07 February 2010

You are all my Valentines...following up on last week's discussion

As is very typical, life got extremely busy over the past week or so. Appointments in other areas, car problems, interviews for projects I'm doing, plus this one big project that will have me quite occupied until August, all conspired to keep me from doing a whole lot in the way of followup on the post that has generated a huge amount of discussion and feedback. That post, of course, is about encouraging other garden bloggers.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: THANK YOU to all who have read and commented, brought suggestions to the table, put your own suggestions into action, inspired others. With more than 80 comments, it was obvious that this topic matters to many people, and that there are great ideas on giving a helping hand to others. I call it blogging karma, helping out others the way some of us were encouraged when we began, but I wasn't surprised that a number of people mentioned that they wished they'd had some sort of a mentor or feedback when they were starting out.

Starting out has its challenges, to be sure. How do other people know where to find you? Well, although it's not a perfect answer, one great place to start is by registering at Blotanical. Many of us who are active there regularly go through the list of new bloggers, and while it's impossible to read all blogs, we do what we can to visit other plots, welcome new bloggers/Blotanical members (because you don't have to be a new blogger to register there, of course) and encourage them to participate and have fun. There are drawbacks to the site--it grew rather quickly, and Stuart IS working on navigation and speed issues, but he does this as a volunteer project, not a fulltime job, I stress, so it takes a while to revamp something as large as the site.

A number of people have come up with their own ways of drawing attention to newer blogs. This can be a challenge, because so many of us read many online now, have our favourites, and wonder how we can possibly add any more (I'm abandoning housework, personally). Some are choosing to adopt a few blogs. Jean at Jean's garden is doing a Garden Blog(s) of the Month post, an excellent idea. She picked out three blogs from the newer ones listed on Blotanical, and highlighted them so that others can easily visit.

Charlotte, our intrepid Galloping Gardener, writes entertaining and delightful posts as she gallops around the world visiting places many of us will only get to see through the joy of reading blogs. She's chosen a handful of blogs to promote on her blog, and you'll find at least one or two or five that you'll want to follow regularly, too.

Teza was the first to take up my little challenge request, and promptly put up a sidebar on the righthand column of his blog with a different blogger being promoted every week. I liked this idea so much that I’ve done it myself. You have to check weekly and mouse over the photo to see what the blog of the week is, mostly because the widget he and I are using doesn’t allow a lot of editing. As neither of us told the blogger of the week who they are, it's a surprise for them when new visitors start arriving. I like giving nice surprises to people. Sort of like Valentines. Hence the pink-flowered collages in this post--pink and red are known as Valentine colours, and I thought I'd start with pink just because it's a nice contrast to the snowy days many of us are having. I'd give you all chocolates, or blue poppy seeds, or something if I could. A virtual hug and a floral sign of gratitude is the best I can do for now.

Jen from Muddy Boot Dreams suggests that people pick out a link or two from her blogroll and visit those; also a good idea, especially for someone like Jen who keeps her blogroll regularly updated. Drop by some sites and they have all kinds of blogs listed, some of which no longer exist, or haven't posted in months, etc, and that gets annoying for those looking to visit new-to-them blogs. I've been guilty of not housekeeping mine at times too (note to self--do that!)

Cindee at Moonstone Gardens is including the link to a "Blogger of the Week" at the end of her posts, too. I like what she says: "I'm hoping it will funnel some readers to new friends around the world." Nicely done, Cindee!

I know there are others doing similar things, but I'm supposed to be writing plant profiles right now so I can goof off later tonight, so I'll leave you with two things. If you're doing something cool to promote other bloggers, please leave me a comment, and I'll add you to this post with a link, of course.

Speaking of links, ways to get others participating, and just plain fun, I was really glad when Jan at Thanks for Today began blogging again. It both meant she was feeling better, and that we’d get to enjoy her heartfelt posts and stunning photography. In her typical generous spirit, Jan is thinking about the planet and about other bloggers, and is focusing on Earth Day, which is 22 April in the US and Canada alike. Jan believes that every day ought to be Earth Day, which is a good point, but as a way of encouraging lots of dialogue on the topic, she has created a giveaway to entice bloggers to write a post for Earth Day and sustainable living. Pop on over to Thanks for Today and see what she’s offering and what she’s asking.

That's it for today, friends. Again, thank you all for your enthusiasms and wisdoms. One more round of pink festivities to everyone.

LATE BREAKING NEWS! I don't know what's going on today, but I've had a gazillion spam comments try to go through on this post. I approve all comments but it's getting annoying having to wade through to my layout section and reject the spam comments (I'm afraid of publishing one somewhere by accident and not being able to find it) I'm disallowing anonymous commenters for a day or so to see if that stops them. As far as I know, anyone with a blog, google id, etc can still post.


