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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.