Sunday, December 29, 2013

My first blogversary

Unbelievable as it seems to me, I started this blog a year ago today.  On that date, we'd been in our current house for two years.  I'd been reflecting on the changes I'd made to the garden within that period, as well as pondering what else I wanted to do to make the garden mine.  I can't say I'd planned to write a garden blog about it, although I'd been reading lots of other peoples' blogs and I'd casually wondered what it would take to get one going.   As I recall, it was raining and my husband was late getting home so I began looking at Blogger.   Before I knew it, I'd set up a profile, selected a blog name and typed up my first post, which compared the experience of gardening in a tiny, shady yard which I'd started from scratch and spent 20 years turning into a personal haven (or, as some people referred to it, my own jungle) to gardening in a space a little larger than half an acre with several different microclimates and many well-established trees and plants.

I went from a house with a backyard roughly 50 feet long and less than 15 feet wide with no front yard:






To this:

A large, mostly sunny front yard

A large backyard with a view of the Los Angeles harbor

A good-sized yard on the southeast side, which became much sunnier after the removal of a 60 foot Eucalyptus tree this past February

A largely empty slate on the northeast side of the property, which I converted into a dry garden

And a difficult sloped area at the back of the property, which is still very much a work in progress



Once started, I wasn't sure if - or how - I'd keep the blog going.  For one thing, it was a very difficult year on a personal level, with the loss of my mother in March, followed by the loss of my mother-in-law barely 10 weeks later, and all the related family issues that accompanied those events.  I also wasn't sure I had enough to share about developments in my garden.  But, a year and 160 posts later, I'm still taking photographs and writing posts.   I credit this fact mostly to the support I've received from other bloggers and readers.  My husband is not remotely pro-blog and has little to no interest in gardening (although he's always helpful if called upon for tough jobs).  Many of my friends don't garden and those that do aren't nearly as obsessive as I am about it.  In this context, I've appreciated those of you who are as crazy about plants and gardening as I am for the camaraderie, the feedback, and the willingness to share your own experience.  I can't tell you how pleased I was to hear from other bloggers, some of the earliest of which were Tammy of Casa Mariposa, Louis of Parallel 49 Palms, and Sue of Idyll Haven.  Jean at Jean's Garden gave me a major boost when she reviewed my blog on her site in June.  

Blogging has provided me a disciplined way of chronicling developments in my garden I didn't have before.  Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, sponsored by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, and Foliage Follow-up, sponsored by Pam at Digging, have helped me to create a pictorial record that I can use to assess my garden's status year-in and year-out.

From reading other blogs, I've learned a lot about plants.  Loree's favorite plants meme at danger garden has been especially helpful in that regard.  It not only provides me an opportunity to learn about new plants, many of which I've never even heard of, much less seen, but it has also led me to delve more deeply into the history and culture of the plants I grow in my own garden.  Nan at Hayfield has provided new insights into plant combinations (and a supply of seeds too).

And Heather's wide shots meme at Xericstyle has forced me to look at the big picture, to evaluate how the plants in my garden relate to one another, and consider the overall design of my garden rather than just the never-ending accumulation of plants.  Not that collecting plants for their own sake is a bad thing!  Reading the posts of others with the plant acquisition "disease" has made me comfortable with my collector orientation.

I appreciate the opportunity to view your gardens and your own plant collections.   Denise at A Growing Obsession and Hoover Boo at Piece of Eden have given me the opportunity to, figuratively speaking, peer over the fence into gardens subject to the same vagaries of climate as my own but there are takeaways from every garden I visit via the blogosphere.

I also appreciate the chance to virtually visit places I've always hankered to see, like the Chelsea Garden Show seen through the eyes of Mark and Gaz at Alternative Eden, the Portland Japanese Garden viewed through the lens of Scott at Rhone Street Gardens, the Coastal Maine Botanic Garden toured with Kathy of GardenBook, the Atlanta Botanical Garden viewed courtesy of Deb of Deb's Garden, and the US Botanic Garden visited through photos provided by Shirley of Rock-Oak-Deer.  I've also enjoyed participating in expeditions led by Peter, the Outlaw Gardener and Alison of Bonney Lassie.

My thanks to all of those named above and the many authors of the other blogs I regularly read, as well as my local friends who kindly check out my blog at regular intervals.  This bouquet was prepared in your honor.

Westringia fruticosa, Erysimum linifolium, Papaver nudicaule, 'Joseph's Coat' rose, and Antirrhinum majus

29 comments:

  1. Happy Blogiversary, Kris! I've so enjoyed your posts this year and look forward to many more...and I really hope you can make it to the Fling in Portland :-)

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    1. Thanks, Scott! I hope I can make it up there too.

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  2. Congratulations on one year in the blogosphere! That is quite an accomplishment! I know the discipline and hard work it takes to keep a blog going, not to mention what it takes to create a blog-worthy garden like yours! After tending a small garden all those years, it must be wonderful to have the space to fulfill your wildest dreams. Well, maybe not your wildest, if your dreams are anything like mine! I would love to visit your garden and take time to examine all the little details that make it special; but since I can't see it in person, I appreciate being able to experience it virtually. I wish you the very best in 2014. Happy gardening!