  1. love your valentine collages. thank you. needed that tonight.
    beautiful photos. all great ideas too. gardeners are such generous people.

  2. It's wonderful to see your snowflake of a idea, becoming a full fledged snow storm. It is blanketing the blogging world. Way to go!


  3. Beautiful Valentine's Day collages. I like Teza's idea of highlighting a blogger every week.

  4. A great follow up post Jodi! I love your montages too!! You are a sweetheart!

  5. Hi Jodi,
    Thanks for getting all of us on board with helping new bloggers. What I've been doing is listing a "New Blogger of the Week" at the end of my blog post. I'm hoping it will funnel some readers to new friends around the world.
    Way to go Jodi!

  6. Jodi,
    YOU are an inspiration! I hope all your projects progress smoothly, and I congratulate you on the insightful phrasing with regard to 'blogging karma.'

  7. Hello Jodi! What can I say? 'Thank you' for starters! Now I am blushing like a valentine :)
    I really am amazed out how warm and encouraging the online gardening community is. The support for new bloggers is just wonderful.

  8. Hi Jodi - some stunny pics of your Valentine flowers - so pretty at a time when many of these plants are hidden away awaiting warmer days on which to start appearing... saying that Spring is really on it's way! Great to see such a take up on the theme of encouraging other bloggers... I spent my weekend getting another Brittany blogger on line... all up and running now! Have a good week - Miranda

  9. Hi there Jodi, yep… this is snowballing… in a very nice and generous way :-)

    Perhaps a bit off topic here but one thing caught my eye here. I don’t read online/feeds choosing to fully visit blogs instead (usually through blog rolls that show recent posts). I can see that feeds are the only way to keep up with large blog lists hence my slower speed at getting around :-o

    For new/all bloggers I feel now that it is almost necessary to make the intro 25 words/paragraph cover everything in your post. That's a big shame for new bloggers when they start out now don't you think?

    I prefer to give and find surprises throughout a post. That’s just me though and I do ramble on and on quite a lot. I have a new warning sign for that… forget the red triangle… I’ve a large white coffee cup now :-D

    Thanks for the time you’ve taken with this. Lovely bright collages too. Have a good week :-D

  10. Dear Jodi, That you continue to give so much of your time to encouraging others is, I know, deeply appreciated by countless people. I feel in this instance it is YOU who should be in receipt of the chocolates or, even better, the blue poppy seed. Have a happy week!

  11. Jodi,
    You really are an inspiration. I so admire your generous spirit, which is reflected in your writing, your relationships with other bloggers, your work as an editor, and your practices as a gardener (speaking as a proud recipient of plants from your garden). When I need encouragement to be a more giving person (which is all too often, I'm afraid), I think of you.

  12. Hey Jodi, you've been an inspiration for so many people, and I'm so glad I started blogging again, too. I often feel 'overwhelmed' with so many friends to meet and visit. That was part of why I felt the need to stop. Now I know I should never stop--just take breaks. I think I'm have a part of me that 'shuts down' when I feel like there are more things to do than I can handle! Of course, taking things one step at a time is the best way, and I'm working on that. If I don't visit a new blogger today, perhaps I'll visit one tomorrow is my new theme. It just can't be done all at once. Heck, I have great difficulty feeling like I'm on top of visiting all the blogs I've come to know and love in jus the past year that I've been blogging/Blotanical-ling.! Anyway, thank you for your kind words and the referral and link to me/my blog/my current project. I hope YOU will participate, too--I know you contribute to a sustainable lifestyle in so many ways. Take care Jodi;-) Jan

  13. I also thought I'd add that I've been adding a list of Virginia gardening/nature blogs on my sidebar (it's actually at the bottom of the page witht the other blogroll)...there are a LOT of VA blogs that I didn't know about until I've started this search. Many are on Blotanical, some are not, and some appear to have 'expired'...so I'm not listing those. I think it's nice to find out about as many bloggers with a common interest, that live in your own state, as well as other areas. So this is a 'current' thing I'm doing.What I really 'should' be doing, this moment, is writing a blog post. And publishing photos of our snowstorm. That's next on my agenda...Have a good week! jan

  14. Isn't the domino effect amazing, jodi! Or are they simple random acts of kindness :) Yes, you are a dear! Happy Valentine's Day <3 (love the collage)!

  15. Jodi~~ You had me at PINK. The collages are lovely. Other than a few favorites, such as yourself, I sort of ignore the blogs with 37 comments in the 30 minutes the post has been published. I figure these people don't need my two bits. I'd rather talk to a newbie.

    My hope is that your monochromatic landscape will give way to an early spring. Until then it sounds like you've got lots of indoor work to do.

