7 Years of Blogging!

Iris unguicularis 'Water Butt'
Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’

Well who would have thought it! I had a message from WordPress this morning congratulating me on 7 years of blogging! If you had asked me the other day how long I had been blogging for my standard answer would have been 5 years but then I never have a very good perception of time.

I remember distinctly starting out on this journey.  It was a cold January and I was bored and frustrated because I wanted to get outside.  I also felt a need to connect with others who shared my interest and I was struggling to find something locally.  I’m sure it was the weekend and I remember reading a gardening magazine which had an article in it about the new phenomena of garden blogs.  Being a real fan of the internet I was intrigued and when I saw the ‘starting a blog tutorial’ on My Tiny Plot I decided to have a go (sadly the tutorial no longer seems to be there).  I remember throwing various names for the blog around in my head for 24 hours, wondering whether I should really have a go, after all what did I know about gardening being a mere novice but My Tiny Plot’s blog was all about learning and sharing successes and failures so why not.

I had to ask my eldest to help me set up the blog – it was really a hand holding exercise but in less than 24 hours I was off.  After about a month of seeking out other gardening blogs and being frustrated because all I seemed to be able to find were UK veg growers and not ornamental gardening blogs I discovered Blotanical which back then was a rapidly growing network of gardening bloggers from across the world.  I relished reading Pam’s Digging blog – all exotic and exciting plants in her Texan garden and Dee’s blog showcasing her beautiful American cottage style garden.  There was so much choice and diversity, plants I have never heard of or seen.  I started to attract readers to my blog, the blog stats rocketed and I haven’t looked back since.

Sadly Blotanical seems to have closed down; a victim of its own success I suppose but those friendships made 7 years ago continue.  Since then I have found UK ornamental gardeners who share my passion for plants, I have met many bloggers including some of my US friends, I have had opportunities that I would never have had before such as helping build a Chelsea show garden, being on the radio etc but most of all I feel I have found my voice and confidence.

Blogging is now part of my life.  Sometimes I think I’ll take a break because I haven’t got anything to say but after a day or two I find myself missing the act of writing even if it’s waffle.  I have found it a great comforter over the last five years helping me work through my grief at losing my sister, Dad and a close work colleague.  At these times there are always readers who offer comfort and support and you find yourself lifted out of the dark despair to feeling more positive and finding a way forward.  I have been inspired with all sorts of ideas over the years and in some ways blogging and reading blogs has given me permission to do what I wish with my garden far more than any television programme or magazine could.

So thank you WordPress and my readers for all your support over the last 7 years….I wonder if I will still be blogging in another 7


31 Comments Add yours

  1. Congratulations, Helen! And a lovely blog, inspiring us newer bloggers along! Very inspiring and great to hear your story.

  2. Well done Helen! Time certainly does seem to whizz by. I set a WordPress blog page up ages ago ,but haven’t got a clue how to go about using it!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sue
      Its not hard – also WordPress do tutorials and have Blogging 101 which is meant to encourage you. Just take the plunge.

    2. Cathy says:

      Helen is right – the WordPress tutorials and help sections are indeed helpful. And a simple book like Teach yourself WordPress in 10 minutes for quick reference

  3. Brian Skeys says:

    Congratulations Helen, they say time flies when you are having fun.
    Thank you for your guidance and encouragement when I decided to start a garden blog.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Brian
      You are very welcome, I see you are finding your way around well.

  4. rusty duck says:

    Many, many congratulations Helen. I’ve so enjoyed reading your blog over the last year or so, being constantly inspired by the way you manage your sloping garden and the more unusual plants that you choose to grow. The EOMV has been such a useful meme to participate in, it has certainly kept me on my toes. I’m glad your enthusiasm for blogging remains strong and look forward to the next seven years!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi RD – Likewise I appreciate your slopey stories, its nice to share our slopiness

  5. From a U.S.reader, congratulations. Hope you keep on blogging for a long, long time.

  6. Pauline says:

    Congratulations Helen, 7 years is a great achievement, I hope you will continue for another seven!

