As of today, I have been rambling in the garden on this blog for eight years – not that it seems anything like eight years of course. To celebrate, I thought I would share eight spring blooms plucked on one of today’s rambles, and a reminder of some of the many benefits of blogging.
Eight years ago I wrote ‘I had not intended to write a blog, but was talking to a friend about how, now I had more time, I wanted amongst other things to keep a better record of the garden and nurture its spiritual aspects, as well as writing poetry more often. She suggested I did it online as a blog, and ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com was born’. When I created my ‘About’ page, some months after my first post, I finished by saying ‘The blog reflects just one (but multi-faceted) part of me, to fulfil a particular need, but already it has gone beyond that and brought new and unanticipated pleasures’.
Eight years further on and that last statement is even more true, with an endless number of overlapping benefits arising from my blogging experiences. Right from the start I began to get to know my garden better, noticing the everyday changes, the passage of the seasons, beginning an intimate relationship rather than a casual friendship. After eight years that relationship runs very deep, and it is always a wrench to leave the garden or even have a day without spending any time in it: it undoubtedly ‘nurtures my soul’ as the blog’s tagline suggests.
Also from the beginning was the joy of writing, choosing the right words and developing my own style; likewise, satisfying the creative urge to write more poetry was one of the original motives and, although it doesn’t happen as often as I hoped it might, when my muse strikes there is always the thrill of creating with words, the right words in the right order, as one of my teachers used to say.
As I got to know the garden better I was more able to see it as a whole, and the overall rehash of the ‘bottom end’ began to take place at around the same time as the blog began. There have been many changes since then, but for the first time I was able to ‘feel’ how things might fit together. Most sections have still evolved and unfolded on their own, remarkably resulting in a layout that seems to work, but I still don’t feel I could plan a whole garden from scratch. However, my confidence in techniques other than design has grown exponentially as a result of blogging and the experience gained in those eight years, resulting in a comprehensive seed-sowing regime and on-going propagation by cuttings and other methods, as well as pruning and a host of other techniques.
Record keeping has made my gardening life much easier, knowing when I sowed certain seeds, how long they took to germinate (a mystery for novices), and when I pricked out, potted on, planted out and, if I remembered, when things flowered. A 5 year diary gives further insight, but the blog itself contains not only a comprehensive photographic record but also a search facility where I can quickly track down specific plants or tasks, whilst the continual uploading of photographs has seen my photo editing skills improve from non-existent to half-decent.
Not surprisingly, my plant knowledge has expanded perhaps a hundredfold – well no, that’s just a random figure, but you get the picture! Exchanging comments, reading other blogs, following up links, all these have contributed to my now seemingly vast knowledge (which nevertheless pales into insignificance compared to that of some bloggers who know who they are!) of a huge range of plants. I have learned to love roses, tulips, dahlias, certain chrysanthemums and other plants I might previously have shunned – I even found myself admiring a well-pruned forsythia today!
This leads on to the greatest benefit of my blog: the camaraderie of all those who read and comment on it regularly and especially my blogging friends, who have all contributed to the benefits already mentioned in one way or another. Sharing or exchanging information or advice, offering support in many guises, generously sharing and exchanging plants and seeds – the list is long. Not just publicly through our blogs, but by email and exciting little packages in the post, and sometimes in person too. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.
From the top, blooms used are: unnamed pulmonaria, Scilla siberica ‘Alba’, Bellis perennis, ex-potted hyacinth, Fritillaria meliagris, Cyclamen coum, Narcissus (probably Bridal Crown), Hellebore ‘Ashwood Single White Picotee Dark Nectaries). The test tubes are inserted in a display stand made for me by the Golfer that usually houses crystal points