Welcome to Garden Rant 2.0—and a word about garden blogging


Finally. We’ve moved over to a platform that gives us more flexibility, more options, and goes a bit beyond our former traditional blog set-up. We’ve got pages that focus on science, growing food, drinks, reviews, videos, and more. We think we’ve got a more dynamic look, and we’ve got a rotating array of feeds from other garden-related sites, in case you get bored with us.

But none of this means anything unless the following question can be answered in the affirmative: Is garden blogging still viable?  It came up during the Asheville garden bloggers gathering. I did not attend the post-dinner discussion during which this question was asked (I was cocktailing with a few like-minded souls, if you must know), but I heard about it later on. It seemed like some bloggers were still raring to go and a few others were suffering from battle fatigue.

Many of us have been thinking about this, well before Asheville. With the increasing use of other social media platforms—and we all know what those are—who has time for comparatively long-form online media like blogs? When you can just look at a snappy image with a clever tagline and click “like,” why take the time to read and comment on a blog post? Our time is precious. Most of us would rather be out in the garden if at all possible, so time spent looking at a screen in off-work daytime hours must be kept to a minimum.

And yet. You can’t really express what it’s like to save your chickens from a predator attack, confess how you totally failed to grow potatoes in bags, or explain how to maintain a David Austin rose in 140 characters. If a blog post of 200-300 words is too long for people to absorb these days, then I regret that. I also refuse to believe it.

With this new format, we the writers of Garden Rant reaffirm our commitment to garden blogging. How about you?

PS–I am told the site is still importing (techies call it propagating)–so if you encounter some bugginess and broken links today and maybe even tomorrow, that’s what is happening.

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Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com


  1. Yes! I want to read good garden writing that elegantly says something about the joys of having your hands in the dirt. Pictures are nice, but just”liking” something means nothing. I always felt that at Garden Rant, I could have discussions about gardening.

    I’m looking forward to exploring GR 2.0.

  2. Tweets have their place, but only small minds can be satisfied with tweets. Larger minds need more writing.

  3. I’ll keep reading as long as you keep writing. I want content, not just pretty pictures I can “like”. Garden Rant has always delivered and I hope you continue to blog long into the future.

  4. It was troubling to hear some bloggers ask if perhaps garden blogging had peaked, soon to be replaced by other short-form communication. Thanks for re-affirming your commitment, and carry on!
    The new site looks great, by the way.

  5. Don’t believe for a minute that what you do here is not valued, appreciated or, dare I say, necessary. Good writing will always have a place in literate society, just as the need for meaningful connections with other people. I love that there are four of you with different areas of extertise and interest. The ideas and information keep it interesting and the passion and attitude make it fun.

  6. Yes, keep on writing please. I don’t always agree and sometimes I don’t find it interesting but that is made up for by all the times you inform, rant and introduce new people. As to twittering, that is for the birds. The new site looks good.

  7. The question asked at the meeting in Asheville was: has blogging peaked? And I think the answer to THAT is yes, its growth has leveled off, but died? No way. People who like to write will keep doing it.
    I DO think that Facebook has reduced the number of comments on blogs, because so many people comment on the FB update with the blog link instead of on the blog itelf. And that splintering of the conversation is a loss.

  8. Yes, keep blogging! It’s so important to have a place for thoughtful, informed, and informative discussion. I predict it’s Twitter – now that’s ranting, not what you guys do – will die away, and garden blogging will still be going strong, and welcomed.

  9. I want to discuss gardening, and having both Italian and Southern blood in me, a mere “like” or 140 characters is never enough. Yes, garden blogging is important ! I want to commune with other gardeners, even if they live in a climate completely opposite my own. It’s the exchange of knowledge & ideas, the commiseration & the joy that makes blogs superior to those abbreviated forms of info-sharing.

  10. Why do blogs keep moving to this awkward format? I want to click on the blog link and come to a long page of blog posts. I don’t want to navigate around a page and have to keep clicking on things to get to what I want to read.

    • My feelings, exactly. Reading in this format is too much work. Oh well, this garden blog will see much less of me …or vice versa.

  11. I get tired of the social media short quips.
    I want content, and the answer to “WHY”!
    I can’t get the answer in clicking “Like”

    Please keep writing, I am just beginning my own blog because you inspire me!

  12. I myself have never opened a facebook account…so I appreciate the freedom to access and read your blog, without having to register anywhere.

    What I like about Gardenrant: the diversity of subjects surrounding gardening, the great writing, the comments people from all over make. I have no problem reading a lengthy post, if it’s well-written and the length serves the content. I think I will like the new feature linking to other blogs, when I have the time to explore. The new Home page does feel a little busy, but I think it’s just be a matter of becoming familiar with it. I like the aesthetics.

    Keep on blogging!

  13. Pfff. If I can muster the patience to grow a tomato, I can certainly read a blog post. In fact, I regret that there isn’t MORE garden blogging…when I’ve exhausted myself slinging mulch, or it’s so damn hot that my gardening consists of sitting on the front steps going “Yup. That’s a garden, all right,” I turn to garden blogs to get my fix.

