Gardenblogging Gets Gregarious


It's easy to see blogging as the worst manifestation of our self-centered, navel-gazing, me-me-me culture. I once had an idea to write a book called "Nobody Cares About Your Dog" after a series of encounters with the sort of dog owners who bring their dogs with them everywhere and expect everyone to be as excited about their pet as they are. 

"Nobody Cares About Your Dog" became a running joke among me and my non-dog-owning friends.  Soon we wanted to make the book into a series:  "Nobody Cares About Your Cat," of course, in fairness, and "Nobody Cares About Your Chickens" (but you do, don't you?) and then came:  "Nobody Cares About Your Blog."  I suppose "Nobody Cares About Your Tweets" would have to come after that.

But not "Nobody Cares About Your Garden," right?   None of this applies to garden blogging, does it?  Surely not!  Because we don't just blog about ourselves, and our own gardens, but about the vast and verdant world and its many mysteries! And who wouldn't be fascinated by that?

GardenRant has brought many gifts my way; one of them was that it relieved me of the obligation to find something–anything–to say about me and gardening every single day, thus allowing me to avoid too much navel-gazing. A group blog is wonderful for that.

Another great gift:  GardenRant has allowed us to lure some unlikely and extraordinary non-bloggers into our world.  Allan Armitage, for instance. It's okay with us if Allan doesn't want to start his own blog–why should he?  He can come here any time and let off steam.

And now–GASP–now Gardening Gone Wild has unleashed none other than Noel Kingsbury.  (Which is not to say that he does not have his own blog here, but by bringing him into their ever-expanding group of contributors, they have really helped introduce him to a much wider US audience.  If the photo at the top of his blog makes you swoon, you are my kind of gardener.)

Anyway, Gardening Gone Wild now sports a very impressive list of guest contributors, so we suggest you check it out. They run photo contests and do all kinds of other interesting things as a result of having put so many clever people together in one place.

And there are so many other group blogs we like:

Garden Designers Roundtable is all about design and sports its own impressive list of contributors.

The Garden Professors–how we love the garden professors.  We like to imagine them, all tweedy and professorial, discussing plant pathology over sherry in the library. I know–they're in a greenhouse wearing muck boots, but I like to think there's at least a drop of sherry in a flask somewhere.

Fine Gardening has done an excellent job of bringing on board a number of freewheeling, freespirited writers and letting them do their thing on the Fine Gardening blog. (It's actually several blogs, sort of, but they all run together, more or less.)

And–oh, drats, there were one or two other group blogs I wanted to give a nod to, but they've flown right out of my head.  Who's got a favorite group blog?  And do you think that garden blogs in general–whether group blogs or individual blogs–have largely moved beyond the "me-me-me" type of blogging into something far more broad and outwardly-focused?  Discuss.



  1. I used to see blogs in much the same way, until I realized that good ones are not ME focused and actually offer a lot of help and inspiration. Blogs have really become more like magazines of a sort, and the best ones are edited and focused like any other good publication. I love that Noel has started to contribute to GGW and can’t wait to see what else he’ll contribute!

  2. My blogs are about me, but then they are really for my own record keeping. I like to learn new things via blogs, but sometimes I just want to peek into someone else’s garden and see what they are up to.

  3. Amongst the ones you’ve named, Not Dabbling in Normal [ is one of my favorites to read. All of the posts just further increase my wanting to live off the grid, and make a 4-season garden… as I yearn for this snow to melt…
    And I see some that I haven’t read yet… must lurk!

  4. Most of the garden blogs that I follow are written from a very personal perspective. That is their charm and their attraction and they have a very large, loyal following. Yet, these are not me-me-me bloggers because a lot of the information in their posts can be generalized to a larger population. It is their style of communication that is personal and that is what makes them so interesting.

    Some bloggers with many years of gardening experience, who may have started out self-centered, appear to have gained enough confidence to move in the direction you have identified. Others have always been outward focused. Some will use their readership as a sounding board for an idea, or an opinion, or a cause, that is unrelated to gardening, or only remotely related, especially in winter when both their gardens, and their inspiration to blog about them, are dormant.

  5. I own 4 dogs and I love the idea of “Nobody Cares About Your Dog”. I hate that sort of accessory-dog owner! I say go for it.

  6. There are very few blogs that can sustain readers on their gardens goings on alone. If you have several acres and a small working farm à la Martha, you can pull it off. For most who have a quarter acre or less, it’s much harder to do. However, many bloggers do just want to show off their garden to a wider audience and are content with that. Personally, I’d rather read that type than the litany of blogs that recycle the same information over and over —”how to make compost!”—rather than creating something new to contribute. To be fair, it is much harder to be a purveyor of new information and inspirational sources. You are going up against magazines, hort professionals, info mills, and established blogs such as this one. In the end, I say blog because you want to, and if your blog popularity takes off, good for you and congrats. Just don’t count on it.

