Spring Cleaning — Better Late Than Never



“My name is Allison MacKenzie.  Where I was born, time was told not by the clock or the calendar, but by the seasons.  Summer was carefree contentment.  Autumn was that bittersweet time of regret for moments that had ended and things that were yet undone.  And then winter fell, with a cold mantle of caution and chill, it nipped our noses and our arrogance and made us move closer to the warm stoves of memory and desire.  Spring was promise.  But there was a fifth season, of love.  And only the wise or the lucky ones new where to find it.”

This is the opening monologue from the film Peyton Place.  It’s here because a few weeks ago a reader, Camille, commented on an earlier post entitled Autumn In Peyton Place.  She had been searching for the verse and could I help her.  I popped in the DVD and took some dictation.

But after I read over the words, it occurred to me that if only seasons could be so easy and uncomplicated that their description could fit into a single — albeit melodramatic — paragraph.  If only . . .

Because lately, it seems, seasons are not so neat and tidy.  This spring, for example, has been one of the coolest — make that coldest — and dampest ones that I can remember.  Even this Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, had snow falling in upstate New York.

With the seasons behaving badly, I’m all out of step.  The garden is far from ready.  The blog to-do list is cluttered.  And there are garden photos that have never been uploaded out of the camera.  Well, that’s all about to change in a post dedicated to late-in-spring cleaning.



Firstly, I have to give a big thank you to ‘Loba of Greens and Sunshine for nominating this blog for the Liebster Award.  While it’s always an honor to be recognized by a fellow blogger, the acceptance process for this award is rather lengthy.  For the sake of time and space, I’m opting out of following the rules — but if you must know 11 things about me, here is a link to a previous acceptance.

Nevertheless, the nomination is a particular cool one because ‘Loba is a reader/gardener/blogger from Nigeria.  I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea that our writing can be enjoyed by people all over the world, simply by clicking publish.  As a reader of blogs, I am always amazed at what I learn by exploring the globe from my living room.  Fascinating stuff.

This all ties in nicely with a bow to some overlooked anniversaries.  I’m happy to say that Nitty Gritty Dirt Man turned two in April.  The idea for starting a blog began in my garden — and the decision to plant this seed of an idea and nurture it along has been one of my best adventures.  It is here that I laugh with Jane in England, celebrate the color of daylilies with Beth in Alabama, receive a nomination from ‘Loba in Nigeria, and admire the words, wisdom, and work of Jean, Mario, Alberto, and so many others.

April also marked the one-year anniversary of my foray into social media.  Helping me through the minefield is Kelly Mirabella and Paul Serwin of the Mastering Social Business podcast.  Here’s a quick round-up:



WordPress: Without a doubt, I have enjoyed the WP experience — although an issue has recently come up.  A few months ago, I was notified that this blog had 500 followers.  As soon as that happened, followers began appearing from every corner of the world — it was as if the number 500 was an alarm that alerted others to follow my blog.  As of this writing, I have more than 1,100 followers — but don’t be quick to say congratulations.  I get the feeling that many of these followers are dubious, even if they are — as far as I can tell — real. I’ve researched the issue in the WP support forums.  While I’m not alone in this issue, WP makes a case that I shouldn’t be concerned, although I feel I’m not getting a true reading of how many subscribers I actually have.  In any event, I receive multiple notifications each day of a new follower — sometimes real, sometimes shady.

Facebook:  FB has actually grown on me.  It’s a great way to share ideas and photos and to interact with people.  To date, I have 183 likes.  I wonder who will be 200?

Tumblr: I don’t think I utilize this platform as often or as correctly as I should.  For my own sanity, I use WP as my main blogging platform and utilize Tumblr as a place to link my WP posts.  Ideally, I should probably use Tumblr as a place to post photo-heavy content since the platform seems better suited for visual posts.

Twitter:  My biggest issue with Twitter is etiquette — as in how much should I tweet without being annoying.  While some users seem to tweet every brain fart they have, I tend to use it as a means of publicizing my WP posts and interacting with those people I follow. Twitter is where I first interacted with Margaret Roach and Dante the Comic, and since then, I have begun to follow gardeners and non-gardeners alike — but I always keep in mind that for me not being intrusive with Memorial Daytweets is much more polite.

Pinterest:  When I first began pinning, I must confess — I had no idea why anyone would enjoy this platform.  It’s simply a cyber bulleting board and who could possibly care about pinned items on bulletin boards?  I am here to say that I was wrong — because Pinterest is, in a word, fun.  It’s a great way to share, to collect, to learn, and to be inspired.

