The Garden Bloggers’ Idea Gallery

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

WTH

Those of you who pay close attention to your blog stats may have noticed some unusual activity in your archives recently. That was probably me. For the past few weeks, I’ve been power-lurking through the garden blogosphere, rummaging through past posts, sorting through tags*, looking at your photos, and reading stuff that you’ve probably forgotten that you ever wrote. I’m pretty sure I put everything back  in its proper place, so maybe you didn’t even notice I was there, but now you know. And now you’ll know why: I was gathering links for our newest feature at Gardening Gone Wild: The Garden Bloggers’ Idea Gallery.

If you watch the lists of popular posts at Blotanical, you know that entries about blogging are pretty much guaranteed to get a whole lot of picks. It’s not surprising, really. We gardeners have plenty of places to go to find inspiring ideas and helpful how-to information for our gardens, but where can we go when we want the same for our blogs? To our fellow garden bloggers, for the most part. So when they choose to tell us about their favorite photo-editing software or share what they think makes for a great garden blog, we’re eager to read what they have to say.

The trouble is, how do we ever find these posts again once they drop off of the “most popular” lineup? Who wrote about that fantastic new photo technique or reviewed that cool camera that you’re now considering buying? It’s a pity that these gems get lost in archives scattered all over the place. Figuring that at least a few of you find this problem as  frustrating as I do, I decided to create a place to collect great blogging-related links so we can find them when we need them. I’m hoping that it will be useful to our newer garden-blogging buddies too.

The Garden Bloggers’ Idea Gallery will be a set of pages here at GGW. Here are the topics I’ve come up with so far:

I’ve fleshed out a few of those pages already, but there’s no way that I can find all of the great posts that are already out there (though I did try!), so I need input from all of you to make these resource pages as useful as possible. If you’ve written or bookmarked a post on a topic already included on one of these pages, leave a link on the appropriate page, and I’ll work it in. If you have an idea that I overlooked, make a suggestion. And if I’ve explained something poorly, included inaccurate information, or mistyped a hyperlink, don’t hesitate to tell me so.

My plan is to add the above pages gradually over the next few months. The first one, Garden Blog Projects, is ready for your perusal and open for your input now. It’s all text at the moment, but I’ll try to spruce it up with art or images at some point. As I add a new page every few weeks, I’ll announce that it’s live and ready for comments. (I might slip in some more pages sooner than that, so if you’re poking around the Gallery and find them, feel free to comment on them even though I haven’t announced them yet.) But for now, please check out Garden Blog Projects. Maybe it’ll give you some ideas for ways to spruce up your virtual garden while you’re taking a winter break from your real one.

*A side note: I send a virtual chocolate cupcake to all of you who make good use of categories and/or tags on your posts, and bonus sprinkles to those of you who include a search box widget in your sidebar. You have no idea how helpful that is to someone who drops in looking for the good stuff in your blog archives. I’ve set a new blog goal for myself because of this: going through my past posts at Hayefield to add more, and more-useful, tags.

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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Comments on this entry are closed.

Frances December 1, 2009, 7:12 am

Hi Nan, well that explains that spike in the stats! It was quite curious and I could not trace it back to you, very tricky! I do use the categories and have them listed on the sidebar to help find those old posts. Now if I can just remember what post was put into what category…. This is a fine idea and I will be happy to help in any way possible. Thanks for the cupcake with sprinkles. :-)
Frances

Heh – sometimes I can’t even figure who I am in my own stats. My IP address changes all the time because I completely shut down my computer and modem every night. It’s kind of weird to get logged in through towns I’ve never heard of before.

I did make good use of your categories, Frances – thanks!
-Nan

Sylvia (England) December 1, 2009, 7:56 am

Nan, a great idea – if I ever start a blog this will come in useful. I appreciate all the hard work this must have taken and look forward to more posts. I have kept some links to post about blogging – just in case! I will send you these in an email, you may find something helpful.

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

I’d appreciate that, Sylvia. I’ll e-mail you so you’ll have my address.
-Nan

commonweeder December 1, 2009, 8:10 am

Nan – This is a wonderful idea, and after 2 years blogging I still feel I have so much to learn – ways to make the blog more useful, more delightful and more searchable by making better use of tags. Right now I am trying to make my blog more celebratory with a Giveaway – Your book The Perennial Care Manual donated by Storey. I hope more readers will leave comments for my drawing on Dec. 6.