  7. I love the way garden blogging unites gardeners from all over the world. Gardening is regional and it is interesting to see the differences and the similarities in widely varied regions.

  8. I’m a fan of group blogs and LOVE the caliber of the writing and the range of topics that are covered on GGW (Here too, but trying not to be too gushy).

    Garden Designers Roundtable is not a traditional group blog but rather a group of designer-bloggers who post about a common topic once a month on their own individual blogs. I would suggest other garden bloggers looking for some fresh inspiration or a way to put some new energy into their blogs give it a try. It’s a bit like an online version of a book club, but way more opinionated. Not only is it fun, but it’s a great way to drive new traffic to your site.

  9. Couldn’t agree more with Susan. I love GR and GGW; it’s fun to have a range of opinions centered around one main theme or attitude.

    Thanks for the hat-tip to the Roundtable!

  10. It’s truly my honor to be a part of the Garden Designers Roundtable Blog. The caliber of designers, gardeners and writers that allow me to play along with them is one of my great joys!
    My blog is simply my own creative outlet for horticultural topics that I find interesting, creative and hopefully inspiring to others. If anyone besides myself enjoys it I consider it a delightful tip.
    I’m going to enjoy reading some of the blogs that were listed above and getting to know some other fine garden blogging friends. Thank you again Garden Rant!

  11. AND—drum roll—we at Gardening Gone Wild recently added Tovah Martin (“The New Terrarium”) to our regular contributors! Amy, the mastermind behind GGW is author/CBS radio/USA Weekend correspondent Fran Sorin of Philadelphia and Tel Aviv. Fran’s GGW posts include insights about, and interviews with, internationally known garden designers (like Piet Oudolf) the rest of us only dream of meeting. Her amazing network is how Fran scores guest contributors for GGW from the heights of horticulture worldwide.

  12. I agree with you, Amy, that outward-focused blogs can have more appeal than the me-me-me blogs. And I also agree with allanbecker-gardenguru that some of the best blogs are still very personal, inward-focused blogs that are interesting because of their writing style, humor, photos, fabulous garden, what-have-you. So for me it’s a mish-mash, and my favorite reads fall into both categories.

    Thanks for the shout-out for Garden Designers Roundtable. Being a part of that group has been rejuvenating for me, giving me fresh topics to write about and inspiring me to think outside the box of my own garden and reach new readers.

  13. A while back, I mentioned and left links for the Roundtable. Sorry, I did not know you ladies were familiar with these designers. I have been a long time follower of the Roundtable and their individual blogs. Much longer than garden blogs. They really know their stuff, have wonderful contacts in the industry and are always finding great designs to showcase. I respect these woman and their talents and that is really what blogging is about; finding blogs were the writing is good and always well supported.

  14. Amy, This is a timely followup to yesterday’s post about content farms and the difficulty of finding quality information about hort or gardening on the net. Gardenrant and Gardener’s Gone Wild and other group blogging platforms offer a pleasant counter to the frustration of ending up on e-how. And even the most navel-gzaing blogs often have excellent photos of plants that might help a newby with identifying a plant or a place for it. On a small scale, those blogs might inspire friends and others who don’t garden to plant something or look at the potential of their yard differently, so there’s probably a place for them. I’d love to hear more of your favorite sources for hort/gardening info online. (Total aside..I just checked your Flower Confidential out of the library and enjoyed it.)

  15. I come bearing good news: a bold, new team blog is JUST about to launch. Couple of days to perform the domain switcheroos..

    It’s the LAWN REFORM BLOG, with contributions from Susan Morrison, Ginny Stibolt, and myself – we’ve been working together to transition from our formerly static website to a multi-author blog with more static resource info on pages. David Salman with High Country Gardens has posts ready for the blog, and we have a guest post by Ivette Soler coming up real soon. I’m sure Paul Tukey will contribute, too. We just haven’t told him yet.

  16. You’re drawing lines between multi-author blogs and single-author blogs, but you don’t need to. They’re the same thing!

    I read tons of garden blogs. Some have multiple authors, some have one. Who cares? It’s the quality of the writing, information, and even the design that matters. When I read them all in one sitting, it’s all one big multi-author, multi-site garden blog.

    The great thing about it is, it’s all real gardeners talking about what’s interesting to them. No gates, no gatekeepers.

    If you like the blog, read it. If you don’t, don’t. There’s no sense in drawing lines where you don’t need them, or insulting people who are just writing what they want to write.

    This is what the web is for.

  17. This was our biggest concern when we created our blog last August. “Offer a point of view, not an opinion” is a mantra that I repeat every time I compose an entry, because I agree with you – no one cares about your dog. In the garden blog world, no one cares that the shasta daisies are in bloom in your garden and that they’re your favorite flower. However, they do care about which specific cultivar you’ve chosen, how it has done for you considering your climate and soil, what you’ve combined them with, how you keep growth in check, and so on.

