Looking Back — 88 Comments

  1. Sunil, thanks for confirming this. I have been in touch with the theme builders and told them of my concerns. They just got back to me, they were unaware of the omission and are looking in to it.

  2. Hi Alistair, it’s to do with the theme you’re using, I think. Look to see if there are any settings for it that will let you add in the usual URL box for the comments. It might alos say something in the theme documentation about it too.

  3. Hi Sunil, dont normally do much in the way of major work these days, although we do have something planned at the moment. Glad you like the new look, if I remember correctly you are a bit of a technical wizard. Did you notice that when you were commenting ther was not the usual url box to place your website address, any idea how to sort this.

  4. Hi Alistair, I’m liking the new look of this site. It’s very “clean”, being dark means it’s easier on my eyes as I almost always read blogs at night. The pictures of your garden just blow me away, it’s just so perfectly done. Do you feel as though you have “finished” or do you still do major reworking of planting or borders? As for Blotanical, I don’t tend to visit it very often now as I already have quite a few blogs that I like to read and comment on and I just can’t adding to the list otherwise I wouldn’t get anything else done!

  5. This was a joy to read, Alistair. Like you, I love the experience of blogging and sharing my garden. Your garden photos are lovely. You keep such a beautiful and neat garden that makes me savor all that our gardens can be.

  6. I totally agree on what you said about commenting and viewing blogs. Some I love visiting and some I rarely comment as I’m out of words to describe it.
    Regardless – Gardeners all share the same thing – passion for gardening and the motivating factor is what been shared on blogs as that gives a little more joy in seeing others enjoy and appreciate gardening and beauty of plants.
    Continue your goodwork!

  7. Hello Esther, I am always pleased when I see you turn up. Your daft in the way that I like, you have to be clever to write in such an amusing manner.

  8. Alastair awesome quantity of thoughts and images too. I am bowled over by the classic front garden pictures.

  9. I really, really like the new look for your blog. It has a crisper atmosphere and your photos show up even better than they did before.

    I always look forward to your comments on my blog. For one thing, I know you don’t always agree with me. I’m pleased when you say so. It’s a complement when someone continues to read it even when they think (at times) the blogger is daft!

    Your lawn looks lovely. You have no shortage of plants and they couldn’t be displayed to such advantage without the lawn there.

    As for comments . . . and blogging . . . I have no plan or policy. I have tried, from time to time, to stop. I can’t. I like wittering – and I like reading what people say in response.

  10. Claire,
    Alistair ended up with so many blogging friends because he is so good at what he does. His superior skills as warm, friendly, communicator, garden designer/shepherd, garden photographer, and polite blog visitor resonated with Blotanical readers from the first week that he appeared online.

    There are many different kinds of gardening blogs out there; some attract readership better than others do. The personality and temperament of the blogger plays a very big role in that regard. Readers around the world recognized instantly that Alistair was talented, that the quality of his work was better than what most other garden bloggers produced, and that he has the ability to reach out and touch those who visit his blog.[The cream always rises to the top!]

    They rewarded him with their readership, traffic, and loyalty, and for as long as I chose to follow the popularity of my other garden writing colleagues, Alistair remained – and probably remains – the most read blog at Blotanical.

  11. lol, did I really say lol, well anyway after reading what you said on blotanical, I did of course google it, and guess what? yes I came up with that very blog post you attached. I have to see it through, well for a while anyway. I have so many adjustments to make which eventually will have you saying (cool) I know its not all about the look but I am pretty shallow, (no one else is allowed to say that) Surprisingly enough I came across a site that said white on dark can actually be easier on the eyes, and mine is white on dark grey. I tell you what I don’t like, remember two years ago one of our blogging friends had white on bright red, that was bad.

  12. Thanks for dropping by Claire, the option to link back to a blogger who comments on my site has disappeared into cyberspace. looking for a solution.

