When I began writing, it was mainly to answer my own questions, but over the years, it has become a fun social thing that feels a little more meaningful than FB, IG, and other social media platforms. I agree it can be hard and a bit mind-numbing to write about the same plants over and over again. So yes, I too keep planting new ones – LOL!

  9. Happy anniversary Jason and Judy, and I’m pleased you are both happy to keep on going.. I’ve learnt so much from your blog, and always in a humorous and pleasant way. I love the camaraderie and shared interests of fellow garden bloggers, and it is a window into many worlds too.
    Like you, writing has always been my real interest, and Instagram has never really had the same appeal for me.
    We visited a wonderful garden in New Zealand, and the owner of garden asked if I had ever been to the Lurie gardens …well! At least I could say, I haven’t been, but I know all about it…thanks to Garden in the City!

  10. Congratulations to you both, you make a great bloggimg team. Eight years, that’s amazing.
    I always enjoy your posts. I don’t see the point of Instagram. I did start posting on it but I can never be bothered to keep up with it. I don’t see the point of just pictures, I like writing and I like reading. I like to be entertained and amused and to learn a bit about bloggers and their gardens. I like the feeling of making friends round the world with a shared interest/ obsession.

  11. Happy Blogiversary, Jason! I’m very glad you’re continuing! You say that you’re worried about being repetitive, but I enjoy about your posts on winter clean up, choosing and planting tulips and the pruning at the back you do every year that’s almost like a marker post in the progression of the gardening season. It’s awesome that people have recognised you and I recall my very own tiny contribution to your success a while ago in naming of the sidewalk bed (though I can’t remember the name of it now, parkway?).

  12. I am new enough to your blog not to have realized that Judy is the photographer. That it is a corporate effort makes it all the better! I wish you both a happy anniversary and I agree with you and everyone above that the writing is part of the fun of it all. Congratulations!

  13. Congrats on your blogiversary! I decided to pop online today to check in on a few of my favourite blogs, of which you are one, of course 🙂 I do see the appeal of Instagram, but I don’t think that it will completely take over blogs – and I’ve also noticed up uptick of really looooong instagram posts, that rival the length of a blog post. I think that they compliment each other but can’t see either one replacing the other completely.

  14. Congratulations to Judy and you for creating a great blog and cultivating such a large following. I enjoy your writing and sense of humor. (Check notifications again. I joined in January 9 years ago and did receive a notification from WordPress.)

  15. Many congrats on another year.

    I very much enjoy your blog, your writing and Judy’s photos. I’ve tried new plants and found a great heated birdbath thanks to you and Judy.

    I hope for many years more.
    All my best.

  16. Congratulations on 8 years of blogging Jason — and Judy! I always enjoy the views of your front garden especially. But the charm of your writing with your humour and often imaginative expressions also makes it a joy to read. 🙂

  17. Congrats! Blog and garden have grown beautifully, and I’m glad you and Judy have grown along with it. I find nothing wrong with your blog style or vocabulary. Twigs in My Hair, for example, is written in literary style, but I don’t write my blog the same way. So I hope you enjoy your blog as much as we, your readers, do! Don’t change a thing, and carry on through the garden beds! (When Spring arrives, that is.)

  18. Reference: https://leafdbox.com/

    1. Plant in raised beds with rich soil
    2. Round out the soil in your beds.
    3. Plant crops in triangles instead of rows.
    4. Grow climbing plants to capitalize on space.
    5. Pick compatible pairings.
    6. Time your crops carefully.
    7. Stretch your season by covering the beds.

    Any additional helpful tips you can think of?

    I’m hoping to start my garden in the next few days.

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