  14. I like the new face of Garden Rant.
    And I agree, some bloggers do experience fatigue. (like me) That does’nt mean they quit for good. As long as I garden I will want to read about the experience, the joys and also the failures of other gardeners.

  15. I am with UrsulaV. We are gardeners, hence we are used to investing time for quality results. Love gardening blogs, always looking for another good one. Getting used to new format. If it works well for the bloggers – that’s what matters.

  16. Garden blogging is still viable. It is where most of the magazine readers are now.

    By the way when I checked in earlier the domain gardenrant.com had been hijacked by a Godaddy page of advertising. My first thought was they are going to need to kick the IT guy if he let their domain get sold.

  17. Chris, the site is still “propagating,” which means it could it can go in and out at any time until it is complete. The transferal and redirection can take a couple days.

    It is a completely different definition of propagation, as we usually don’t see seeds go back underground, even if they don’t thrive!

  18. I love GardenRant and follow a few different garden blogs on an almost daily basis (even though I feel that I spend relatively little of my personal time online). I do think that a number of blogs have turned to being pretty much blatant advertising for whatever company sends the blogger free stuff, either to review or give away…which is unfortunate, and it becomes tiresome. Even giveaways get old when they largely replace substance in content–there has to be a balance. I’ve stopped visiting more than one garden blog for that reason. As long as the content is original and fresh, I’ll continue to check in on my favorite garden blogs.

  19. I think garden blogging is still alive and kicking. I just with I had more time to read everyone’s blogs like I used to. Love the new format. We can really see whose post is up much more easily. Happy Days.~~Dee

  20. I can only speak for myself, but for me, I love garden blogs. As long as someone writes them. I’ll be reading them. For me, the more “meat” in the blog, the better. Photos are definitely nice, but a blog full of photos with little to say leaves me empty.

    When the Cabbage Patch dolls were the craze. I didn’t buy one.
    When the Beanie Babies were a big deal. I didn’t want one.
    My Space? Not me. And where is My Space now?
    The Blackberry?

    I am not one to jump on the popular bandwagon. I love to read substance, so if you provide something worth reading, I’ll read it.

    Incidentally, I hope that Facebook and Twitter go the way of the Beanie Baby.

    Blogs, on the other hand, can be creative, expressive, informative, long & short, and I can pick and choose the ones I wish to read.

  21. My blog has been going now for about 5 years and I’ve only just started! It continues to grow and grow and I love reading posts from other gardeners around the world!

    Currently I’ve entered into the divorce process and am facing the possible loss of my garden. Readers of my blog have been amazing and have made me feel better than anyone else about what to do in exactly this kind of situation. They are who I turn to when I need to cry about which plants I should take and why. The comments have made me crack up too again and again.

    We’re a loosely knit group maybe, but I think we’re one hell of a great group of people all around. My advice to anyone feeling burned out is to really reexamine why you’re blogging in the first place. I blog because I am a writer first and foremost and I love to write. If you want more people to read your blog, tell us a story and make it a damn fine one. We’ll be back for more. That’s how this relationship works.

  22. Please do keep blogging. There may be more garden blogger competition out there, but the best ones continue to thrive as others drop away. I appreciate the work you all do and would be really sad to lose your insights and humor.

  23. Hear , hear! I read blogs because I want the story not just the headline. And with Garden Rant being my favorite blog (not just favorite garden blog) I can truly say I really appreciate all you ladies do for us the reader. I will continue to expectantly check the feed every day hoping there is some new piece of insight, whit or humor to brighten my day. Keep up the excellent work and thank you for the reaffirmation!

  24. On an up note, keep up the good work!

    A technical aside – your page is incredibly hard to read on Firefox 13.0, Windows 7 Pro, 1280×1024 resolution. Something about the kerning is way off, and it’s not font-specific – it’s visible everywhere from the title headers (Shut Up and Dig, etc.) to the blog text to the “Submit Comment” button. Please have your “techies” check cross-platform readability.

    • Katie, I asked our IT guy about this and he says that he has been checking cross-platform, including that one, all along, and does not see that issue. But we are still in day 2 and will continue to trouble shoot the site.

  25. I have just make my third year as a garden blogger and I have learned what my readers want – at least I think I have…
    Any time I have posted something a bit more in-depth with fewer photographs, readership plummets. When I write shorter posts, punctuated with lots of pics, I get more hits and way more comments.
    So I’ve changed the tone a bit and expanded the content to include some travel writing – always from a gardener’s perspective.
    I don’t think that most people surfing the web are predisposed to reading a lot of text – even gardeners reading gardening blogs. In my opinion, garden blogging isn’t dead, but I have had to be flexible with mine to keep people interested, and it has evolved considerably since I started it.
    Your blog is one of my go-tos and I love the new format.

  26. Really like your blog. Really dislike the new format. Way too busy and I don’t like that the screen changes all the time. I used to have Garden Rant as my home page, but the continual screen changes aren’t peaceful.