  16. Beautiful Valentine's collages! :D I think picking a blog of the week/blogs of the month is a great idea. I think I might do that! :)

  17. Hi there Jodi, many of us are thankful for you. Since i am not registered at Blotanical, i am getting only comments from Autumn Belle's friends and those commenters i picked from other blogs like yours. Visiting and commenting other blogs really worked wonders, as i get more visitors now. I also make it a habit of putting one or 2 links in my posts, aside from the sidebar. Definitely, i am thankful and inspired by them.

  18. Dear Jodi, with the kind heart and lovely pink flowers. You've been an inspiration to many, not the least of whom is me. You've been such a great friend and mentor and even though you're so busy and battle health problems, you still manage to help so many. Bless you!

  19. I have an unpleasant headcold, but knew a virtual hug wouldn't be bad; so here's to you...((((Jodi))) from me...You are the best,
    I added word verification because the spammmers were horrid.

  20. Getting to know people on the blogs is like getting to know people in other areas of my life, normally it is through friends and other like minded bloggers!
    Spring is just around the corner...
    Stay warm!

  21. Great inspirational post Jodi, nice photos too.

  22. It is a problem that keeps getting trickier: how to find time to read all the garden blogs one wants while still leaving enough time in the day for eating, sleeping and looking out of the window let alone trying to earn a living.
    I often look at my blogroll and think that I ought to change or spring clean it but then get distracted again. I like the idea of promoting a different one each week.
    Hopefully, one day, I will get round to actually doing something about it!

  23. I love all these cheery blooms this morning, Jodi, especially as we are living in a world of white right now--pink is my favorite color in the garden...well, next to purple...and blue...

    Kudos to you for your original post. I think you have inspired a lot of people to actively seek out and encourage new bloggers. I've been rather busy lately as my father has been in the hospital, so I still haven't made it over to Blotanical to check out some new sites. But I've seen links on other posts to new bloggers and have tried to visit those.

  24. My experience is that once the bots find your blog, when you allow anonymous comments ever again, they'll pick right back up with their little nastiness. It isn't a real person who gets discouraged and gives up, it's a bot program that skims along the net, untiringly spreading filth.

    What disallowing anonymous comments does, by also disallowing Name/URL is to keep people like Pam of Pam's English Cottage Garden from successfully leaving a comment. Why these two are tied together is beyond me. Why can't Blogger leave Name/URL and just totally do away with Anonymous comments? Exactly who besides spammers needs to remain anonymous? If I know who you are, do I need to be a secret commenter?

    I set my comments to require moderation only on posts more than a week old. I read that Spammers leave comments on old posts to increase traffic by way of Google to their links. Adding that annoying little word verification stopped the worst of the spam without having to approve everybody before comments appear. I hate word verification, but it's the best solution I've found.

    Every comment goes to my email, not for approval but so I don't miss a word. Most of you are already approved, lol.

  25. Hi Jodi.
    I saw on someone's post that you were promoting this wonderful idea (maybe Frances??). It's so generous to give a new blogger a hand. I too wish I had a mentor although in a way I did ~ the crafting and personal blogs I had been following for a long time before ever starting my own. Just reading my favorites gave me an idea of how I wanted to run my own blog once I started.
    Anyway, it's the perfect Valentine and your pink collage is just beautiful. This is one gift that will keep on giving.
    PS without accepting URL/Names, for some reason I come across as a big long number??? Kathleen at Kaseys Korner.

  26. I don't want to put word verification on here, and it seems that most non-blogger commentors (like Kathleen from Kasey's Corner) are coming through fine. Kathleen if you're checking,you show up as your name on your comment, but it's a two-step process to get directly to your blog. If it's any comfort, it's that way if any of us is to click on a Blogspot commentor's name or icon; we get taken to their profile page first and then have to go to their blog. You'd think Blogger/Google could fix this (and the damned embedded comments, which drive me nutso) while they're ruling the rest of the known universe,wouldn't you? I suppose it's sort of like the whole Mac/PC incompatibility issues; they take time to resolve.

  27. Even with word verification, spam can get through. I had a spam comment that at first glance appeared genuine. It said something vague like "great post, I hope you post more on this topic," but also included a direct link to a spam site. I'm quite irked about this one.
    As for the main point of this post, I think I'm going to start with local bloggers as my blog of the month/week. I haven't figured that out yet, as I've been busy getting my new garden book review blog up & going. Hugs back at you!

  28. Hi Jodi - I am very happy you have taken to writing about this, and my blog has been a beneficiary... so its working! Thanks so much!

  29. Nice work jodi.
    I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!!
    I definitely enjoyed reading every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.


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Spammers--need not apply. Because I delete your comments and they will never make it here. Kthxbai!

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