    We are a group blog with three distinct voices plus guest bloggers. While we share personal experiences and encounters of the horticultural kind, we try to couch them in actual gardening information in hopes that visitors leave with at least a tiny bit more knowledge than they had when they came in.

  18. I love blotanical – a collection of garden bloggers from all over the world. You can read blogs from tons of countries with tons of perspectives and lots of different focus. For a really varied blog diet you can just go to the new postings each day, or add a fav blog to your favs to you can return regularly. Something for everybody!

  19. Another group blog with a focus on design is APLD’s Designers on Design ( Written by designer members, it’s a grab bag of topics all centered around landscape design. Each designer chooses their own topic and blogs once each month.I blog for both Garden Designers Roundtable and Designers on Design. I know I’m nuts.

  20. I read many different blogs for a variety of reasons, not least of which is I have now met many bloggers and are interested in what they have to say. The group blogs I read are, obviously, this one, Gardening Gone Wild (I’ve even participated in the Garden Blogger’s Design Workshops). I do read Stacey’s At Home in the Garden ( because it feels like not only a “magazine” but it is a behind the scenes of a magazine. Also because I’ve read and enjoyed Steven Orr’s personal blog ( They’re extremely knowledgeable (Martha don’t hire no dummies) and will post on everything from things seen in their NYC walk to work, as well as on MSL assignments — horticultural journeys I’d never have the chance to go on.

  21. Garden Rant is MY favorite blog but not all posts are equal.

    I read garden blogs every day, and the ones I enjoy most are the ones that get personal. Maybe that’s just me.

    I get tired of seeing photo after photo of flowers with a line or two beneath them.
    (For me, if you’ve seen one shasta daisy or
    one tomato, you’ve seen them all.)

    I want to know what’s in the gardener’s head.

    I want to know: Why did he or she do that? What was he or she thinking? How does gardening play a part in his or her life? Why are they a gardener? What’s their next project? Was it hard or easy? What really bothers that gardener? What gives them joy?

    Some specifics are nice, but I feel bored when I read that someone planted six tomatoes and a bunch of lettuce and that’s it.

    I have a blog I don’t advertise. No one reads it but me, and I write in it daily for my own pleasure. I feel lucky I don’t have an audience to criticize what I write or think or feel.

    As someone previously stated “some of the best blogs are still very personal, inward-focused blogs that are interesting because of their writing style, humor, photos, fabulous garden, what-have-you.”—For me, that’s what I enjoy reading.

  22. I find places like Blotanical a great way to get your blog noticed but it also has a competitiveness about it authors compete in collecting the most points, hits or picks concerning several categories most faved, most visits, most popular ect.. they encourage you to be an active participant in the community. I like to visit and read other gardener’s blogs but joining it made me feel to much under pressure to keep up with logging in regularly and trying to collect them points.

  23. I shied away from doing a blog for awhile, realizing the small group of gardeners that might be interested was alread being overwhelmed. Then, we were realized our little nursery Avant Gardens needed a bigger web presence, and so GardenForeplay began. It’s almost a full time job coming up with relevant and informative topics that aren’t blatantly gratuitous. But, let’s face it, there are only so many hours in the day, and there are a lot of good blogs out there.

  24. Of course we care about your chickens. Could use another update! Also your gardens, cats, and anything else you want to write about. (Dogs, not so much.) GardenRant is a treasured part of my morning routine.

  25. I write for my clients, for future gardeners in my unique forested region, and for anyone who wants to garden with and for their local wildlife. I add links, comments, and write on my blogs and Facebook pages.

    I do not encourage more squirrels, but enjoy the ones that visit daily. It’s psychology (and baffles)- lol!

  26. There’s bourbon in the flask, actually.
    We polished off the sherry eons ago. Huge pile of bottles out behind greenhouse.

    Thank you for your kind words, Amy!

  27. Let’s not forget the “Garden World Report Show” the first “online garden TV” entertainment show! You and the Ranters will be featured on it soon.

    The Garden World Report Show is hosted by me but it features the “who’s who” of the garden world and garden bloggers as video contributors. I couldn’t cover the garden world without help of these talented people!

    The new show website will launch shortly and will feature a blog with guest contributors from the show.

    You can see the show at

    Thanks Amy.
    Shirley Bovshow

  28. I’m sick of blogs that show the cute little lavender someone got, then a whole 500 word post on it, followed by multi-angle shots. But I’m also tired of blogs that just give straight info, either completely aloof as if copied and pasted or didactic (never in the middle).

    And I hate feeling guilty for hating dogs, though I did see a black lab in the English Dept office yesterday (inside!?) do that treat-on-nose-stand-still trick thing which was kinda neat I guess.

  29. as someone new to the garden blog world, with one foot in the dirt and the other tamping around other related topics (“outdoor living”), i find it fascinating to discover all the various formats and voices out here. i guess it’s like all good writing/media platforms, the best ones have a clear sense of what they want to say (mission statement) and who wants to hear it (audience). i’m still working on both…

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