And what a question it is. In fact, it’s a question that has been weighing on my mind very much lately.
Since beginning this garden blog, gardening has become an oxymoron of sorts – an entirely new pastime. What was once a simple task – something that I could take care of with little thought – has now become, well, post material. Everything is fair game. Weeding is no longer an act of pulling and discarding. It’s now an opportunity to write, to inform, to be witty. It’s a photo op – and how many of you have tried to garden with one hand while holding a camera in the other?
And so my dilemma. Do blogging and the need for content take away from gardening or does gardening interfere with blogging time? Does one need to suffer for the good of the other, or can both activities find a balanced and peaceful coexistence?
I’m never quite sure what to think. I guess it all depends on the day. There are days when I’m in the garden and I think that I’d rather be writing. Then there are those moments when I can’t possibly think of a post and the garden presents a fine, inspirational escape.
I think what keeps me going is the saying coined by my friend Alisa. “Gardening,” she says, “is like a natural surprise party.” And I find myself getting a little thrill from all of the surprises that seem to pop up, like this begonia, which reseeded itself and managed to survive winter. I know our winter was quite mild this year, but I do think this was a monumental task nonetheless for this little seed – and what a magical surprise for me.
I’m also learning that the same thing can be said about garden blogging. Surprises can come from the most unlikely of places.
A few months ago, my friend Cathey announced that she was writing a freelance article about using antiques in the garden for Old House Journal. I was thrilled for her. She then asked if she could borrow my potting shed and my hands for a photo demonstrating how to plant in an antique urn.
When she arrived, she brought terracotta shards, the antique urn, potting soil, and plants. I supplied the hands. In a few short moments, she taught me the art of staging as she placed potted plants around the urn, spilled out some dirt, and handed me the shards with instructions on how to hold the pieces. I stood still, even afraid to breathe. Then we laughed and shared a potting shed moment.
I’m happy to say that the issue is out, and her article can be read at Old House Online. I can honestly say that those hands are mine. All mine.
Soon after the print issue appeared, I received an email from Marshal Zeringue, the man behind an amazingly original and fun blog called Coffee with a Canine, a site that features bloggers of all kinds who are invited to go on a coffee date with their dogs. What Marshall couldn’t have known is that his request came at an interesting time for me and my dog, Murphy.
Joe and I had recently learned that out 8-year-old Tibetan Terrier had torn ACLs in each of her hind legs, as well as lymphoma. There was no way I could say no to Marshal’s request. All I had to do was go on a coffee date with Murphy and answer a few questions.
Joe and I laughed our way through the assignment as we took photos of Murphy, putting together all of the staging techniques that Cathey had taught me. Then, it was time to answer the questions – which allowed me to be creative and to laugh with stories of Murphy.
I cannot thank Marshall enough for this honor and for the chance to permanently plant my date with Murphy in cyberspace. If you would like to read the interview, please visit Coffee with a Canine.
To garden or to blog, that is the question. And my answer to both is “yes.”
38 thoughts on “To Garden Or To Blog, That Is The Question”
I agree – it can be a tough dilemna. My blog is on ‘life’ – e.g. parenting, cooking, gardening – which means that everything is a photo op and ‘content’. I like your comment about doing things one-handed – it is challenging for baking too! I do find though that blogging can sometimes help me to do some of the tasks that I don’t want to do (e.g. cleaning, weeding, organizing etc) because I think ‘oh, that would make a good post!’
Hi Sara. I know from visiting your blog that you have a very full life. It’s kind of like juggling. You’re catching and tossing a whole bunch of balls — and then you throw in the blog ball, just to see if you can do it. And you do it quite well! 🙂
Aw – thanks so much, a very sweet comment!
You’re very welcome.
I love this! I can certainly identify with it, too. I wonder if studies will eventually show that the act of blogging has changed the way we live, or think about life. Thanks!
I’m sure we can put together a conference just on this topic. The commitment to maintaining a blog has me considering so many things. Kind of makes you wonder. . .
Congrats on your first photo shoot as a hand model. There’s a George Costanza joke in there somewhere. Thanks for all the pics you post with your blog. I love antiques in the garden, so thanks for the link!
Hi Lori. Using antiques in the garden is a great way to breathe new life into them. Happy Festivus. 🙂
Well you make plants and people happy when you do them both! And you seem to do well at both…so I vote you keep blogging and gardening (and occasionally toot your bagpipes at parades).
Char, many thanks for your kind words. I think one of the best aspects of blogging is the sense of community that develops, which is something that seems to be disappearing in the towns in which live. Hmmmm. That sounds like it could be a post. 🙂
How I admire your stamina and your “yesness”!
Thank you — but I think when we all take this plunge, or when we insist that a particular plant will grow for us, we all possess that “yesness.” 🙂
Blog. Just because I dislike gardening…I think I am in the wrong area. lol
🙂 Although, blogging certainly can add a whole new dimension to whatever it is that you do enjoy doing and then blog about. Nevertheless, glad you stopped by — and who knows, maybe the gardeners can bring you over to the green side. 🙂
I certainly have similar questions, Kevin. I have walked away from something I’m enjoying to grab a camera on far too many occasions. And I began this blog writing about things that interested me–usually from books I was actually reading, not just collecting! I still collect, and I read a lot more blogs than books. That’s a big shift. But somehow I enjoy it all and as long as I don’t make my blogging a competitive sport I seem to find a nice balance. I really enjoy what you share, so I’m glad you find a way to do both! Debra
Debra, it’s our whole new world. And I am very much glad that we were able to “meet.” It’s the sense of community in blogging that still fascinates me.
