What I learned from Blotanical


by Susan
Stuart Robinson has always been ahead of the curve among gardenbloggers, and he does it again with his new siteNewzealand Blotanical.  But this time he does it big-time, creating the ultimate social networking site for gardeners, especially the ones who blog but not exclusively.  An alternative to Daves Garden and Garden Web for gardeners of the world.

My first visit didn’t turn out so well, though.  Somehow I "favorited" a Japanese blog and couldn’t "unfavorite" it and then, because my attention for solving on-line problems is extremely limited, I gave up.  I decided to sit back a while and let the process unfold that would naturally make it easier for its users. 

But just this week Stuart announced a new look for Blotanical, thus tempting me back into his complicated but appealing web of gardening connections around the world.  So I went surfing around his world map of gardenbloggers – which you GOTTA LOVE – and noticed in "Oceana" how many of us there are in New Zealand.

Exposed as New Zealanders are to English culture and enjoying a climate similar to the American Pacific Northwest, the place is filled with gardenersNzmapnew_3
like us – avid ones.  Walk down the streets of Auckland or Christchurch and it’s garden after garden after garden.  Like walking through towns in the Cotswolds but with more sun.  A place I wouldn’t mind living.

Now to end the suspense, there’s exactly ONE of us in all of New Zealand and why the heck is that?  Stuart, you’re closer to the situation, being a mere 2-3,000 miles away, right?  What’s up with them?  (And for that matter, how about the gardening world on-line there in Australia, where there are only 10?)  When you Google "garden New Zealand" there’s plenty of sites to choose from, so it can’t be that people aren’t on line.

And while we’re at it, does anyone know why are there only 45 in all of the UK itself, given the embedded nature of gardening in the culture there?  Or are those days over?

Photo credit.


  1. Great minds, Susan…I too just wrote an approving post about Blotanical earlier today. I’d really, really like to see it become more popular than Dave’s Garden, which I rarely visit now–I think it has great potential. And maybe he’ll actually make some money at it too. (I’m always cheering on people like you, and he, who give back so much to the gardening world electronically…)

  2. Wow! Cheers for the post Susan. You’ve asked some great questions here, questions that I have been asking myself for some time.

    Why are there regions which have very few blogs displayed? Mmmmm…
    I visit a LOT of blogs especially as each one that is added to Blotanical needs to be manually viewed for appropriateness. As I look through these blog’s blogrolls I see heaps that haven’t submitted their sites to the directory and therefore miss out on traffic plus the ability to have other bloggers find them.

    Why don’t they submit their blogs? I’m not sure. Maybe they’re not interested in getting more traffic or being discovered? Maybe they just primarily blog for themselves? Perhaps they don’t like me or don’t like my site? I’m not sure why. Even perusing your ‘Friends of Rant’ highlights 34 gardening blogs that haven’t been listed on Blotanical – and this is just one blog.

    I’m guessing there is thousands of other garden bloggers out there but for whatever reason they’re not getting involved.

    I like jodi’s sentiment that maybe I’ll actually make some money out of it too – which is certainly my desire. But, more than that I’m planning some avenues where bloggers can make some money out of Blotanical as well – stay tuned. And why not? How great would it be that we could financially benefit from our hobbies? Maybe we could all make it to Pam’s little soiree in Austin!

  3. I would like to add a thank you to Stuart for his ongoing help in finding a way for me to log in to Blotanical. My site is listed but was not on the map and I have never been able to log in to fix my plot for some reason. Maybe some of the other bloggers have tried and given up. Who understands the mysteries of cyberspace?

  4. My apologies Frances. It’s now showing on the map – it was having trouble differentiating between ‘Tennessee’ and ‘TN’. Fixed.

  5. New Zealand is one of my dream vacations and it is the gardens that has attracted me. I have seen several shows on tv filmed in New Zealand gardens that have whetted my appetite. I would love to read blogs from there. Come on New Zealanders sign up…

  6. I think that some garden bloggers were not aware of Blotanical, but with your post, they will now jump in the wheelbarrow. I found Blotanical through Pam @ Digging. Once I found the original site Stuart created, I enjoyed browsing around the garden blogging world. I think Stuart’s new Blotanical is even better, and I still add favorites.

  7. I agree, Blotanical is huge fun and a great way to discover new blogs. Plus its social-networking capabilities allowed us Austin bloggers to publicize the upcoming Garden Bloggers Spring Fling (http://gardenbloggers.wordpress.com/) with emails sent directly to those registered at Blotanical. If only everyone who garden blogs had been registered at Blotanical, they would have gotten a direct invitation to the Spring Fling too. So don’t wait, bloggers. Join Blotanical.

    And, yes, I’ve also noticed how lopsided the garden-blogging world is—nearly all in the US. Where indeed are all the English, Australian, and New Zealand garden bloggers?

  8. I added my blog to Blotanical and have been very satisfied, getting a couple of visitors each day from it. Also, if feel welcome at Blotanicals, specifically getting a welcome message from Stuart (nice touch Stuart). I think he’s on to something and look forward to Blotanicals blossoming in the years to come.



  9. Here’s a voice from the south of New Zealand. I’m an avid reader of garden blogs but alas, not a garden blogger. I’ve often thought of starting a blog but feel somewhat intimidated when I read the very professional offerings of (mostly) U.S. bloggers. It seems to me that a great many American bloggers have journalistic backgrounds that would put an amateur like me to shame.
    Susan, you are one of my “faves” and I always enjoy your writing.

  10. Hey, Keith and Jodi, a little encouragement goes a long way with me, so thanks.
    And Keith, could you tell I love your country? What’s NOT to love about it? (Don’t tell me; I’d rather not have my impression shattered by the realities of 2008. I was there a good 20 years ago now.)

  11. I want to post that Stuart has me logged in and navigating on Blotanical now. He kept at it until the problem was solved. I highly recommend contacting him if you run into difficulty. Thanks Stuart.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  12. Does anyone here know why I haven’t been able to go to the Blotanical website for the past couple days? I hope it is a temporary problem that I can’t reach the server?

    I get a message from guide.opendns.com that says:

    Nameserver trace for http://www.blotanical.com:

    * Looking for who is responsible for root zone and followed i.root-servers.net.
    * Looking for who is responsible for com and followed d.gtld-servers.net.
    * Looking for who is responsible for blotanical.com and followed ns2v36.etcserver.com.

    Nameservers for http://www.blotanical.com:

    * ns1v36.etcserver.com returned (NORECORDS)
    * ns2v36.etcserver.com returned (NORECORDS)

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