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.