Blog Search Phrases: Slightly Odd to Downright Bizarre

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

You can blame today’s post on Arlo Guthrie. See, I’d planned to write about my foundation planting for this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, and I’d intended to think about that while I was out working in the garden this morning. But somehow, the song “Alice’s Restaurant” popped into my head and wouldn’t leave. Usually, the song runs about 18 minutes, so if I’d been listening to the entire thing, it wouldn’t have been so terrible. But after hearing nothing but an endless repetition of “You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant…” for four hours, I’ve just about lost my ability to create coherent sentences. I guess I should consider myself lucky it wasn’t his Motorcycle Song (“I don’t want a pickle/Just want to ride on my motorsickle…).

So, for something not at all serious: As I was searching blog archives while filling out the nominations form for the Mouse & Trowel awards, I was reminded of some terrific posts about eccentric blog search phrases: ‘In Dream Book What Is Smelling Onion’ and Other Searches to Get Here at May Dreams Gardens and People Google the Strangest Things and More Googling Fun at Bumblebee. Since reading them, I’ve made a point of regularly checking our GGW SmarterStats report to see what sort of searches bring people here, and I’ve been keeping a running list of some of the oddest phrases.

Plum granny fruits Sept 17 07As you can imagine, having the words “gone wild” in our blog’s name draws in quite a few strange, and sometimes extremely creepy, searches. One of the oddest of the bunch was “grannys gone wild”, which apparently led the searcher to A Pocketful of Melon, a post I’d written about Queen Anne’s pocket melon (also known as plum granny). “Mom gone weld” was another weird one. I say, good for Mom!

MilkmaidsApparently milkmaids are of extreme interest as well. Phrases such as “what do milkmaids do?”, “what do milk maids mean in politics”, and “blogs for milkmaids” all lead to Saxon’s post on The Meaning of Milkmaids.

Steve's red chairSometimes, the phrases are intriguing enough to make me want to run them through Google myself. “What does sitting in a red chair mean?” leads to Steve’s post Sitting Pretty, showing his photo of a stunning red-painted chair in his garden. I still don’t know what it means, though, or even if it must have a meaning other than being beautiful.

And along that line, what I think has to be one of the most curious phrases in our all-time list: “what do paperwhites contribute to society?” As far as I know, paperwhites, just like the lilies of the field, “toil not, neither do they spin.” I wonder what the searcher really wanted to know, and if they ever found the answer.

Fran's hydrangea leavesOr how about this one: “how to rake leaves under the snow”? That’s one topic that Fran didn’t cover in her post Leaves (which includes her photo at right), but I wish she had, because that sounds like a really neat trick!

And to finish, a sampling of some other curious search phrases:

plants are our good friends

I don’t like gardening

the most unpopular flower in the world

does the Easter bunny live on Mr. McGregor’s farm?

don’t want to look after neighbor’s rabbit

cat gone wild

expanding animal

gardens exist

…and my favorite: subversive gardening.

Have any of you noticed some strange search phrases showing up for your blog? We’d love to hear yours!

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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Nancy Bond April 14, 2008, 4:01 pm

I haven’t checked my stats for a while, but I will and I’ll get back to you. :)

I’ll look forward to seeing what you find, Nancy!
-Nan

our friend Ben April 14, 2008, 4:20 pm

Ha!!! Great post, Nan! I always check my search phrases, and since Poor Richard’s Almanac covers such a range of topics, there’s a really rich trove on there. (Though I’ll admit that “grannys gone wild” and the one about the paperwhites rank right up there.) Recent searches that I remember offhand include “poor paul’s almanac,” “hate kitty litter,” and “who invented Amish friendship bread” (a good question). I often think that the searches I get are made by students trying to find some answers for their homework, and boy, do I pity them when they’re directed to the wit and wisdom of our friend Ben and friends instead!

Oh, you do have some great ones! Mine at Hayefield are all pretty straightforward: mostly just plant names.
-Nan

Mr. McGregor's Daughter April 14, 2008, 6:33 pm

I don’t know how to search check my search phrases. There’s a radio station in Chicago (WXRT) that has a Thanksgiving morning tradition of playing Alice’s Restaurant. Here’s a sure fire cure for an earworm: sing all the verses to the “Theme from Gilligan’s Island.” Works for me every time & doesn’t give me a “Gilligan’s Island” earworm instead.

Thanks for the suggestion. I tried it, but it doesn’t seem to be working, because I don’t know that song too well. All I have to do is think about “shovels and rakes and implements of destruction,” and I’m right back at Alice’s Restaurant. Sigh.
-Nan

Kim April 14, 2008, 9:14 pm

Another earworm cure that I heard on NPR several years ago (and have found to work) is to hum “Girl from Ipanema” to yourself. Don’t sing the words because they might get stuck in your head, but the melody should “cure” you!

