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Belated Blogaversary: Five Years and Growing

August 27, 2014

fence border tallMy sense of time has been so thrown off this year by the fact that I am not returning to school to teach that I forgot about the five-year anniversary of Jean’s Garden until I was alerted by a congratulatory email from WordPress. The first post of this blog went online on August 22, 2009, and I have used each ‘blogaversary’ as an opportunity to stop and take stock of where my gardening journey and my blogging journey have taken me. This year, that accounting is a bit belated.

Cover 2011When I look back over these five years, I see growth. The blog has grown, accumulating readers and followers – this despite the fact that I have not been a very faithful blogger during this past year. As I get settled into my new life in the months to come, I hope to get back on a schedule of 5-8 posts per month. I have also grown as a blogger, and that growth includes my growth as a writer and as a photographer. The photography for this blog inspired the Jean’s Garden gift calendars that I have produced for friends and family for the past five years. (See A Year of Gifts from the GardenA New Year in the Garden, A Doubly Good New Year, A New Year in Jean’s Garden, and A New Year in Two Gardens.) I was thrilled this past year when Gettysburg College’s Musselman Library mounted an exhibit of some of the best photos from these calendars.

imageThis blog also provides a record of the growth of my garden. When I began blogging in 2009, my back garden consisted of two flower beds, the deck border and the blue and yellow border, facing one another across a central walkway. Blog posts from fall 2009 (Garden Alchemy: Turning Sand to Soil and The Pleasures of Planting) record the creation of the fence border. This was followed in 2010 and 2011 by posts about the plans for (My Not-So-Secret Garden, Planning the Serenity Garden, and The Plan) and creation of ((Finally!) Breaking Ground and Birth of a Garden) the serenity garden and  also the addition of a raised bed in 2013 to create a stronger sense of enclosure for that part of the garden (Closure). In 2012, I was inspired by my blogging experience to go back and re-read the hand-written  journals I had kept for many years to recover the pre-blog development of the garden (The Ghosts of Gardens Past) and to create a new History of the Garden blog page. As I enter a new stage of my life, I am also entering a new stage of garden growth as I plan and develop a whole new front garden – a process that I have begun to document here (First Steps Toward a New Front Garden and Working with a Landscape Architect).

imageThe most important growth this blog has seen is my growth as a gardener. In many ways, that growth is a result of writing this blog. Blogging has introduced me to the gardens, knowledge and ideas of many other gardeners, and they have been an important source of information and inspiration. Many of those gardeners have commented on my blog posts, raising questions and making suggestions that have helped me enormously. And writing about gardening has forced me to be much more self-conscious about what I am doing and why. Reflections on my own practice have led me to a deeper understanding of garden design. (See, for example, What Makes a Garden “Room”? and Serendipity in Garden Design.) Trying to explain what is happening in my garden and why has also increased my understanding of garden science (Blue Is a Cool Color and Botanical Identity Crisis). Because I was science-phobic in my younger years, I am particularly proud to have mastered some of this botanical science; and I am looking forward to learning more of it when I enroll in the Master Gardener’s course next year.

I expect that my blog, my garden and my understanding of gardening will all continue to grow in the years to come.

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42 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2014 5:18 pm

    Dear Jean, Happy 5th Blogaversary!!! I love your blog and hope to see many more posts!
    Thanks for reminding me about my own blog – it was 5 y.o. in January…. and I forgot about it….

    • August 31, 2014 7:27 pm

      Thanks, Tatyana. I guess blog anniversaries, like birthdays, become less important with age 🙂 .

  2. August 27, 2014 6:49 pm

    Jean Happy 5th anniversary…my blog will turn 4 years old in a couple of weeks…how time does fly. I agree that blogs help us grow in so many ways and with my garden blog I have grown as well. It has been a treat to see your gardens grow Jean.

    • August 31, 2014 7:29 pm

      Donna, Thank you. Time has, indeed, flown. I remain grateful to the friend that asked me if I had ever considered writing a garden blog; blogging has enriched my life so much and brought me so many wonderful blogging friends.

  3. August 27, 2014 7:31 pm

    A very happy blogaversary to you, Jean! I hope I can say I’ve learned as much from blogging and my experience working with the challenges of my current garden after I’ve been at it for 5 years. I look forward to seeing the changes you make to your garden now that you’re settled in one spot.

    • August 31, 2014 7:34 pm

      Kris, I’m champing at the bit to begin work on my new front garden. Alas, my construction project is moving forward at a maddeningly slow pace, and I have to limit myself to gathering inspiration and ideas for now.