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    1. Thanks, Deb! I'm glad you take the time to visit. Gardening here has certainly been a change for me. Even though we're only 15 miles from our former location, the conditions are entirely different and, in my old garden, adding just a few plants made a major difference whereas, here, even gobs of plants, compost, etc. seems to register only as the slightest change.

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  3. Happy Blogaversary, Kris! I've enjoyed getting to know you through your blog and your comments on my lbog and others that we both read. I agree with everything you said about the camaraderie of bloggers, and all the great benefits of blogging. I've learned so much from a lot of the same bloggers as you. In fact, I've learned from you too.

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    1. Thanks, Alison! I hope we have a chance to meet in person sometime!

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  4. I not only enjoy your blog but it also adds to a long list of reasons for having pride in you and love for you as my sister. You've done a dynamite job here and while my thumbs remain black as soot I have learned a lot from you, my surreptitious gandering of your fellow blogger's posts and of course through private communication. On a curious level I don't suppose you recall your brother mentioning the idea of starting a garden blog, hmm? Anyway, I'm glad it's gone so well--it's nice to have these peeks into this passion you've had for so long.

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    1. Thanks, Eric! Your thumbs are most certainly not as black as soot - you just garden under particularly different conditions.

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    1. Oh and I can't remember if I ever said it but I always think it when I catch a glimpse of your blog 'blurb' about inflicting lengthy tours on people, I get that 100%! So well said, I love it. If anyone will listen for a second, I get excited and go from plant to plant explaining any changes that have occurred recently, trying to guage how long I can go on for before their eyes glaze over and I need to stop myself.

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    2. I do exactly the same thing, Amy, and I too have seen my visitors' eyes glaze over, although I can't say that always stops me from going on and on...

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  6. Congratulations! I admire your dedication and perseverance in documenting your wonderful garden through your blog. I don't remember just when I found you, but it's been a little while now. I love what you've been doing with the new paths and beds. I just noticed the Name/Url choice so will try that instead of anonymous. Since I don't have a url it may not work.
    Barbara H.

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    1. Thanks for continuing to visit, Barbara! And you did pop up under your name this time.

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  7. Happy 1 year blogiversary! This was such a fun post to read and very much reminds me of why I enjoy your blog so much. I am glad you started and have kept with it. Also, like Scott, I hope you'll consider coming to Portland next July for the Fling. We're gonna have so much fun!

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    1. Thank you for always being so supportive, Loree! I hope I can get to Portland. It may be awhile before I know whether or not I can make it.

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  8. What beautiful changes you've made there, and we both love your garden Kris! And the views you have, wow!

    Happy 1st blog anniversary and looking forward to reading more of your future posts! :))

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Mark and Gaz! The views came with the price of the house. The garden remains a work in progress - and probably always will be that.

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  9. Grattulerar till 1 år med bloggen!!
    Det är så stor skillnad på dom växter som ni har mot våra, så det är kul att få läsa din blogg.
    Ni har en underbar utsikt på baksidan av trädgården.
    Gott nytt år
    önskar
    Mariana

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    1. Thanks, Mariana! I'm glad you enjoy visiting my blog as much as I enjoy visiting yours!

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  10. Kris, your garden is wonderful and i love your blog. I wish you an happy 1st blog anniversary. Warm wishes from Paris !! Delphine, Paradis Express

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    1. Thank you, Delphine! I love your eclectic posts - they always show me something new (and often unexpected)!

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  11. Happy blogaversary! It's scary how quickly time flies when you get into the blogging habit, isn't it? Here's to many more years of gardening, plant addiction, and blogging to come. I've so enjoyed your blog and lusting after some of the plants that you can grow in the ground that we pamper in pots here! I'll add my voice to those of Scott ad Loree in hoping that we get to meet you at the fling in Portland!

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    1. I hope I can meet you too, Peter! Your blog posts often make me chuckle but your appreciation for plants always shines through.

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  12. Happy Blogiversary Kris - being a relatively new follower of you, I have to admit that I've enjoyed reading your blog and have learned about many plants I could only dream of growing here in Scotland.
    Your garden is truly gorgeous and I do hope you don't loose your appetite for blogging. There are many links up there that I have never visited - must do that now!

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    1. Angie, I'm enjoying becoming acquainted with you and your garden through your blog as well. Thanks of the virtual visits!

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  13. Happy Blogversary! I'm so glad you made the leap into the blogosphere. I totally relate to needing to find a way to connect to people as passionate about gardening as I am. I hope you can make it to the Portland Fling. I'm planning on going and would love to meet you. :o)

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    1. Thanks, Tammy. I'm glad you're back from your hiatus and I hope we can meet at the Fling!

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  14. Happy 1st blogiversary, Kris! I've enjoyed getting to know you and your garden over the past year and look forward to many more posts from you. And like the Portlanders, I hope to meet you this summer at the Fling!

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