  13. Hi Alistair

    I am relatively new to blogging but have already drifted away from Blotanical as I find it clunky to use. I am not very patient with IT issues and also struggle a lot with the Blogger template. If someone comments on my blog then I try to comment on theirs. I think it’s polite, just like replying in a conversation. However I don’t have a big readership and so it’s much more manageable. Even so, blogging can take up masses of time.

    Your garden is absolutely stunning by the way.


  14. Over the next two months or so I have no more courses to attend in my field break so I can see I shall have to pull my finger out and get cracking with my garden journal. Hopefully by April you will see some results.

  15. Hi Paula, thanks for the visit, I was wondering how things were going at your side. Blogging can be for those with time on their hands. Still if at some time you want to start your own blog journal it isn’t exactly a necessity that you have to build up a social side to it, something to think about. Take care, Alistair

  16. Hello Alistair, I haven’t commented on your site for a while as I have been busy with the family especially over the Festive period and then of course my work which takes me away for 3 weeks at a time. I have, though, read absolutely all of your blogs and oggled at the lovely photos of flowers and plants you have been delighting us with and more especially what is happening in your garden with pleasure. I feel a little lazy now though lol 🙂 This blog has been particularly interesting as it has provided me with a little insight into the way blogging works and more interestingly how bloggers think. I hate to disappoint you, but I have as yet to start up my blog, which you encouraged me to do late last Autumn – sorry about that, but I seem to be a creature of habit concentrating 100% on the garden throughout the spring, summer and autumn and then the home during the winter once my garden is bedded down, I keep an eye on it through the winter, but not much more than that I must admit.

    Further to your comments on responding to the community’s blogs, I find it hard to imagine you being rude or discourteous in any remarks you make or feedback to other gardeners. So far I have found your comments and sometimes tongue in cheek charm very engaging and encouraging to a stumbling new gardener. Well done on another very informative and engaging post. I see from the comments above I am not the only one to approve of your blogging style and be motivated by your lovely garden to create our own little corners of paradise.

  17. Allan, thank you for such a detailed assessment, comment, opinion or whatever. I must say I was left feeling, is he getting me mixed up with someone else, but I guess not, reading your stuff about my blog just felt like winning a competition. I reckon you wont necessarily be dropping by here that often but I will look for your return at some time and will of course be catching up with you at your side from time to time.

  18. How ironic that Botanical, the facilitator that introduced us to each other, is getting tiresome. Actually, I found it cumbersome right from the start yet I stuck by it, and now return on occasion to discover new garden bloggers. I admired Stuart Robinson’s zeal at trying to make a success out of Blotanical. While he is the go-to source for new garden bloggers, I find that Google Reader is a more convenient site for keeping up to date with all the blogs I visit.

    About commenting:- I leave a comment on a blogger’s site, only when a post or photo inspires me to do so. Sometimes, it’s an image that touches me deeply and leaves me breathless, like those that you posted above. Other times, a blogger writes something that stimulated my creative process [as you have just done] allowing me to add a comment that is worth reading, or that adds to the discussion. – not a comment that is simply friendly and supportive.

    I began my blogging career by posting frequent comments of warm greetings and encouragement but soon found that the activity was becoming rote and I began to feel insincere. That made me uncomfortable. How many times can one praise and encourage a gardening colleague before losing credibility? Even when a respected blogger leaves a reciprocal comment on my blog, I fret because they have taken precious time out of their busy lives simply to be polite.

    About your blog : – I respect your concern about the image of your site but I must say, in all honesty, that the exquisite photos of your garden coupled with your warm style of communicating will draw readers, no matter how the site is configured and how infrequently you comment on other sites.

    As you may have figured out by now, from reading other bloggers, successfully photographing a garden is very challenging. Very few of your colleagues online can do it as well as you have done. I haven’t figured out of it’s because of the balmy day light on your side of the Atlantic, or the brilliant garden compositions you created, or your natural skills with a camera. Whatever the reason, the personal landscape images you post helps your blog stands out from among all of the others.

