Germinating a garden blog

Like many gardeners, I take lots of photos of my plants. Ideally, I’d write down interesting observations and create an illustrated scrapbook or notebook with photo captions. I might even include my before-and-after photographs. Trouble is, once I take the “after” photo, I invariably have a hard time locating the “before” one. And though my intentions are good, the typed musings in my word processing files and the digital photos stored on my computer rarely mingle. I’ve recently discovered how a blog, or Web-based journal, can be a simple (and free) solution to this problem. Though Internet blogs are mostly viewed as public forums through which individuals reveal themselves to the online world, blogs can also be a relatively private way to organize and store information about your garden. Many blog hosting sites provide templates that are easy to use, and you can set up your account and blog in a matter of minutes. Your blog entries are automatically dated and archived, plus you can organize them using keywords. There’s no guarantee that your journal will be completely sequestered, but you can limit access by inviting only the people you wish to view it. And if you’re using it merely for arranging data, do you really care if a stranger discovers what year you planted your pink hydrangea? However, be warned. Once you start uploading your photos and writing creatively about the bluebirds feasting on your dogwood berries, your fledgling pride may tempt you to share your blog with others. By chance, I stumbled upon the blog of David Whitehead, a Greensboro gardener whose witty prose and beautiful photos inspire strangers to become friends. The 1-year-old blog began, modestly enough, as an electronic filing cabinet. But now it’s his bridge to gardeners everywhere. “We share advice, complain about the weather, recommend plants, offer moral support, and just enjoy reading about each other’s gardens,” he says. To host his site, Whitehead chose Blogger.com for its ease of use, lack of fees and ads and large amount of file space for content and photos. To investigate the variety of choices for creating your own blog, try typing a phrase such as “free blog hosting” into a search engine.

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