Hey, that’s great, Pat! Congratulations on your second anniversary. I hope you get lots of responses for the giveaway.
-Nan

salix December 1, 2009, 8:49 am

Hi Nan, thank you so much for this. It is going to be a huge help for us new bloggers. I just looked at the Gallery and already know that I – during this coming winter, for sure – will spend several hours there looking for info and links to improve on my blog.

Thank *you* for your help on the photo section. I hope to have it up soon!
-Nan

Diana at Garden on the Edge December 1, 2009, 9:19 am

What a great post. I’m relatively new to blogging and I picked up some great tips from this post. I will try much harder to remember to add tags to my posts and will add a search box. Maybe next time I’ll earn a cupcake.

Hi Diana! I’ll have to make another batch. I didn’t even earn one myself!

Please let me know if there’s a topic you’d especially like to see included in the Gallery.
-Nan

healingmagichands December 1, 2009, 9:35 am

Hi, Nan. I’m not really categorizable as a “garden blogger” since I have not been able to commit to staying on that topic all the time.

But I surely do appreciate the information I find here at GGW, and I’m also sure that having these things listed and archived somewhere will be quite useful!

Hey, you write about gardening at least some of the time, so as far as I’m concerned, you certainly are a garden blogger!
-Nan

Town Mouse December 1, 2009, 10:47 am

What a great idea! I’m so impressed how much good information is coming from GGW.

By the way, for all Blogger/Blogspot blogs, there’s a Search Blog widget in the bar at the top by default; an empty field with a magnifying glass next to it. I was going to add a special widget, but it seemed unnecessary.

Wow, I never noticed that feature before. Thanks for the tip, TM!
-Nan

Dee/reddirtramblings December 1, 2009, 1:39 pm

Nan, this is a great idea and very nice of you to do. You’re always thinking of interesting topics yourself.~~Dee

Thank you, Dee. It’s a continuing challenge to keep up with everything that’s going on in our community.
-Nan

Nell Jean December 1, 2009, 3:37 pm

I placed my huge label cloud at the bottom of my blog following the posts, rather than on the sidebar, because of the sheer size of it. It is alphabetical, and some categories, like Roses (39) already need breaking down. I did butterflies when they got unwieldy, putting each in butterfly_(common name).

That’s neat, Nell Jean! I can see that it’s a good solution for your many tags. I need to add ideas for tags and search boxes to Garden Blog Projects, and I’ll include a link to your idea. Thanks for sharing it.
-Nan

Jean December 1, 2009, 3:44 pm

Ah, and I thought the whole world had suddenly discovered my blog! …Seriously, this is a great idea. Thanks for doing it. And thanks also for the tip about including a search widget in the sidebar. (I do like sprinkles on my chocolate cupcakes.)

Oh, you’re another stats junkie, huh? They’re very addictive (kind of like chocolate in any form).
-Nan

Helen at Toronto Gardens December 1, 2009, 4:21 pm

Perfect timing, as over the Christmas break (fingers crossed!) I’m hoping to make some tweaks to our blog design to make things easier to find to make the design, particularly the images, more compelling. One of the things on my TTD list is to pop over to VW’s blog for her tips on photography and optimizing Blogger for images. Find her on: http://vwgarden.blogspot.com/

Great, Helen! And yep, I already found some great photo tips on VW’s site and have them linked. The photo page will be up soon.
-Nan

Mr. McGregor's Daughter December 1, 2009, 5:28 pm

How timely – I just went through all my posts and consolidated tags and added more where there was room. It’s too bad Blogger allows only a limited number of characters for tags.

Hmmm…I don’t think we have that limitation in WordPress. You’d think I would know that after almost 2 1/2 years. Obviously I need to spend some time doing more tagging on my own posts.
-Nan

Carol December 1, 2009, 7:43 pm

What a wonderful idea. I’m looking forward to all the posts.

Thank you, Carol. I should warn you that you’ll see your name popping up a lot in these pages!
-Nan

Christine December 1, 2009, 8:09 pm

No wonder you’ve been so busy! This sounds like a great idea and a wonderful resource.