  19. I enjoyed the photo review of your garden, which has so much depth. I am always impressed with your wealth of gorgeous flowers! As for commenting, I still remember how excited I was when I received my first comment. Someone else was reading my blog! I still treasure every comment, and I always try to comment on the blogs I visit. I visit Blotanical, but not as much as I did at first, mainly because of time constraints. I do have a full time job! Blotanical has enriched my life, and I will always be grateful for my introduction to gardeners from all over the world through that web site. There are so many garden blogs out there, so many great ones I know I would enjoy, and I wish I had time to discover them all! I have received a lot of great ideas from my virtual gardening friends, and my garden is better for that.

  20. Rosie, like you I pace myself with the blogging. Posting only once every two weeks gives me a more relaxed attitude to it all. It also has been a pleasure for me dropping by your place from time to time.

  21. oops forgot to say how beautiful your garden is – mine would look so untidy compared to yours Alistair.

  22. I wish I had more time to visit via blotanical these days and I don’t get as many comments now that I’m not so active over there. Blogging would become such a chore if I felt that I needed to have so many comment numbers on show. I enjoy the pace I’m working at with blogging and I always try to be reciprocal with comments though on the odd occasion if life gets in the way I’ll be very late in making a return visit.

    Alistair it’s been a pleasure meeting you and visiting your garden every month and I’ve never ever had a problem with any of your comments – though considering we’re ‘locals’ we probably understand each other very well.

    Take care

  23. Alistair, not at all. The intent of my comment was to add to your discussion, not to receive a link back to my site. It is curious, though. I have no clue as to why. If you click on my Gravatar, the pretty blue lobelias beside my name, it does take you to a page where it will link back to my site. No worry, Alistair. You are so kind.

  24. Carolyn, thanks for the kind comments and your much appreciated views on the subject. Your link backs to your sites are not showing. Carolyn of shade gardens also told me the link back to my site is not showing when I comment. Not a clue as to how to sort this out, if anyone has suggestions please get in touch. (Feeling like I have used you Carolyn, sorry)

  25. Shucks, I wont be able to get through the door shortly. I take great pleasure in visiting your blog and hope to do so for a long time to come.

  26. Thanks for the reassurance, I have had a look and so far have not found the error. And! if you can tell me how to start showing links back to my visitors comments again, I will still not think you are a smart arse. Help!!!

  27. Thanks Linda, you seem to be on the same wavelength as myself. My comments are not showing visitors links back to their site, goodness knows what I have messed up this time.

  28. Hi Alistair,
    Found your blog through blotanical indeed and have really enjoyed reading it.
    I like your honest story about blogging/commenting. My blog is still very young. I found that the only way to get a little interaction on the site is to get involved with other garden bloggers.
    I get quite a few readers through google, but those people usually look for information and are not inclined to interact with you. Which is fine, of course, that is also one of the purposes of my site. For myself though, I really like the companionship and recognition that I have found with other bloggers, it is stimulating. In such a large community, you really have to try harder to add something. I love the photos of your garden, a lot of love and hard work has gone into it and it shows.

  29. P.S. You can insert the “I” I missed out in my comment – I won’t think you’re “a right smart arse”. 😉

  30. Wow Alistair – this post has everything! I rarely read anything twice – but I have this time! I love the use of foliage plants in your garden – there are some really beautiful combinations.

    I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments too. I am still a relative newcomer to the blogosphere (less than a year) and I have found it to be an inspiring and fascinating experience. I don’t mind one jot if people disagree with me on my blog, so long as they do so politely. You write like a perfect gentleman – I cannot imagine you causing offence.

    With regard to Blotanical, I pick posts on a regular basis because I like what I have read and the blogs with the highest numbers of picks get on one of the Blotanical top five charts, which I assume brings them more readers. My posts can’t be picked because of a long-standing glitch on Blotanical whereby certain blogs just can’t be picked. This is a shame because some of my faved blogs suffer from this problem. I have also joined Blooming Blogs – it is early days, but was impressed with the speed with which my questions about set-up etc were answered, so I hope the site really takes off.

    Like Carolyn, I prefer posts with a little more going on.