By the way, I have no idea how to check my blog stats, either. I don’t even know how many people come and visit me or read each post, unless they happen to leave a comment. I’m such a bad blogger! :(

Ok, I can do that without much thinking. But then it reminds me of Monty Python, and I end up with a discussion on the proper way to dispose of unwanted budgies stuck in my head. At least it’s a change, though.

I’m surprised to hear that Blogger doesn’t give you that info. The site statistics we get at WordPress are quite nice. Carol must use an outside program for her stats; I’ll have to look back to her post to see if she explains it.
-Nan

jodi April 15, 2008, 10:41 am

Budgies!? Oh yes, you just hit them with the book, or shoot them there, right above the beak. ;-)
We all need a good giggle, and this is priceless, Nan. Unfortunately, Alice’s Restaurant has now planted itself in my head–which means I’d better put something else on iTunes to flush it away.
Haven’t looked at my stats lately either, so I should do that. It’s weird and wonderful, for sure.

Yep, you can use either of those methods, apparently. Just don’t flush them down the loo – you *know* what happens if you do that!
-Nan

Pam/Digging April 15, 2008, 11:41 am

I’m still chuckling about “raking leaves under the snow.” Now that’s someone determined to get those leaves up before spring.

Well, at least I know it wasn’t one of the Austin crew looking for that info. Maybe it was some of our far-North friends looking to get a jump on their spring chores.
-Nan

Benjamin April 15, 2008, 8:13 pm

I tried to google some odd phrases to freak you out. Did it work?

Oh, there are lots of odd ones today! Any of these yours?

dog house design
burnt coffee smell
name for dead plant material
trees to hide neighbors (yep, I bet that was you)
purple & orange brain
Fanny Granny yard ornaments
oriental happiness bed frames
how to cheer up a front garden on a budget
dealing with nosy neighbors that think our yard is theirs
retired blog garden
how much is a yard when talking dirt by the yard?
orange is a much maligned color
trucks gone wild.com
wooden garden craigs
stun gone wild

Please tell me you weren’t the one searching for wifegonewild.com.
-Nan

BV April 15, 2008, 11:14 pm

Nope, none are mine. But I sure do like “wifegonewild,” may have to check that out. Don’t get “trucks gone wild” at all. Gross. And I will never have enough trees or shrubs to hide my neighbors!

jodi April 16, 2008, 12:21 am

Me back again, to send bouquets of congrats and good luck wishes to Fran, Nan, Saxon and Steve on all your Mousie nominations. You’re a breath of fresh air, and garden cheerleaders for the rest of us. So rah rah to you all! :-)

On behalf of all of us, I thank you, Jodi, and send our congratulations back to you on your own nominations. And speaking personally, I’d love having you (or indeed any of the nominees) as a neighbor, though I suspect we’d spend more time being silly than actually gardening.
-Nan

our friend Ben April 16, 2008, 9:31 am

Oops, I forgot my very favorite–little richard’s almanac! (There have been several of those.) then, just this morning, I got the outrageous “poor richard will do anything for money”!!! Harrumph! And after I turned away all those ads on my blog, too! (Just kidding.)

Good ones! Poor Richard will do anything for money, huh? Poor Richard, indeed; he sounds desperate.
-Nan

James | Double Danger April 16, 2008, 11:24 am

haha – I love search phrase posts, they always give you a window into your viewers. Sometimes that window is dirty and smudged, sometimes it is clean and clear.

Great stuff!

Scary stuff, I’d say!
-Nan

Kim April 16, 2008, 10:04 pm

I wanted to add my congratulations to Jodi’s! Great job, all.

In regards to the neighbor comment, I must say that balancing out the “losing garden time to neighbor silliness” would be “having great next-door views to borrow for your own garden.” :)

Good point, Kim. I could definitely live with having Jodi’s garden and critters next door!
-Nan

Pam/Digging April 17, 2008, 1:59 am

Yes, congrats on the Mousie nominations! You have a great site and have been a wonderful addition to the garden-blogging community. Well done!

Thanks so much, Pam! It’s been an amazing time, and we haven’t even been here a year yet. You at Digging, Carol at May Dreams, Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening, and several of the other “old-timers” (blogging-wise) have set some high standards for the rest of us to aim for.
-Nan

Betsey Hansell April 17, 2008, 9:28 pm

Oh dear, Nan,
I have been singing Alice’s Restaurant and viewing the movie for hours now, in the garden and out. Give me a new song for weed pulling, please.
Betsey

So sorry, Betsey. I’m now working to an endless repetition of a Sesame Street song, which I’ll not name so no one else gets infected. But, trust me, you should consider yourself very, very lucky.
-Nan

Heather's Garden April 18, 2008, 11:07 pm

This is one of my favorite go to topics when inspiration is lacking. I’ve posted here about it:

http://heathersgarden.typepad.com/heathers_garden/2007/09/who-are-you-peo.html

Thanks for sharing the link, Heather. I can’t wait to see the weird ones you’ve ended up with.
-Nan