The blogosphere is a huge, gangling and ever-growing amorphous creature, and I'm sure there's a blog or seventeen out there on just about any possible topic imaginable. Including some I don't want to imagine. I started bloomingwriter as a bit of an online journal, and also as a way to give back to the gardening community around me--around me being around the world, it seems. Then I wanted to know who else was doing gardening blogs? How to find them?
In March of this year, I discovered the Garden Blog Directory, maintained by that friend to gardeners and garden bloggers everywhere, Stuart Robinson from Western Australia. Intrigued, I registered bloomingwriter on the directory, then began looking for others in Canada to read. I picked out a few, liked what I read, and from those I found more and more gardening blogs. Some are written by professional writers or professional gardeners (or those who are both), and others are written by everyday gardeners with a passion for gardening AND for writing. They're all wonderful--maybe too wonderful, for some days I spend a fair bit of time reading blogs when perhaps I should be working. My rationale is that I AM working--learning more about plants new and old, gardening tips, challenges and victories...so much so that I rely more on the valuable information I find in blogs than in most gardening magazines.
Anyway, that's a bouquet to my fellow garden bloggers, friends around the world. But the main point is that Stuart has revamped the Garden Blog Directory and launched Blotanical, a new and comprehensive site that I suspect will become even more valuable than the vaunted Dave's Garden. It's more than a place to just register blogs, though. There's a spot for you to share a little or a bit more about yourself, sort of the same way we do a profile on our blogs; this way people can see at a glance what a blogger's interests are. There's a whole area that will be devoted to reviews, where gardeners can review magazines, products, plants, blogs...just about anything related to gardening. There's also a spot for 'Picks', where you can vote for posts you particularly enjoyed or found valuable, and give a little positive feedback to the writer. I know we do that within the posts of various bloggers, via comments, but this will give a more centralized gathering area for sharing the positive feelings with others.
While I don't profess to have grasped all of the features yet (and am having a bit of trouble adding the widget to my blog sidebar,) I've started tending my own 'plot' already, and am slowly adding the other blogs I read and love. The problem is, I read and love quite a few--and there's no way I could possibly rank them as one better than the other. That would be like telling the catchildren that I love one of them the most. (I only have one son, so it doesn't work to use a child analogy, because of course I love him the most of all children in the universe!) So those of you I read and recommend via links, etc; give yourselves all a hug from me!
As our friend Colleen at In the Garden Online says, Blotanical is brilliant and will continue to grow as a valued tool--but to grow and flourish, more garden bloggers need to get involved. Register your blog through Blotanical, and participate in tending your own little plot as you see fit.
So what are you waiting for? Get on over to Blotanical.com, get your blog registered, and let the fun begin. Stuart reports there have been a few little snafus, but I'm sure they'll get resolved--every site has growing pains. I'm excited about Blotanical and know this will be a valuable tool for all of us gardeners, not just the bloggers. Big shout out to Stuart (a round of Foster's or comparable brew if we lived closer!) for all the hard word he's done, and here's to exciting times ahead.