  31. Alistair your gardens are absolutely divine! I’ve been camped here for some time looking at each of your images. It is very clear that you love gardening. You have designed some beautiful features, I do love the greenhouse… it blends into the landscape so beautifully. Blotanical… don’t we all wish someone might care for it somewhat as much as you care for your gardens? Actually just a little TLC would be welcomed. But I do enjoy meeting new garden bloggers and Blotanical still seems to be the perfect place to do so. I do leave comments on blogs I visit, even if it is just a short message… I feel commenting is the polite thing to do, but it is also sweet to develop friendships. I have come to genuinely care about so many bloggers. I have an enormous number of visitors to my site with only a small fraction of them who actually comment. My stats show they linger, I do wish they would interact. As for giving picks, a bit more difficult as I often read my favorites via my reader. I often wish I had more visiting time, but I try to find balance and not allow blogging to crowd out the other important aspects of my life. On days I create new posts I usually find a chunk of time to visit and comment, and I always come away enriched and happy for the time spent with my “virtual” friends.

  32. Carolyn, I always feel pleased when you drop by. I think your attitude to blogging and comments are very similar to my own. I also am unable to get to every blog posts of those which I follow, as you say weekly or in my case fortnightly is sufficient. I am always messing about with my blog and have really screwed up the look at the moment, but what the heck have I done that prevents you from reaching me in the former manner, off to have a look.

  33. Alistair, I love seeing the photos of your garden which is so full and green. Must be the Scottish weather. Before I forget to mention it, when you comment on my blog I can no longer click on your name to get to your blog. I am not sure what you are doing differently but clicking on the commenter’s link is how I get to their blog to read and comment. With regard to your blogging part of the post, the first thing I try to do is reply to every comment on my blog. It is such an effort to go to a blog and read and comment that I think a reply is warranted. I also use everyone’s name when I can to make it more personal. Blogging is impersonal enough as it is. After that, when I have time, I go to the commenter’s blog and read their current post and leave a comment unless I really don’t like the post. It is not so much tit for tat as common courtesy and the fact that most of my commenters come from blogs I follow anyway. I do have a short favorites list on Blotanical of blogs I want to follow but I rarely get there these days because I am so busy with the nursery. It is ironic but blogging has brought me a lot of new customers which means I have less time for blogging. I wish bloggers would publish once a week or less and make their posts more substantial like yours. I know it sounds awful but I don’t have time to visit a blog three times a week to read a few paragraphs with some photos. But evidently I am in the minority on this. Carolyn

  34. Sorry Alistair I did forget to mention your garden, it looks really beautiful, much larger than ours is and flat, how I long for a flat backyard, and a wee bit larger too.

  35. I never dare growing abutilon in my garden and you have a big one in Aberdeen? Unbelievable! It is stunning, I love it. Must look around and find one…

  36. Hi Alistair, I didnt mean the anemone but the very first picture, there are a bunch with 3 white-very light blue flowers with leaves similar to those of a malva but I guess it’s not a malva!

  37. Hi Alistair – I’m certain you haven’t offended me so far, I think of you as a mentor in fact. Love the frog amongst the hostas & auriculae – how nice to look over your shoulder and see that scene while sitting on the bench.

    As Blotanical hasn’t been functioning properly since I joined, I registered with Blooming Blogs but haven’t continued with it. I came back to Blotanical – maybe out of habit.

  38. Frances, I am always pleased to see you drop by,you on the west and me on the east. I don’t just like the style in which I garden in fact I am fascinated by all styles. I certainly like whats going on in Island Threads. I just activated my new blog set up about an hour ago, not happy with the picture set up but hope to get it sorted out. Posting once each fortnight suits me down to the ground.

