BlotanicalWhen Barbie and I started our Gardening blog in January this year it was all about having a space to show each other our latest photographs of our gardens. You see, we live quite a distance from each other, far enough that we don’t get to see each other often. It’s about an hours drive one way, so a bit too far to just “pop in for a quick cuppa”. Add to that that I am night blind, it makes it difficult to do regular garden visits! So we started this blog and began playing “show and tell” with each other. It was fun! We never imagined that anyone would ever visit our site. How would they find it and if they did … why would they be interested in our gardens? Besides, getting tons of visitors was never our objective. It was just about having some fun online!

Then one day I stumbled on a site called Blotanical. It looked like some sort of Gardening Directory. So I joined. I added our blog and thought no more of it. Then I started getting mails from my soon-to-be mentor and Guru Blotanist Diana, of Elephant’s Eye (a stunning Wildlife Garden here in Porterville in the Western Cape). She had been to our website. Yippee! We had a visitor … much excitement. She asked a question about our feed which was needed for the listing in Blotanical to work. Oh dear, much to-ing and fro-ing by e-mail – it didn’t work. Then the founder of Blotanical e-mailed and I had to get serious and fix up that feed. Finally working, and guess what happened? Gardeners from all over the world started coming to our blog and leaving comments. More excitement. Not just random people, but actual, experienced gardeners from all over the world were visiting and talking. Giving advice, admiring our blooms, asking questions … how on earth did that happen? Blotanical – I tell you!!

So what is Blotanical actually all about? In a nutshell I would say it’s a Social Network for Gardeners, on steroids. Way ahead of his time obviously, as the site started a good few years ago long before “social networking” was the in-thing on the web, Blotanical was started by Stuart from Gardening Tips & Ideas. From the Blotanical web site you can “follow” all your favourite gardening blogs in one space. I love reading gardening blogs but I don’t love getting hundreds of mails a day, nor can I be bothered with feed readers. I get too many already as part of my job, so Blotanical is the perfect place for me to log into once a day and be able to go and see which of my gardening buddies have posted something new … then click and read. And likewise, they see our new posts. Besides that you get your own little “Gardening Plot” on the site from which to communicate with your fellow Blotanists, leave and receive messages, pick and rate their posts (and they rate yours). For me the rating system is a great measuring tool as to what to blog about – knowing that experienced gardeners might actually read what I have to say encourages me to not only write better posts but also to (try) take better photographs. It’s forced me to up my game so I’m learning every day and loving the experience!

The best thing about Blotanical? That’s a no-brainer! It is the wonderful connections we’ve made! We’ve made so many new gardening friends with folks located all over the world. From South Africa to Japan, Canada to the USA, Germany, Sweden, Malaysia and Australia. Scotland and the UK … It’s a daily highlight to see which of our gardening friends have read our posts, left us a message or have generously offered us some advice about our many gardening trials and tribulations. And the support and encouragement has been incredible. If I had known gardeners were such a friendly, enthusiastic crowd I would have started gardening long ago.

In closing I’d like to send a special thanks to all our Blotanical Friends! You make us better gardeners, we learn from each and every one of you and this blog would not be half as much fun if we hadn’t “met” you all!

We’ve listed a lot of our favourite gardening blogs on our our Links Page! Some of our favourites include Donna from Garden Walk, Garden Talk, Alistair from Aberdeen Gardens, Alan from It’s not Work, it’s Gardening, Donna from Garden’s Eye View, Masha from A Rose is a Rose, Holley from Roses & Other Gardening Joys, Pam from Pam’s English Country Garden, Cat from A Whimsical Gardener … oh dear, there are just too many to list them all here, but they are all on our Links Page! If you have some time, treat yourself and visit their wonderful gardens! And if you have a gardening blog, go to the Blotanical website and join! You’ll be so glad you did!

We ♥ our Gardening Buddies

Happy Gardening & much love to you all