  4. August 27, 2014 8:06 pm

    Happy anniversary, Jean. I look forward to hearing more about the new developments in the garden, as well as news on your first winter in Maine.

    • August 31, 2014 7:36 pm

      Thanks, Marian. I have spent winters in Maine before. I lived here full-time in the 1980s, have spent three sabbatical years here through the winter since then, and have been in Maine for a month in December-January every year. Nevertheless, I have an escape planned in the form of an invitation from a cousin in Florida to go visit her when I get fed up with winter. 😉

  5. August 27, 2014 8:10 pm

    Happy 5th, Jean. Time (and plants) do fly! Wishing you many more years of growth.

    • August 31, 2014 7:37 pm

      Helen, Thanks. Now that I’m retired, I’m looking forward to more time to spend getting caught up with the gardens of all my blogging friends.

  6. Melanie permalink
    August 27, 2014 10:12 pm

    Your garden blog posts are inspirational and delightful to read!

    • August 31, 2014 8:03 pm

      Melanie, Thanks for those kind words. What got me into garden blogging originally was that i was spending so much time in my personal journals writing about the garden, and I thought it would be nice to have someone else besides me reading those reflections. Since I have found I very much enjoy this type of writing, it is nice to know that readers are enjoying it, too.

  7. August 27, 2014 10:38 pm

    Congratulations, Jean! I came to read your blog in its early days, and I have watched your garden grow over the years. I have enjoyed reading of the challenges you faced in a climate that is different, but in many ways not-so-different, from mine. I wish you the best with your new front garden and with all your future endeavors. It does not seem like it has been five years! Happy blogging for many more!

    • August 31, 2014 8:05 pm

      Thanks, Deb. These five years really have flown by — but, in some ways it is surprising to me to realize that neither the fence border nor the serenity garden existed yet when I began the blog. I know what you mean about our gardens being different, but not-so-different. I always get inspiration from your woodland garden.

  8. August 27, 2014 10:58 pm

    Congratulations on five years in the blogging world. I have to laugh because if you had asked me how old your blog was, I would have said eight or nine years. My blog will be four soon, and when I started, you were the old established blog. Blogging was so new then that a year was a huge amount of time. It was and is good to have your voice of experience.

    • August 31, 2014 8:10 pm

      Carolyn, It’s so true. My blog was five months old when Jodi at Bloomingwriter, then already in its fourth year, noted the rapid increase in the number of garden blogs, worried how all those bloggers would find readers, and called on established bloggers to mentor new bloggers. I remember wondering if I knew enough about blogging to mentor anyone, decided I did, and started doing my garden blogs of the month — which turned out to be a great way to get acquainted with great blogs and bloggers, including you.

  9. August 28, 2014 12:26 pm

    Congratulations Jean, the years pass so quickly. Many of us will have appreciated your wisdom over this period.

    • August 31, 2014 8:14 pm

      Alistair, Thank you. I often feel like a bumbling amateur in the gardening world, so it’s nice to know that, as I learn by experience, others find those lessons useful too.

  10. August 28, 2014 4:26 pm

    Congratulations on your anniversary, Jean. My blog turned three in May and I always remember that you were the first person to leave a comment welcoming to the blogworld. I wish you many more happy years of sharing your Maine garden with us.

    • August 31, 2014 8:22 pm

      Karen, I hadn’t realized that I was the first commenter on your blog. I remember my own first commenter (not counting friends and family members) fondly, too.

      • August 31, 2014 8:45 pm

        You will always be my first blogging friend. 😀

  11. August 29, 2014 1:22 am

    Well done, your anniversary is a really special marker. Your writing is greatly appreciated.

    • August 31, 2014 8:24 pm

      Thanks, Charlie. I think garden bloggers divide roughly into two groups — those who start with photos and then use words to link them and those who begin with a story line and then find photos to illustrate that story. I definitely but myself in the second group. I’ve always been a word person, and I have found that blog writing has made me a better writer. (And, along the way, it’s helped improve my photography skills, too — an unexpected bonus.)

  12. August 29, 2014 7:59 am

    Jean…wishing you a belated happy anniversary. Five years is a great accomplishment. I also want to thank you as your blog has helped me focus on specific areas of my garden. I especially enjoy your photos. I think you will enjoy the Master Gardener Program. As I longtime gardener, I was astonished at how much I learned when I took the course. And, I continue to learn as a volunteer. My garden is the best it’s ever been! So, I look forward to hearing about your MG experience and seeing your garden as it continues to grow.