  39. hello Alistair, first I like the style of your present blog and you have some beautiful photos of your garden, I also want to add when you first commented on my blog and faved it on blotanical I was a bit concerned as your garden style is so tidy and my garden style so loose (sounds better than untidy 😉 ), I thought, but you don’t like my style of gardening ….. I do not know if I was right or wrong but that doesn’t matter, your comments have always been very supportive, complimentary and helpful and in turn I have/am enjoying reading and seeing your style of gardening and find the plant profiles helpful, keep it up please,

    I am glad you are posting less often as it gives me a chance to keep up, some people blog so frequently I just can’t read every post and no longer try too, I like to read a small group of blogs with people I can interconnect with and so build a relationship through our blogs travelling with them on the ups and downs of gardening and life, I am one who does not visit blotanical much these days, thank you for your picks, when I am on blotanical I do use picks and like you I have noticed a decline, I think perhaps it just got too big, I remember some of the founder members saying it was getting too big when I joined 2.5 years ago and it’s even bigger now, Frances

  40. Hi Alistair! I haven’t been blogging for as long as you but I got fed up of botanical long time ago. It has been fundamental at the beginning though as it helped me creating my list of favorite blogs that I follow and comment regularly, as you do. I seldom expand or contract my list basing on some new blog I might stumble upon. I don’t follow anymore blogs of people that doesn’t comment on mine, it’s like talking to someone who’s not interested on what you say and it’s disappointing.
    I read your blog from my iPad so I can’t mouse over a picture, could you please tell me what’s that stunning flower on the first picture from left on the collage? I love it. Did you ever write a post about that flower?
    You published some very nice pics here, with new vistas of your garden, some of witch are gorgeous (the one following the collage for instance).

  41. Helene, thanks for your detailed and very welcome views on the subject. You do know that I would not copy and paste comments, I may do it when thanking some people for picking my post on blotanical but somehow I feel that is more acceptable. It was Helen from the patient gardener that introduced me to blotanical, was I thinking of you when I was typing her name? (have to fix it)

  42. Hi Alistair
    First of all, please let me say that your garden 2012 was GORGEOUS! Lovely design, full of colour and plump healthy looking plants. I’m really glad you posted a 360 degree view. You should be very proud of all your hard work.

    Re: Blotanical. I was quite excited about the site when I joined a year ago. At first, I checked out every link and author who had “welcomed” me and those are the blogs I have pretty much stuck with ever since. They are an auto-read for me whenever they add a new post. But I rarely go back to Blotanical and must confess that I haven’t looked at it for months. Even when I joined, they seemed to be experiencing some kind of content and financial problems. I see that those have not been resolved. Too bad. It has a lot of potential.

    Re: Comments. I read a lot of blogs and comment on most. I appreciate it when folks comment on mine. Some gardeners have the most eloquent writing styles and I feel intimidated to post my poorly phrased responses. So I just read and enjoy and say nothing.
    Some bloggers have truly become Virtual Friends. I really like reading about their gardening experiences and seeing their photographs. What’s great is that it seems as if we actually know each other. I like that because I’m doubtful that I will travel to Scotland, the Hebrides, London or far away other destinations. I still get to see their gardens and to “talk” to them.
    Thanks for a great post and I plan to add Helen’s Patient Gardener and Diana’s Elephant Eye to my reading list.
    Take care.

  43. Hi Alistair, with the risk of coming across as a smart arse – are you mixing me and Helen from The Patient Gardener? I think her name is Helen, but mine is Helene ?

    As for blogging, I have totally left Blotanical, and I actually write about this in my last post too. I got so fed up about all the technical problems with Blotanical and how slow it is so I don’t use it any more. I have signed up as a member with all the blogs I regularly visit and those I can’t sign up to – yours for example, I have saved on a list on my left hand blog panel so I can easily see when the blogs are updated. I try to visit all the blogs I have signed up to, but I don’t always leave a message on all of them. I feel one should only leave a message if one have something to say, I don’t particularly like those copy and paste comments myself, those that can apply to any post and any topic, so I don’t want to leave comments like that myself. And since not all topics are things I am particularly in to I try to leave comments only when I feel I can contribute with something. Besides that, commenting takes a lot of time, at least if you are writing more than just 3-4- words!

    About using people’s name, yes I do wonder sometimes, but I keep a list of the names I know and their blogs (my memory is awful!), so I can check and sometimes I feel it is appropriate to use it, sometimes it’s not. If no one has used their name I wouldn’t know it either so then I can’t use it – and their name would be safe if that’s what they want.

