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Blotanical – On being a “Blotanist” and new Gardening Friends

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

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

37 replies on “Blotanical – On being a “Blotanist” and new Gardening Friends”

Our blogs are about the same age – its great to have a garden blog and I agre with you about Blotanical. It is wonderful way of peeking over the fence at other peoples gardens and hearing/seeing how they are getting on.

I love your description of “peeking over the fence”. It’s so much fun to see the progress in others’ gardens and be able to share ours.

A beautiful post, you echo so many of our sentiments. With gardening seasoning finally upon me, I have so very little time for Blotanical. But relish each moment I spend here. It is a garden of its own sort and always a delight to visit. As is your blog, Christine. So glad both you and Barbie are here!

Found the answer to my question why one can’t plant pansies in the same spot…………… from the mag the Gardener….. May issue page 35…. Do not plant pansies in the same place for more than three consecutive years because this can encourage nematodes………

Great post! Love the heart shapes you created. So clever of you.

When I think of Christine, I see a beautiful purple garden in the night. When I think of Barbie, vision of a pretty lady chasing chicken come to mind.

Btw, you are great with captions. Thank you for the laughs.

When I think of One, I think of some of the most gorgeous photos on the web – I always look forward to your posts to see what you’ve photographed next!

Hi Christine, great post about Blotanical. You described it and the interactions with other bloggers perfectly. Just like you, I also became addicited to Blotanical.

I blame Blotanical for the slow pace at which my garden has gotten into shape this spring — too many interesting gardening blogs to read now! It’s been great though, well worth “a few” more weeds in the garden I’d say. 🙂

Plus without Blotanical and your blog I never would have learned that chickens can swim.

I really enjoyed this post! I’m new to botanical and am still figuring it out, I feel a bit like the new kid in school. Your post has really inspired me to dig into (no pun intended) blotanical more!

Hi Stacey – It is quite a learning curve getting into the workings of Blotanical – took me a while to figure it all out because there is more to it than it seems at first – but just persevere. Once you’ve made a few friends on there it all clicks into place and can become quite addictive :). If you need any help, just let me know (or any one of us) – you will find that the regular blotanists are an amazingly friendly bunch, all too willing to help you.

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve met so many virtual gardening friends through Blotanical, and some are now friends in ‘real life’ too. My husband affectionately referred to them as my ‘imaginary friends’, until he met them in person 😉 So glad you found Blotanical. I really enjoy your posts, and it’s so fun to connect with gardeners, all around the globe!

hehe, ‘imaginery friends’. Its amazing you have met many in real lfe now! I’m hoping to meet Diana in October and if I travel this year it will be to New York and then I will look up my NY Blotanist friends! I may be going to Munic (Germany) too in the very near future but I haven’t “met” and Blotanists from there yet. Kansa City, Missiouri is also on the cards …

I always enjoy your posts and your blog is one of my “Faves” on Blotanical!

What a lovely post! Its great to have a community of people all interested in the same thing to share with.

What a great reason to start a blog! Glad you’re on blotanical, I’ve really enjoyed reading about both your gardens. Thanks so much for the mention! Your links page is a great idea. I, too, have been so excited to find a gardening community.

Hi Holley – I’ve learnt so much from you! Your beautiful roses inspire me every day and I am currently contemplating a new area in the garden dedicated entirely to roses … I’ll let you know how I get on as I get going with it.

What a fantastic post, my friend!!! Wow! It is so well written and you have played such an important role in connecting with all our friends at Blotanical! I have also had so much great advice and fun with all our new friends and to know that we can all be connected through loving our gardens is amazing! Thank YOU Christine and thank you ALL our Blotanical friends! Without you all coming to ‘visit’ my garden, I might have made it just a hobby. NOW, I am a total garden nut and take great pride and pleasure showing you what I CAN achieve – in my small piece of the earth.

I agree Barbie – It changed me from being a Gardening Hobbyist to Gardening Nut! And I’m having so much fun with it thanks to our gardening friends xxx

And you’ve earned virtual bouquets/trees for the gardens, after sweating thru sorting that feed. (We guru mentors see feed problems, and run screaming into the night …)

When I look at my list of BlotSprouts you are the one that is flourishing on Blotanical. The soil and the climate suit you here ;~)

I LOVE the soil & climate at Blotanical that has been created by all the Blotanists – what an amazing group you all are to have accepted us novices so warmly into your community. We are very privileged 🙂

Thank you Christine for mentioning GWGT. I have enjoyed visiting both you and Barbie and am glad you joined Blotanical. Like you, I like the one stop shopping format. So many blogs to see daily, and a place to ‘talk’ with the bloggers themselves. I too have met many new friends here. I never thought I would enjoy blogging as much as I do, but I believe that is all due to the interactions and associations that Blotanical provides. Your description is so spot on.

Hi Donna – I absolutely agree with you. Blogging would not be as much fun if we were not sharing the experience with the Blotanical community!

What a great post… and my thoughts exactly on Blotanical! There are so many wonderful gardeners, photographers, designers, and writers out there… and I love the interactions! Thanks for a little history on your great blog, and the link to mine!

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