My recent call for regional gardening sites and “gurus” for the Regional Garden Gurus produced several suggestions that I high-tail it over to Rainyside Gardeners. I followed orders, and here’s what I found:
– The Pacific Northwest’s premier gardening site, according to the Oregoninan
– 800 content-filled pages
-Over 600 plants in a Plant Gallery, complete with professional photos, basic info and personal commentary
-A forum for PNW gardeners, including answers to questions
– Recommended books
– Regional plant and gardening resources
– A calendar of regional events
– The Writers’ Top Ten, where the site’s writers show off the favorite plants in their own gardens.
– A Monthly Newsletter
– A sneak preview of the display gardens at the NW Flower and Garden Show
Creator/webmaster Debra Teachout-Teashon started the site 10 years ago now, and just recently launched her blog Muck About in a Northwest Garden. Debra’s a long-time gardener, writer and photographer who saw a need for solid gardening info for her region and just took it upon herself to bring it all together online – exactly what the Gurus are hoping to see for every part of North America. And now we get to comb her site for ideas to steal! Uh, make that emulate.
Now besides the sheer quantity of high-quality regional info, what interests me here is that Debra isn’t just webmaster and writer but editor, as well, working with two other regular professional writers and lots of guests, including frequent Rant commenter Lisa Albert. Clearly Debra’s a team player, so without a moment’s hesitation the gurus invited her to contribute her talents and her site to our little endeavor. So welcome!
HELP GET ONE OF THESE FOR YOUR REGION
We’ve heard from writers in other regions who have plenty of good garden writing ready to upload to help educate gardeners in their region, if they only knew how. So let’s help ’em out.
– How can a large website be created and maintained without paying a professional to do all the work, something that few of us can afford to do? I’ve worked with easy templates in my web history but they’re usually for small sites only. My only suggestion for a nongeek like myself is to pay a professional to set up the site and then marry it with Adobe Contribute, a reasonably nongeeky program for adding content and editing. Any other ideas? (Of course I asked Debra but writes her own code, for crissake.)
– Anybody know what kind of income is being generated these days by gardening sites? Assume that Google ads and affiliate agreements are used, maybe even paid ads after traffic has built up. Obviously the more income potential there is, the more likely one of these outstanding writers can devote the time to get it all online.
When I think of all the crap gardening sites on the Web nowadays that are attracting readers, I get cranky. Sure, they know how to play the search engine game, but have you ever noticed there’s nothing much there? Often they’re just little articles that have been stolen from other websites. Or they’re the search-engine-optimized enterprises that I’ve ranted about here – About.com and good old Jerry Baker. So how can high-quality, content-rich sites get out there so the public can find THEM?
SEND US YOUR FAVORITE LINKS
We’ve just begun compiling links for more good gardening websites in each region and your recommendations would be appreciated. But here’s the fun part. Rather than listing everything that exists, we’re voting with our typing fingers and giving a pass to information that’s outdated or market-driven. So for my region I’ve listed Extension Services for Maryland and Pennsylvania but not for my home state of Virginia. Their advice is still steeped in the bad old days of Chemistry 101, so we’ll wait for them to move into the 21st Century before sending readers their way.
Visit the page for your region on our site and if you don’t see your favorite links there, send ’em along in a comment or via email. Blogs like Angela’s in Sacramento and this one in New York City that compile gardening links for their area are being listed, too. (They’re also included in the all-inclusive Gardenblogs by Region.) And if you know of any good all-region links like the compilation of pruning instruction by region we found at Plant Amnesty, send them along, too.