    And lastly, I really appreciate people commenting on my blog, I have learned so much the 2 years I have been blogging and it has been fascinating to ‘meet’ so many nice and helpful people. Blogging has opened a new social aspect to my life that I probably should have entered much earlier. And I have actually never had any nasty or unpleasant comments, yet!

  44. Great blogging discussion among beautiful garden images! The shot of Anemone blanda reminds me that I planted some of those distressing-looking corms in the fall & I love the blue blooms so I am excited! A little lawn is nice contrast to borders and beds. I will be stripping (lifting) more grass soon though. Commenting regularly is a way to get to know people– so nice to know you Alistair!

  45. Thanks for your continued support Donna. I do share very much what you have to say. I am hoping for a Spring like last year and perhaps this time with a Summer to follow.

  46. Hi Karen, thanks for your observations on the subject. When I first joined up with blotanical one of the first questions which I asked concerned the tit for tat thing. I cant exactly remember the reply but it did put my mind at ease, it went something like this.– Although at first it may come across as tit for tat gradually the feelings will change as you get to know the bloggers which you favour. As for picking posts without commenting! well its just wrong.

  47. Holley, I think its hard to let go of blotanical simply because this is where I was introduced to all you great bloggers. What you say about trying to be a little funny when commenting I relate to 100%.

  48. It is just fascinating to look at your garden and compare with my garden here in the southern part of the US. How I envy the lush green look you have achieved and such wonderfully colorful plantings. Gardeners are the same the world over with their ever striving to create their own Paradise. And yours is indeed. Thank you for a few minutes of beauty when I look at your blog.

  49. The look back at your garden was delightful. I just love so many aspects of your garden, especially its design, and enjoyed seeing it in bloom. As for blogging, I have increasingly been getting away from Blotanical – I really want to be active there, and keep saying I’m going to get back to it, but it’s the time factor that is holding me back. It just seems slow, and time is short – especially in spring! Since Blogger changed the way their reader looks (not very different, but threw me off), I have started reading most of the blogs I “follow” through email. Although, there are times when I am busy and have to delete days of emails. I just hope that I catch them next time. I do comment on a lot of blogs (as time allows) as I do like to have comments back on my blog, hear other’s opinions, and form a relationship with other gardeners. I don’t know many gardeners except through blogging, so I also learn so much reading other blogs. I always try to be polite. Sometimes I want to be cute or funny, but then I worry that it may not have come across the way I intended!

  50. Good post on blogging, the images of your garden are lovely. Some people often pick posts without commenting, which I find a bit rude. I wouldn’t place to much value on the pick system, although it is nice when you get a few picks. I visit those that leave comments on my blog because it’s just good manners. But I never expect a return visit for a comment that I leave. I like to think that the people that leave comments actually liked my post in some way or another. The tit for tat thing can be rather tiring after a while, and put me off Blotanical. But I came back because I enjoy the interaction with other bloggers, and missed a few of my friends so to speak. I sometimes find myself wanting to delete posts because they seem dumb. But to heck with it, we can’t write wonderful posts all the time and a blog is really just a log or a journal, our journal of bits of our lives.

  51. Very interesting post. I try to leave comments on the blogs of anyone who puts a comment on my blog, but occasionally I get interrupted and forget to do it. Memo to self, must try harder.
    I also tend to comment on blogs that I read regularly. That’s why I’m here. I don’t use blotanical much. Use it mainly for searching out new blogs. I use my blog list to update me on when new posts have been added to my favourite blogs.
    But my biggest enemy is time, not enough hours in the day. In fact, I could easily spend a full day just reading a and commenting on all the blogs I like. So these days, I tend to only leave comments when I’ve got something constructive (or amusing) to say.

  52. Alistair I so enjoyed this post. I was ohhhing and ahhing on every picture. I just love your lush gardens and your plant profiles.

    I have drifted from Blotanical. I am on email all the time so I prefer to get my posts from blogs I like via email but not all have an email subscription option. But I hope to get back to Blotanical as I miss it. I find when I am there I spend hours daily reading and reading…it is an addiction.