There is one other thing that I needed to share.  What was it?  Oh, yes, the winner of the What A Plant Knows giveaway — it is, after all, what you’re waiting to know.  Before I choose a winner with some help from random.org, I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to post a comment either here and/or on my FaceBook page.  It’s always enjoyable to read your comments and thoughts.

Now for the winner.  The book goes to Vickie, the woman behind the lens of Vickie Szumigala Photo Blog.  Congratulations!

I hope you all have a wonderful, peaceful Memorial Day holiday.  Happy gardening!


21 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning — Better Late Than Never

  1. I love your opening quote from Peyton Place and am intrigued with the idea that there is a fifth season. Maybe there are 6,7 or 8 seasons with our mix-up in weather! Good post. It’s always interesting to hear about the mechanics behind the blog!

    • Hey Elaine. I agree that we are having multiple seasons — sometimes in a matter of days or even in a single day. Hope all is well with you in your part of the world.

  2. I’m not getting nearly as many “new followers” as you are, but they are coming at me faster than before, and I have major questions, too. It seems a little fishy to me. ??? And thank you for stating that you also have questions about twitter etiquette. I’m completely out of my element here, although I like to stay current. I often read tweets and would like to comment, but feel like I’m intruding. LOL! I think my age is showing. So I’m off to check our your many NGDM links, and maybe by following along I’ll learn more about how to use them. 😉

    • Hey Debra. It’s strange how it exploded — and while many are legit people, there is still a large number of followers who do not seem real or are “business” based. As for Twitter, I will sometimes reply to a tweet because I believe it’s a way of engaging a conversation. I just have a hard time tweeting every moment of every second of every minute in my life. If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll try to share my experiences. I find social media as another chance to learn something new. Have fun! 🙂

    • Hi Vickie. You’re very welcome, and I owe you tremendous thanks. You were one of the first followers of this blog and I appreciate your support.

    • Hi Heidi. Thanks for the introduction and your kind words. I know that many of the new followers are legit — but there is a large number who seem a little fishy. In any event, I’m thrilled to meet you. Be well!

  3. Lately I have seen an increase of spam-type followers (blogs that promote marketing platforms, not interacting with your blog or liking or commenting on anything before following, etc) — have to wonder what is up? I enjoy your contributions on the various social media platforms — I find that depending on how busy life is, sometimes I may browse Facebook more often, sometimes WordPress, and I just am beginning to explore the Twitter world (and find myself somewhat at a loss as to proper etiquette, as well — feeling like the awkward wallflower at the middle school dance, not quite sure of my social skills or dance moves!)

    • Hi Kat. Like you, I kind of bounce around the social media platforms — because it can be a full-time job. Twitter is it’s own world. I’m kind of enjoying it, but I have two worries: 1) I fret that my comments fall flat and 2) I try very hard to not overdue it. Balance, I think, is key. Have fun!

  4. Hi Kevin, I’m glad you mentioned me, thank you! 😉
    More than 1.100 followers? I’m not sure I have more than 50… well at least mine are real! Lol.
    Weather is behaving very badly all around the World and this is making me worry, I’ve just read that in Ireland farmers have animals starving because they don’t have grass growing, sometimes we hear alarming news about some financial rates going down and nobody cares about some very fragile ecosystem our lives are based on.

    • Hi Alberto. Glad I could give you a mention. I truly love learning about your life and garden and adventures. We haven’t heard anything about he situation in Ireland, but we know all about Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy. I don’t know which is scarier — the changing climate or what’s considered newsworthy.

  5. When I moved to Italy I thought the seasons would be better defined than in England, but no, it goes from cold (thicker weight duvet required) to so hot I sleep under only a linen sheet! My plants are confused too, some flower at their appointed moment, because their flowering is triggered by daylight hours, other are 2 or 3 weeks late because they are temperature orientated, so some strange combinations are formed. I don’t use any of the other social media, I don’t know where I’d find the time, WP for me works well but perhaps I should investigate tumblr as my blog is very image heavy. Christina

    • Hi Christina. It seems that changing weather patterns are a global issue — commenters from all corners all seem to say the same thing. As for social media, I’m a WP fan and there plenty of photo-themed formats. Tumblr seems to reach for a different demographic. By all means, explore and find out what works best for you. Cheers!

  6. I love being connected to a community of gardeners that are from all over the globe! I love seeing where all my readers are from, and I love seeing what gardening is like in other parts of the world. I love some of the other forms of media, especially Pinterest and Twitter, but sadly I just don’t have the time to keep up with all of it!

    • Time is the biggest issue for many of us. Like you, I like seeing what’s happening in gardens from around the world. It might be interesting to have a mass posting on the start of each season to have bloggers post what’s blooming at that specific time. A global snapshot, if you will.

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