    • August 31, 2014 8:26 pm

      Kathy, I am very much looking forward to the Master Gardener course. I had hoped to do it this winter, but for a whole set of reasons, it looks as though it will make more sense to wait a year. But when I finally get there, I will definitely blog about the experience.

  13. August 29, 2014 8:56 am

    Congratulations! And isn’t it great not having to go back to work? My first year of retirement is in it’s ninth month and I love it!

    • August 31, 2014 8:28 pm

      Diane, I didn’t realize that you were recently retired, too. Congratulations! I agree that it is great. Now that school has started, retirement is feeling real to me. I’m going to love being able to do spring clean-up in a leisurely way next spring rather than on one exhausting long weekend!

  14. August 29, 2014 10:12 am

    Happy fifth and congratulations! It’s so interesting to see the changes and hear the stories which go with them. Gardening is fascinating for me but it’s the personal stories which make it so special.

    • August 31, 2014 8:30 pm

      Bittster, Thank you. One of the things I have found so rewarding about garden blogging is getting to know people through their gardens and through the stories they tell about their gardens. I agree that the personal stories are special, and I am often surprised at how close I can feel to people I have never met.

  15. August 31, 2014 6:30 pm

    Congratulations on your fifth blogaversary!
    With you I look back year by year, how both our gardens, and blogging have changed over these last 5 years.
    Is your renovation done?

    • August 31, 2014 8:32 pm

      Diana, I can only wish my renovation were done. It was supposed to be done in 90 days, but it is moving exceedingly slowly. It’s especially frustrating because I had originally hoped to get the first flower beds of the new front garden put in this fall, but now they will have to wait until next spring. I’m hoping for significant construction progress this week.

      • September 1, 2014 4:28 pm

        oh that I understand so fervently! Still hoping that I’ll be able to do some planting before January and February’s heat. Who knows? We wait.

  16. September 1, 2014 5:14 am

    Congratulations and happy blogaversary! I thought I had only been reading your blog for a few years, but there are several post titles you mention that I remember reading and they were way back. I hope to continue reading your posts and before we know it, congratulating you on ten years of garden blogging!

    • September 3, 2014 7:37 pm

      Sunil, I guess it depends on your definition of “a few.” In many ways, the number of years I’ve been writing this blog is only “a few;” but in blog years (which seem to be a lot like dog years), 5 is quite mature.

  17. September 1, 2014 5:58 am

    Congratulations, you are an inspiration!!! Five years means perseverance and continuation and in these times of “fast and furious” it really is a treat. Please, do continue with your posts, it is a real treat to read you and be able to learn from your ideas, Lula

    • September 3, 2014 7:40 pm

      Lula, Thank you so much. Your “fast and furious” description reminded me of a conversation I had recently with some younger friends. They were really surprised to hear that I write first drafts of all my posts and then take time (usually another day) to revise and polish them before I put them online. Apparently, in the “fast and furious” world of the internet, drafts and revisions are a very old-fashioned approach to writing 😉 .

  18. September 1, 2014 5:55 pm

    I completely agree that blogging forces us to think more critically about the choices we make in our garden. They’re also excellent tools to help us track our progress as gardeners. I really love your blog and am so glad you’re still blogging. Congrats on five fabulous years! 🙂

    • September 3, 2014 7:43 pm

      Thanks for sharing this anniversary, Tammy. When I started this blog, I wasn’t thinking of it as either a way to keep a record of my garden (something I was already doing in other ways) or as a way to learn more about gardening; but, of course, those have been really important outcomes.

  19. September 2, 2014 4:55 pm

    Many congratulations on your blog anniversary Jean! Long may ‘Jean’s Garden’ continue to bloom and flourish.

    • September 3, 2014 7:45 pm

      Anna, Thank you. With a whole new front garden to develop, I’ll certainly have lots of material to work with for quite a long time to come!

  20. September 7, 2014 7:59 am

    Congratulations on five years Jean!! Here’s to hoping for another five. Will be interesting to see how the blog and garden grow now that you have a little more time in Maine. I completely agree with you how blogging helps to expand our horizons. There are so many interesting and knowledgable people to meet through blogs and my garden has only gotten better because of them.

    • September 11, 2014 8:47 pm

      Marguerite, Thank you. I’m very much looking forward to getting started on my new front garden in the spring, and there’s no question that my interaction with other bloggers has expanded my horizons and given me many sources of inspiration as I start to plan the first sections.

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