    I do not mind if someone sets me straight over a mistake as I am always learning. I do enjoy folks comments and even if it is occasional I don’t mind. I enjoy the conversation and learn much from the comments. I like to comment to show my appreciation of the blogger’s work.

    Here’s to a lovely spring although I think mine will be at least another month away.

  53. Donna, I feel inspired in the manner in which you have responded to my blog post. Although I reach all my friends from blotanical I also have a back up list, just in case. Talking of comments which we make, almost two years ago I made a completely friendly and innocent remark on this guys blog that I regularly visited and he appeared to answer it just fine, and then ended with the phrase, (anyway who the f— asked for your opinion.) Didn’t feel at all good, especially as it was someone who is well and truly out there.

  54. Larry, I am very pleased to read what you had to say on my latest post and know exactly where you are coming from regarding finding time for commenting.

    This is the reason that I moved to fortnightly posts, much more relaxing. As by now you will know that I visited your blog and can only hope that the little of which I had to say encourages you to continue with the good work, we would all miss you far too much.

  55. Angie, memes and stuff take a while to get your head around. It is understandable that those who work full time would find difficulty in getting around to commenting. I must admit that I am not active on the blotanical forum.

  56. Janet, I suspect that I share a lot in your approach to gardening and blogging. Thank you for such a detailed comment, I only post once every two weeks but yes you do know the plant which we talk of.

  57. Hi Alistair, I think I can guess what plant you are going to profile next week 😉

    I always enjoy the posts people do about their blogging experience, it is all so deeply personal, the whole commenting or not, what to say, tit-for-tat etc. I always used to have a personal rule which was that if I visited a blog post I left a comment. I am slightly more relaxed about it now, though there are still lots of people who I do still always comment, the biggest problem I find is when someone posts a lot, I can’t keep up and begin to feel a little overwhelmed!

    I don’t carry on commenting on blogs where I never get a response, let alone a comment back on my blog, not because I think it is rude, though I used to, but because it is the interactions with people that I find so enriching about blogging. If there is no interaction, I tend to back off and concentrate on other blogs instead.

    Interesting the thing about critical vs. always nice comments. I suspect I tend to the often vacuous “oh how lovely”, unless I feel I “know” the blogger well enough to feel comfortable saying something a little more challenging. But I personally always value constructive criticism and comment. And probably feel I don’t get enough of it!! The biggets change I have made to my blogging recently is to not get too worried if I am late commenting, or even finding I have to skip lots of posts because I get too ill or busy to keep up.

  58. Very useful post for beginners like me Alistair – I’m slowly getting used to using Blotanical. Thanks for answering my message 🙂
    Your comments have reflected some of the thoughts I have been having recently.
    It seems the forum on Blotanical is not active, which is a shame 🙁
    I have enjoyed visiting lots of blogs and do comment and I think I’m beginning to get the hang of blog etiquete!
    I just love your use of topiary around the garden they really add to the over all look.
    As I don’t know what a meme is (I have seen it written) I’m off to investigate – got a bit of time on my hands today. As I do work full-time, it’s not often I get a chance to sit down and learn so your post came at the right time!

  59. Hi Alistair… first off, I must say that your back gardens seem to be absolute perfection… the shape and sense of layering is amazing. I’d hate to see that piece of lawn go as it sets off the entire scheme beautifully! Regarding your comments in reference to Botanical… I must admit that I’ve only visited there a few times in the past year… I like to use it as a search mechanism for individual plants but seldom do much commenting. I used to comment in general a lot but am so busy with other projects these days that I really don’t do nearly as much as I did and of course, if one doesn’t comment often, one doesn’t get comments back. My post right now references the thoughts I’ve had about not blogging any longer… I do occasionally get extremely nice e-mails saying that folks enjoy my photos so I will continue. I also enjoy comments that really tend towards a discussion of “garden philosophy” as it were… why we design things as we do, how a plant works in a composition etc. how gardening fits into the scheme of one’s life, etc. Unfortunately, it seems to be difficult to get this sort of banter going. On top of that, blogging, while extremely enjoyable does take a lot of time and I have so many other things going on in my life… large projects that eat up my days as if the hours were half as long as they actually are… so Alistair… you really got me to thinking and it’s interesting that this post comes at a time when I’ve considered retiring from the blogging world. According to the counter on my blog, most of my posts reach a 1000 hits… I suspect that the reason I don’t get more feedback is indeed that I don’t give enough… I guess we all make choices and there really aren’t enough hours for everything that we should do. Do take care and here’s to a more pleasant summer weather-wise… both here and in Scotland! Larry

