Who ARE You People?


–Put up lots of photos.  Photos of plants, photos of people, events, happenings, birds, bugs, whatever.

–Link to other blogs, and if you have time, post comments on other blogs. That will drive readers to your site.

–It’s fine to use a blog just to post news of upcoming events, etc., in which case it’s really more like a "what’s new" page of your website.  But blogs REALLY attract readers when they say something honest and insightful and opinionated. Most organizations and corporations are afraid to express an opinion, but real people have opinions and it’s interesting to read them.  This could be anything from taking a strong stand for or against an New York Times op-ed, to complaining about how gross it is to have to put on waders and clean out the lily pond.  (Or how great it is to do that!)

–Let your personality shine through.  Try to get as many people as possible to post on the blog and talk about who they are, what they do, maybe some quirky insider information about themselves and what they do at the garden, etc.  This could include guests, like speakers or visiting botanists.

–Comment on other blogs and what’s happening in the world around you.  Blogging is supposed to be a conversation, not a one-way flow of information.  For instance, a lot of garden bloggers do this "Bloom day" thing where you post a photo on the 15th  of every month showing what’s in bloom in your garden.  Or maybe you respond to some news about global warming, an interesting YouTube video, or respond to these year-end round-ups in the news of the best garden books of the year. 

–Check out the most awesomeist blog we know of by a garden company–that of The Golden Gecko.  Trey is always honest, straightforward, thoughtful, and personable.  He thinks about the big picture and all the little stuff.  He really lets us see what goes on behind the scenes.  You rock, Trey.


  1. the best institutional blog I’ve come across is “Birding at the Lodge” which is/was (haven’t been for a while) a group blog by various RSPB (like Audubon but British) staff members at their HQ. I think group blogs work well for institutions like this (and theoretically a BG) as you get a sense of staff interaction which gives a sense of the whole institution’s personality…if that makes sense.

  2. You’re so right about Trey and his blog. If I lived his area I’d shop there as much as possible – seriously! Another great example is Open Register, the blog of the garden center industry, and IT has a nice blogroll of Trey and others. http://www.branchsmith.typepad.com/
    One more thing. Show us photos of the bloggers, tell us who they are and their connection to your entity. The blogs that succeed do that.

  3. Great survey … but just in case my boss is watching: I prefer to think of reading GR at work as an important act of mental rejuvenation that enables me to return to the work at hand with renewed vigor. I would never actually do anything that wasted valuable time…. ;>

  4. This is cool. I like to talk to or read about people who are passionate about something. I would like to see garden centers try to educate their customers, steering them into choosing plants suitable for the local growing conditions. I would immediately abandon any blog that promotes nasty invasives or just badly behaved plants.

  5. One of my favorite institutional blogs is listed on your sidebar, ‘Blithewold’. Trey is a great communicator and always interesting. I read your blog for opinion but other garden blogs for regional differences and the gardening experience and palette of the authors in different parts of the country. Gardeners unite!

  6. Hi Garden Rant,
    I thought one important question missing from your survey is: how many years have you been gardening?
    That would have given you the range of experience existing amongst us people out here.

  7. Oh, dear. This is bad. This is very bad. The Golden Gecko is within nursery day-trip range, and could be nicely worked into my Spring day-long plant-buying trip (which starts with the Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plant Society’s annual spring plant sale in Rocklin, CA, and ends with a snack or meal and a visit to The Villager nursery in Truckee, CA). There are so many really great nurseries in the Sierra Nevada foothills within easy driving distance of I-80, and I have family in Rio Linda I could stay with overnight. Uh-oh…this might become an annual TWO DAY excursion, going North of I-80 on the first day, and South of I-80 on the second day.

    That The Golden Gecko specializes in Japanese Maples and dwarf conifers only makes things worse–I’m just about ready to plunge into conifers, and they will have to be dwarf conifers because of the size of my already densely-planted garden.

    Oh, dear. This is bad. I can feel my wallet shrieking from across the room.

  8. Loved the survey, but was a little confused. This is my first multiquestion survey and I didn’t know if I could click on more than one response per question. I am still new at this, but learning. In response to a suggestion above I have been gardening, sometimes to a very small degree, for about 41 years.

  9. Amy, I am constantly amazed at the number of businesses that still don’t understand the Web.

    I would love it if my favorite local nuseries–which happen to be about an hour from me in Vermont–would blog a little. Tell me what’s in stock, what they are excited about, what they have been hearing from other customers.


  10. Accckk! I am a stereo type. I am an over 45 year old woman with multiple cats. But I started gardening at a much much younger age. Like at 9.

  11. Traditional gardening demographic? I ain’t 50 yet!

    And “this Bloom day thing” is coming up in 5 days. Yes, we are still doing it in January, even if some of us might not have a lot (anything) blooming outside right now.

    Looking forward to the survey re-opening for the next 100 respondents.

  12. Hey, I’m not fifty yet either…not for a while…and we have eight cats too, so we help drive up the average. And I started gardening by planting blue potatoes with my grandfather when I was about six. So there on yer basic demographic.

    And a great professional garden blog is Blithewold; Kris is knowledgeable, witty, a good writer, and takes some wonderful photos to go with.

    Must go feed the kittes now, before they chew on the plants.

  13. Taking coleus cuttings and chasing lizards in my PawPaw’s greenhouse are among some of my first memories. It’s a learned behavior, I tell you!

  14. 10 years shy of 50 and no cats here. Of course it’s just a matter of time on both counts.

    Thanks for putting up the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling badge. We’re looking forward to seeing Susan and Elizabeth on April 5th!

  15. Did someone call my name? 🙂

    What’s up with this demographic whatsit? I started gardening when I was 28 and there were only 3 kittycats then.

    Michelle D:
    people do not have cats, it’s the other way round, it’s a thing! 😉

    Yolanda Elizabet and 8 1/2 cats, that will put a spanner in the average thingy! 😉

  16. Thanks for the kind words. Your mention of my blog has inspired me. So much has happened over the last couple of years of garden blogging, but one thing that has remained the same is my belief that we are changing the face of gardening for the better. These are exciting times, and to be be singled out by Garden Rant as a blog worth reading is thrilling. Thanks!

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