You have hit the nail right on the head Kevin – blogging has brought a new dimension into gardening – sometimes I can’t wait to write a post about something I want to share with other gardeners – knowing they will understand my excitement. Finding a balance is difficult though.
Hi Elaine. If I hit the nail on the head, you smashed it! There is an excitement in knowing that there are people out there who will get it. 🙂
Enjoyed your post immensely! I also have lived your dilemma, and like you, manage to fit in time for lots of both gardening AND blogging.
I have found that setting up my camera and tripod and leaving it either in the shade near where I am working in the gardens or just inside the door enables me to quickly grab it for a shot if something interesting catches my eye. And there are many days that I go out specifically to get photos for a blog post and find myself…. weeding!
I think that you do manage to find a tenuous balance over time. The key to it all, in my experience, is letting yourself be flexible enough to do what works best in the moment (something that is not always easy for me). If I’m supposed to be weeding and I get a great idea for a blog, I’ve learned to take a break and go in and start a draft and jot a few notes. Otherwise, I forget all of the wonderful ideas that rambled through my brain. And if I’ve set aside time to write and just can’t get into at that particular time, well, it’s not like I’m going to get fired if I don’t do it that day! I go out and pull a few weeds until inspirations hits me once again.
As a gardener (hobby only), blogging has opened amazing doors – I’ve met fabulous people, read fabulous blogs, and learned so much. Five years ago, I could never have imagined blogging about my garden. Now, I can’t imagine not blogging about my garden, or reading other gardening blogs. My, how times have changed!
Enjoy your blog, by the way!
Cathy, very nice to meet you and thanks for commenting. I certainly appreciate and understand your wisdom when it comes to balance — and I will now remember to keep a noteback handy for when I’m outside and the inspiration comes. It will certainly help to free up some space so I can concentrate on other things, like not stepping on the prong end of the rake that’s on the ground. That hurts! And yes, times have changed. 🙂
Hi Kevin! I read all the ‘interview’ about Murphy with a smile. Very nice. My dog has recently been cured for breast cancer, so I get what you meant. As for blogging it is something that bothers me too: I don’t feel like gardening with my camera in one hand, so I often post just the results and then I write about the process.
Did that friend of yours gave your hands back to you after she borrowed? Because this is seriously bothering me more than the gardening and blogging thing…
Hi Alberto. Yes, my hands have been returned to me — so I can once again type posts. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my date with Murphy. Hope your dog is doing well.
Yes, she is! Thank you. She has a shaved breast like Murphy, and a permanent scar that makes her feel ‘experienced’.
That’s great news!
First ‘The Hand’, then the ‘Real You’! AT last I can put a face to the ‘Nitty’ one’. Well done on your doggy posting & your photo-shoot too. When you come for cucumber salad, please sign my celebrity autograph book
🙂 Not only will I sign your books with my hands, but I would gladly help you weed. Enjoy the day and the cucumber. 🙂
Wow – a hand model! How talented you are! But be careful – gardening is not kind to hands. You may have to find another hobby if you plan to pursue your modeling career! 🙂
I think I’ll leave the hand modeling to the principals. I’d rather bury mine in good ol’ fashioned soil. 🙂
You never know where the blogosphere will take you. Now you have famous, if anonymous, hands! Blogging and gardening are intertwined and both take time and energy. The rewards are worth it. Blogging has made me a better gardener! And without the garden I would not be a blogger. I never have enough time for either, as my full time job does interfere, but I do what I can and don’t worry about it.
And you do it beautifully!
Love that Coffee With a Canine site. Great pic of you and Murphy…she’s so cute.
It was really a lot of fun — and the Coffee with a Canine site is equally as fun.
Your hands are very special, Kevin. They embrace the pen and the soil and bring wonderful things into bloom. I appreciate your giving me the privilege of sharing them with the readers of Old-House Journal.
I, as well as my hands, thank you for the opportunity — and, more importantly, for your friendship. 🙂
I’ve found that blogging about my garden has kept me in check. I’m much more fastidious about projects since they might end up online. That’s been good for my garden, me, and my blog. I feel that we just need to post what we’re passionate about and truly want to share. That keeps the tone of blog more sincere. As you’ve no doubt noticed, I’ve been posting less frequently lately. Wait till you hear why…
Whatever you’re doing, it’s working for your blog, your garden, and you. I’m now curious about what’s going on in your life . . .
This is a great article, stuff that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. But it’s spring! Plants won’t stop growing! We have to keep moving forward! Since I’ve been so busy at work (the nursery) and gardening, blogging has slowed way down. I think about it, just don’t get to it! You have great gardening hands, by the way!
I know the feeling. I’m trying to keep up with two posts a week, but it’s the end of the school year and I’m starting to slip. Yikes!