  7. Christina says:

    Congratulations! I also hope you will be blogging for another 7+ years since this is only my 2 months in! I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far and always eager to see your photos 🙂

  8. Anna says:

    Many, many congratulations Helen as your blog reaches such an auspicious landmark. Yours was amongst the first blogs I visited and I have been entertained, informed and inspired here ever since. Long may ‘ The Patient Gardener’s Weblog’ continue to flourish and bloom!
    PS WordPress has some really nice personal touches. I’ve noticed them through our allotment society’s website which I maintain. I’m still debating whether to go over to WordPress with my with my own blog.

  9. AnnetteM says:

    Congratulations! 7 years is a real achievement. I have enjoyed reading the End of Month Views and have even managed to join in a few times. I do hope you continue another 7 years.

  10. Congrats! Time does fly, in the blogosphere. I wonder the same thing sometimes, how long will I keep this up? (I hit the 6 year mark in March)

  11. hoehoegrow says:

    Many congratulations Helen, 7 years is such a long time ! Yours was one of the first blogs I visited and it really inspired me when I was just starting my first gardening blog. Here’s to many more years!

  12. Blimey. Seven years! And I thought I was an old-timer approaching my fourth anniversary. I often wonder about the longevity of blogging and how long I shall continue to write. I even drafted (& still have) a post announcing my retirement but I’m not quite ready. Yet. Congratulations, Helen. Yours was one of the very first blogs I read when I first thought of starting – it was a real inspiration and helped me make the decision to start. Dave

  13. Alison says:

    Congrats, Helen! I’ve lost track of how many years I’ve been blogging too. I started for many of the same reasons as you, in order to learn and make connections with others who had the same interests. It’s been so very satisfying.

  14. Cathy says:

    Congratulations and many thanks – your blog is always inspiring! And seven is a very auspicious number isn’t it – marking the start of new beginnings, endings etc… Happy ‘blogaversary!

  15. I hope you are blogging for another seven years! My story is quite similar, I also started in January (but just four years ago), my kids got me set up, etc. I’ve enjoyed your blog as you write well, are very straightforward, and have a sense of humor. I’ve also enjoyed watching your garden develop through the seasons.

  16. Congratulations. I’m sure you’ll keep at it for as long as you still have something you wish to say!

  17. Cathy says:

    Congratulations Helen – what a journey it has been and how your life has changed over that time on all sorts of levels. I have mentioned before that Patient Gardener was the very first gardening blog I encountered, albeit accidentally when searching for a plant name, but it was from that first visit that my blog really got going as I took the plunge and made my blog more accessible by categorising posts and interacting with other blogs. I certainly won’t forget how I felt when I clicked ‘publish’ after my first EOMV post – a very scarey moment! So thank you for being there all this time and facilitating the blogging journeys of so many others 🙂

  18. It is more than writing, you reached out and touched us all…Congratulations on your achievement.

  19. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Thanks for giving me a ‘look’ at your English garden on the other side of the World and opposite seasons!

  20. Diana Studer says:

    Congratulations on your 7th Blogaversary!

    (Sadly Stuart has had to mothball Blotanical, even the new second version)

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diana
      It is indeed sad that Blotanical has been mothballed – I think it was a victim of its own success, wonderful while it lasted though

    2. Diana Studer says:

      I see so many bloggers, who ‘haven’t been to Blotanical in ages’ (years it must be)
      and they are surprised it has gone.
      Stuart wrote long ago that blogging was dying, and perhaps in a way he is right. Lots of those bloggers I once knew on Blotanical have faded away for life happens reasons, or new interests – no longer gardening or blogging.
      I feel sorry for the NEW bloggers who don’t have the support I did when I started blogging – knowing that Blotanists would be reading, commenting and encouraging me.
      How to find those new bloggers now??

  21. louisaellins says:

    Congratulations Helen! I stumbled across your blog when I started mine in summer 2013 and have enjoyed reading it ever since. I particularly love your beautiful photos for a cheerful burst of colour throughout the winter months!

  22. Wowzer! Congratulations, I’m glad you found blogging, and thank you for being one of the first to encourage me when I first started out too.

  23. A bit belated, but I want to say congrats on this big anniversary….7 yrs is incredible and I too have come to think of blogging as my life. I miss it when I am away from it only for a few days.

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