I appreciate your comment, Christine. Feel free to contribute ideas, suggestions, or links!
-Nan

Craig @ Ellis Hollow December 1, 2009, 9:00 pm

One of the garden blog projects you don’t need to detail since you are doing it: Use pages to create content of lasting value that stays accessible.

Thank you, Craig. Look for some more pages here very soon.

By the way, if you decide to do an overview post about your experience with producing your new calendar with your Bloom Day scans, it would be a great addition to the Blog Projects page.
-Nan

Jean at Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog December 1, 2009, 9:21 pm

You guys/gals are the best! You’re always thinking about us garden bloggers.

I like Craig’s idea (above my comment) because I’ve been wanting to do that. I just don’t know how though. I recently added the search feature and think it’s so handy. I do need to get more specific with my flower labels though. One of your challenges might be that WordPress works differently than Blogger and so on. So you may need to label or categorize some of the tips for the various blogging platforms. Thanks again!

Good point, Jean. I’ve been trying to stay aware of possible differences in platforms, but since I’ve only ever used WordPress, I sometimes don’t realize that some things are so different. Maybe someone on Blogger can explain how to create pages on a Blogspot blog – if it’s even possible.
-Nan

Karen - An Artist's Garden December 2, 2009, 5:17 am

A timely post – I was just thinking the other day that the tags I use on my own blog are rubbish! but at least I have a search box.

I am looking forward to your series “Garden Bloggers ideas Gallery”
K

Thanks, Karen. Doing blog housekeeping tasks like organizing tags certainly isn’t very exciting, but it’s certainly more interesting than real housekeeping.
-Nan

Robin Ripley December 2, 2009, 5:23 pm

After my year of blogging slowly, I see from your list of useful garden blogging projects that I have a lot to do. But then, I already knew that!

Nan, this is an excellent resource. Thank you for taking the time to pull it all together for us.

As for those stat spikes…I suppose my year of blogging slowly has caught up with me. Nevertheless, it’s great to be back. I missed everyone.

Robin

We missed you too! I see you’re having a book giveaway at the moment. I hope you get lots of responses.
-Nan

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence December 3, 2009, 2:50 am

What a great idea and excellent resource. Helen

Thank you, Helen. It’s certainly been fun to work on.
-Nan

Chookie December 4, 2009, 5:14 am

What a lovely idea! Looking forward to finding new gems.

Good to see you here, Chookie. I hope your early summer garden is going well.
-Nan

Jack Holloway December 6, 2009, 7:02 am

Hmmm. Nan you’re a star. And I am a bit of a beginner… I’m not even quite certain what you are talking about. I really need to come to grips with ‘Links’ and ‘Hyperlinks’ and even what one does with tags once you’ve got them.

Since I am entirely self-taught, spend more time blogging than I ought, use internet that dwindles down to naught, means there are subleties I have not caught.

Ouch! Shut up Jack!

PS: I wonder whether, despite all my doubt, you are the cause of the two spikes on my stats that more than doubled my previous ‘best ever’ figures…

Hi there, Jack! You raise some excellent points about things beginniners need to know. I will make a note to add info on hyperlinks to the “Resources for New Bloggers” page, and I plan to address the difference beetween tags and categories in an upcoming post. I think we’re all self-taught (hmmm…maybe we need on-line blogging classes?), but if we share what we’ve learned, we’ll all get along much faster.

I may be able to take credit for contributing to one of your stat spikes, but I was there only one day, I think, so you must have at least one other big fan!
-Nan

ryan December 12, 2009, 3:33 pm

Speaking of stats, that might be worth some attention. I know a fair bit about how my host keeps track of things, but there are some things I have a hard time interpreting — for instance, do other people get traffic spikes from Chinese auto-interpretters, and is that a good thing or is it more like bandwidth stealing and spamming? I’ve never found a good advanced discussion of blog traffic or a good discussion of traffic for garden blogs in particular, and I would guess that newer garden bloggers might be interested in a basic discussion of stats. Technorati does a summary every year, but it doesn’t seem to reflect the garden blog world very well. Though, discussions of stats sometimes seem a bit like discussions of personal bank accounts.

All good points, Ryan. I’ll add your questions to the next GBIG follow-up post.
-Nan