  60. Very good post and review of both the year and blogging. My focus changed dramatically in the last year. I am one who does visit those that comment because I think it is the most considerate thing to do since they took time to visit. I even visit the ones that do not read the post and only show up for reciprocation, although that really is not a nice thing. You can tell those easily too. Blotanical is nothing but a place for those with too much time I think. Who cares if one has the most faves or picks. Many don’t pick a post because it is educational, well done or entertaining, many pick for reciprocation. I visit there about once a month just to appreciate those picking my posts. Some give a pick of one just to keep a post off the list. I know them too. They never even see the post either. I will stick with my over 1000 subscribers who actually care and read my posts. I too have my favorite blogs and it is often the ones visiting mine repeatedly. They are the ones with the same perspective and interests as mine. I also know what you mean about comments left. Sometimes you just shake your head wondering how they meant what they said. One garden blogger left a comment about an image of a spider I did, saying it was disgusting (and worse remarks) and why would I publish such an image. Since so many photograph spiders and other creepy crawlies, I was offended by her scathing remarks. Needless to say, she is not a blog I visit anymore. I try to be helpful in my posts and have many readers that follow for that reason alone. I have a post I did two months ago but did not yet publish on blogging. It lists all the reasons I think people visit blogs. I did it because some of my readers are assessing their blogs for lack of readership. It asks others to be helpful and add to the discussion. After my St. Lucia posts, I will make it live. I may link to your post too since you made some very good points.

  61. Well, I seldom publish comments which have gone in the spam. However at least you are garden related and not offering me any enhancements which are not really required at my time of life.

  62. Diana, the the white daisy is Celmisia and my first thought was, is that not a plant from South Africa, but no, looking up my own list I find it is Australian, oh the memory. Pleased my collage set up worked out ok and although it looks fine on my pc set up, in three rows, on other computers it may be all higgledy piggledy. WordPress more or less does the mouseover thing on its own.

  63. Hi Deborah, thanks for dropping by. I have to confess, if I were still in full time work I would have had no time for commenting on blogs.

  64. I found this a very interesting post in a numbber of ways. It is always fun to look back and compare the weather/garden to previous years. Spring was quite far ahead in Canada as well, I missed my snowdrops, sooo disappointed.
    I have found commenting very frustrating while living in Barbados, internet fading in and out constantly. I will type a very long comment (like this one), only to try and publish it, and lose my connection. And I have not been on Blotanical for ages, used to love it when I first joined 3 years ago, but now find it very slow. I have put my favourite blogs in a reader, which makes for speedy reading, but does not lend itself to commenting. I think with the increasing number of very good blogs, people do not have the time they used to for commenting.

  65. I am enchanted with your circular lawn framing the white daisy with a rosette of grey leaves!

    Using Blotanical – I only pick people who are active there, otherwise I feel I am wasting my time – they neither know nor care. My new blog is on Blotanical but has slipped between the cracks – not on the new blog list, and my About text has vanished. I can only trace favers of the new blog via the email notifications which I file away. GRRRumble.

    Comments – where we read each other’s blogs, we each leave an occasional comment – and that’s enough to keep in touch. Any new name, or passing visitor, that comments earns a visit and a comment.

    Your ‘collage’ satisfied my desire to display the 12 flowers as a virtual bouquet. And I haven’t fathomed the techie mouseover text yet. I wimp out with captions.

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