Thursday, October 4, 2012

First Blogiversary today!

Today I celebrate the first anniversary of this blog.  One year of blogging.  What else is there to say? Quite a bit actually.   I've learned so much and had such a good time with my 147 published posts.  In honor of the occasion I'm sharing a few observations.


It's been just two years since I made my first comment on a blog, so how did I end up blogging?

I discovered garden blogging while searching for inspiration for my own gardens here in San Antonio.  The first blog I followed was Pam Penick's Digging.  Inspired by her beautiful photos of colorful perennials combined with hardy agave and yucca in her Austin garden, I set out to create similar gardens here in San Antonio.  Reading and commenting was not enough long term, I needed to join the conversation.  Last year, just in time for "Support Your Independent Nursery" month in October, I jumped in and started this blog.

"It's all about me."

And you thought it was about sharing gardens in the blogosphere?  After retiring and moving home to Texas, we initially spent much of our time fixing up the house.  Other than some initial basic clean-up, the yard was not getting into shape as quickly as we expected.  Blogging has helped me focus on finishing gardening projects around here.  Creating deadlines to post progress photos or a completed project helped get my yard in shape faster.  Researching for posts has increased my knowledge of plants and gardening.  In short, it elevated my game. 

I'm glad you read my blog.

When I started this blog I told my husband I wanted to write whether there were readers or not.  Of course, that isn't true.  But that has not been a problem, since you kind folks do read my blog and I do so enjoy the back and forth.  Most of all, thanks to all of you for letting me know you're out there.

I'm fascinated by how readers find my blog.

What inspires you inspires me.   Here are some of your favorites:

My most popular post is Ragna's beautiful Texas cottage garden which will be filmed next week for a Central Texas Gardener segment as a result of this blog post. The most opened photo from that post is this romantic vignette which appeared on pinterest before I could pin it myself.



The most viewed post from my own garden is "Funny Face", the story of my search for the right look for my face planter and posted as a "Foliage Follow-up" on Digging.  Most of the traffic is from this photo on google images.




The most popular search term for finding my blog is "Mexican Flame Vine" which brings up this photo from my post.




The Antique Rose Emporium posts still get plenty of pageviews, without The Antique Rose Emporium I would have seven fewer posts.  I miss them.




Readers seem to be finding my blog helpful.

Someone in the UK was apparently considering "building garage on slope" which brought them to my post on my garage building process which they continued to open several times a day for a week or so.  Whatever they decided I hope their project turns out well.  Before we built our garage we couldn't find anything on line describing the process from the homeowner's point of view.  Various search terms like "large one-car garage" continue to bring in readers to the post.

Driveway strips like mine challenge you too.

Various versions of  "driveway planting" opens my posts on our driveway project.  David at The Desert Edge provided much of the inspiration for this project.  His posts on commercial landscapes in parking lots and narrow building sites inspired me to approach this garden challenge the same way I was trained to design commercial building interiors.  After that, the plan to get rid of the weedy grass on a gravelly slope and have a real garden along the driveway came together quickly. 

Here's how the driveway looks this week.  It turned out very similar to Pam's yard at Digging where she has new photos posted.



"Zeroscape" is another search term which brings readers to my blog. If they read the post "Zeroscape", I expect they see that I was using it in jest, but they learn the term is actually "xeriscape" which should be helpful in their future searches for information on the subject. Another view of most of my xeriscaped front yard this week.





There is a lot of interest in shed building and recently the very specific search "slope roof shed with window" brought up my Texas shed post.  Various combinations of "shed porch" and "Texas Shed"  are also popular ways to find the post.




You just never know what will be interesting.

Someone in Bosnia apparently found this photo fascinating and opened it several times while searching the term "orange rock".  The post is about planting an 'Orange Frost' citrus tree and the rocks we dug out during planting, so I found this amusing.



Ugly is attractive

"Stegosaurus Bug" is just one of my posts on "ugly bugs" and other odd creatures in the garden which gets opened regularly.

"How to" works 

Some bloggers advise against writing "how to" posts, but those posts work for my blog.  Search terms like "propagating cactus" and "planting bluebonnet seeds" bring readers to my site on a regular basis.



After a slow summer, interest has picked up for "Chihuly Nights Dallas" which will be closing soon.  This would be my favorite post if I had to pick.  It was a beautiful evening.



How do I measure the success of my blog?

There are many measures of success so I'll just share my favorite story from this past year.

A few months ago I shared this blog with my 20-something niece and recent graduate of a top journalism school where she learned more than a few things about writing and electronic media.  The first time she saw it she was impressed with the blog and declared it a success, all the while grilling me about understanding the stats and my ideas on networking to build an audience.

It was awesome.

I could retire on that.


But I'm already retired and I enjoy writing this blog so I plan to keep on writing.  Thanks so much!

34 comments:

  1. And why not! I love coming to see what is going on! If you think about it, I am sitting on East Coast, SA, reading your blog. Small world, these days. Congrats!