    Do keep up the blog. I’ll still read it via my feeder; just will have a different home page.

  27. I like the new format. I like the length of blogs- sometimes long articles, sometime short. Like the ease of the links to other blogs

  28. I think we all have to morph and change…just like gardens, the web is a place of experimentation, constant change and wonder. Not sure about the new format though…like and not.

  29. I love Garden Rant and didn’t see anything wrong with the old format, but will presumably adjust to the new one. Just keep the content coming. Photos are nice, but it’s the text that really matters.

  30. Much prefer the old site for reasons already explained, but that may change. I too agree with Ursula – if we can wait for years to see if a tropical bulb will bloom, or propagate trees and perennials from seed then we can certainly read longer posts on topics that interest us.

  31. I was at the Fling discussion, and personally–I find Tweets the equivalent of a Hostess Ding Dong. Tasty, yes, but very little real stuff–particularly when you’re craving the full-blown, seven-course organic farm-to-table dinner. I’m a reader, but I’m also a writer–and I don’t believe that garden blogging is going away.

  32. It’ll be a sad state of affairs when 200-300 words is considered “too long” to hold peoples attention. Please keep writing, folks like myself will keep reading and appreciating your site, and I’ll keep up with my own feeble attempts at garden blogging as well.

  33. I guess I’m a bit of an anomaly in the gardening-as-hobby world. I’m 26, certainly in a different bracket than the viagra-instead-of-gardening crowd! I’m just starting. I’ve got an itty bitty yard that’s a patio with a patch of dirt. Since I’m brand new, I haven’t experienced and grown tired of many of the established “oh, everyone does that/grows that/ has that”. Nor have I made the mistakes that everyone makes. It’s a wild gardening world out there, and I want to see and do it all, or at least hear about what other people have done. So I have a definite need for garden blogging.

    • Crystal, what you might find useful in your journey through life is a good dose of a beautiful and compassionate John Prine song called “Hello in There.”

      you know that old trees just grow stronger,
      And old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day.
      Old people just grow lonesome
      Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.”
      So if you’re walking down the street sometime
      And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
      Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare
      As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello.”

  34. RANT:
    “If a blog post of 200-300 words is too long for people to absorb these days, then I regret that. I also refuse to believe it.”

    Don’t worry about the short postings which seems to be popular with some of the other blogs out there. I’m known for writing a manuscript or two myself. My motivation for writing is for creating an archive of my experiences both failures and successes and I hope folks can use it as a reference for their own personal use with no strings attached. I hope they come back and say, “hey I tried that and it works” or something like, “I tried that but i also found something that improved it” , that’s what I’m shooting for. I’m also hoping to learn something new. We’ll see.

    So again forget short popular posts with loaded up photos. We come here because we rather like the rants and we are readers!!!


  35. Love the new site, love the Ranters, love that you will be guiding me as I create my first-ever garden next month in Southern California.

  36. First, congratulations to all you Ranters on your longevity and your new look. And thank you for continuing to stimulate thoughtful discussion. I’ve missed out on a lot of blog reading and related activity since my husband’s passing in late January, but my indoor plants and outdoor gardens, writing and talking about and reading about plants and gardening, have helped with the grieving process.

    What I have noticed in the past several years is that some bloggers have gotten besotten with freebies and shilling for a company, and it has led me to stop reading them because I don’t trust their opinions and info as I once did. Twitter bores me now for the most part tho I do still use it, but Facebook works for me because I work for a number of clients who have seen the value of having a business page or group there, and have hired me to help them. Since I won’t work with a client or company I don’t believe in or like, people who follow my work trust me when I say, ” I like this because X and Y”. That respect matters more to me than possibly making more money with bigger businesses, where gawd help you if you don’t think their every plant or piece of gardening accouterments is stellar.

    Probably this comment is longer than some blog posts, so to sum up: you keep doing what you do, and doing it well, and we will keep on reading. Here’s to new adventures in gardening and writing to all of you.

  37. The various social media have their usefulness at different times for different people. Garden Rant is a place I come to for articulate writing, for learning about gardening and plants, and for the opportunity to be introduced to new ideas and thinking. Way too many credible media outlets have been mown down by technology du jour. Please don’t think for a minute that Garden Rant isn’t valued and valuable. Why, I’ve even put links on my Facebook page to interesting Garden Rant articles.

  38. Hope this means you will Garden Rant more.

    I don’t think you’ve touched the tip of your iceberg yet.

    Can’t imagine when the depths begin to be mined.

    The metaphor is clearly E.M. Forster writing of a beloved character, how lucky the world will be when she decides to live her life as she plays her Beethoven.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  39. Interesting subject since I have been seriously considering creating a garden blog myself. This is my first read about your blog and I must say, those that don’t enjoy a blog such as this are not really garden tenders and I do like your blog especially the thought of “rant.” Please do not stop, I see inspiration from these garden blogs. It’s the subject that I personally love to do and read about. I am still going to give this a go. I’ll let you all know as criticism’s will be welcomed…

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