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    1. Thank you LT! It is a small world I love looking at your ocean view and the photos from South Africa you post too.

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  2. Congrats, Shirley, you have made amazing progress in a year. Your blog is entertaining and extremely useful to one, like me, who has only recently decided to get serious about gardening after many years of just dabbling. I hope you keep the posts coming often and for a long time!

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    1. Thank you so much Randy, you have nailed just what I wanted to accomplish when I set out to write this blog.

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  3. One year! I was thinking I'd 'known' you longer than that. You've done such a good job, on your blog.

    I certainly have enjoyed all your posts. I've learned a lot from you, too.
    Blogging is fun and informative.

    Keep up the good work. Happy Blogiversary!!

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  4. Great post with lots of interesting stories, but I especially enjoyed the conversation with your niece. I'm glad you started, and have stuck with, your blog. And you know you made my day when you said that I'd helped you to better appreciate your native Opuntia, thank you!

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    1. Thank you DG! It's true, the PITA (literally) of my childhood is now much more interesting to me after learning just how interesting they are up in the PNW and elsewhere.

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  5. Congrats! Your blog is a wonderful resource for gardeners in South Texas.

    I always enjoy reading your posts. It has been a pleasure following along. Looking forward to reading many more fantastic posts.

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  6. Congratulations Shirley! It is a very special day - cheers to you!!!!! I love having a fellow San Antonio blogger's posts to refer to - you keep me inspired, and it is funny but almost every time I go to a nursery I think "Hmmmm I wonder if today will be the day I run into Shirley!" or...."Shirley would love this sale - gotta tell her!" I very much look forward to your posts and can't wait to see what year two has in store. :)

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    1. Thank you Heather, that just might happen someday!

      I still have a lot to say.

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  7. Congrats!!! Pretty exciting and also amazing how quickly it flies. To many more years of blogging:) Cheers!

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    1. Thank you Chris, I'm enjoying it immensely.

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  8. What a nice trip, and I enjoy your blog as much as any! Great stuff, not to mention your garden shots (especially those front drive views) are so nice. Is there anything so fall-like than those skies and Salvia greggii blooming like that?

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    1. The salvia greggii is fall to us, when we lived in New England and the Mid-Atlantic we had a proper fall with the leaves. It was quite depressing because I knew what was coming though.

      Thanks DD.

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  9. Happy blogiversary! Interesting where this blogging thing leads. Here's to many happy returns of the day!

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    1. Thanks so much. Blogging does lead me to get out there and bring you sights from this special city.

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  10. Happy blogiversary, Shirley. Here's to many more years of blogging and sharing San Antonio gardens!

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    1. Thanks Pam, there are plenty of gardens out there!

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  11. Happy blogiversary to you! It's been a pleasure to follow along. Looking forward to meeting you in November.

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    1. Thank you Cat, your blog is always inspiring. I also look forward to meeting the Austin bloggers in November.

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  12. And thanks so much for the nice mentions of Digging too! I'm so glad you joined the blogging conversation. You're inspiring me right back!

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    1. Of course Pam, I have to admit to being a bit surprised when I saw your recent photos as I hadn't expected to copy quite so much. It's what happens when you use the same plant lists though.

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  13. Congratulations. I always look forward to reading your blogs - they're always well written and beautifully presented. You are one of my windows on the world: a visit to your garden is always a great joy and one of your garden tours an adventure. So please keep writing I'd miss your occasional doses of Texas sunshine.

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    1. Oh my, I consider that high praise from one who writes so beautifully. We definitely have a good bit more sunshine here. Your amazing croft is also one of my windows on the world.

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    2. You should also know my husband brought home a good bottle of single malt and we celebrated with a "wee dram".

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  14. Congrats on your 1-year blogiversary! Mine was in August. Funny how one year went by so fast! Gorgeous Chihuly photo!!

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    1. One year is so fast when you make it fun! The infamous north Texas wind was quite still that night making the water like a mirror. It was as magic as the post shows.

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  15. Congratulations on your one year blogiversary! I actually did not realize it had only been one year. It is amazing how much your garden has changed and matured in that year. That photo from the Arboretum is one of my favorites.

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    1. Thank you Michael, I hope you had a chance to see the exhibit.

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  16. Hey Shirley,
    Congrats on a wonderful year of blogging. You do a fantastic job representing your gardening area. The whole world has a unique window into San Antonio gardening because of your influence! I've enjoyed reading your blog and learning about your wonderful plants and garden along the way.
    P.S. I love the 'zeroscape' pun and post. LOL

    Happy next year of blogging! David/Houston, Texas :0)

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    1. Wow, thank you David. That's such a compliment because to share more of San Antonio and gardening here was my goal.

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  17. Congratulations Shirley on your first blogiversary. I've really enjoyed visiting your blog over the past year, and currently I'm having a great time visiting all the nurseries you are featuring this month (virtually of course - they are not exactly local to me)
    Here's to the next blogging year.

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