Bear with me. No pics. Well, maybe a couple. At the end… oh, OK, here’s one to be going on with, of the gorse which has suddenly gone mad and made the air smell strongly of coconut:
Very cheerful, and a good start to the year.
Now, when I started Beangenie and Woolwinding, almost exactly four years ago, I had decided that I would split my blogs up. I felt that the gardeners might be bored by the constant wittering about wool and sheep – never a friend to a gardener, especially when they are wall-climbing, mountaineering sheep, like the ones we have here – and that the woolly people might not be interested in the trials and tribulations of making something grow in the teeth of Irish Sea gales. Of course there’s a crossover (I’m one myself), but I knew from reading many, many blogs that too many posts which fail to grip just make readers go away. Or maybe that is just me… but I still feel this was the right decision.
Over the past few years some of the garden blogs I used to read before I started blogging myself have fallen by the wayside. Life, it seems, has taken over. Or possibly slugs and the need to eliminate them have taken up more time (I know that’s not just me, even if I do choose to serenade mine, which probably is just me) .
Some – blogs, not slugs – spring gloriously into life now and then, and some have vanished completely or are frozen in 2011. I was talking about this with a friend last year, and she felt that she had lost her mojo, that she was doing the same thing on her blog year after year – reporting on the same but different changes to the same but different borders, talking about the same, not-so-different plants. I know I can be guilty of that (hey, it’s October so let’s have a post about a bonfire), and there is a tendency for a garden blog to turn into an online version of a gardener’s notebook. Interestingly, this is also tendency with woolly blogs, and many of the ‘look what I’ve knitted’ blogs, also chronicling projects undertaken and completed, have also vanished. They seem to have a natural lifespan.
There’s nothing wrong with a gardener’s diary, of course (pictures of pother people’s plants being much more interesting than pictures of other people’s pullovers), but I’m not entirely sure that’s what I want to do all the time, even though I like reading about how other people’s gardens adapt and change. That’s part of the reason why I’ve not posted as much in 2014. The other reason is the silly online stalker, but SOS isn’t, after all, worth considering and has finally stopped creeping me out. So what am I going to do in 2015?
I’m not stopping, that I do know.
I’m a writer first and foremost, before I’m a knitter or a spinner or a gardener or an archaeologist, and I’ve been writing since I was six and am not stopping now (though I have moved on a little from stories about cake-baking dinosaurs living in a shed). I just need to find out what path I want to go down. Woolwinding was never a ‘look what I’ve knitted’ blog, but I went through this debate over there some time ago and resolved it. Now Beangenie has caught up. But I also think I have an answer, sort of, partly inspired by the ‘tree following’ posts I’ve been doing.
I’m going to branch out a bit.
(Sorry, just noticed the ‘branch out’ – ouch. But that’s what I have in mind, pun or no pun.)
A garden isn’t an isolated thing, a square – or rectangle, in my case – cut out of the landscape in which it sits. It is most emphatically part of its environment, whether the garden is a 10m x 70m rectangle behind a Victorian terrace in south London or half an acre up a Welsh hillside. The sea below me, the mountains to my back, the woods more immediately behind the house, even the village – they’re all part of my garden, directly (thanks for the bracken, wildy bit next door) or more indirectly (the impact of Next Door’s Cat, er, Cats). The village, especially in the form of escaping sheep, over-assertive felines and garden shows, already makes an appearance. The landscape tends to take more of a back seat. I think I’ve been taking it for granted, a bit.
So I’m going to be getting out into it, and featuring it here, a little more than I already have. Yes, there’ll still be updates on the garden, lots of pictures of primroses and irises and dahlias and marigolds and tomatoes; debates about what do to do and whether/when/how to murder the Hell Hound of Harlech, let alone the cats who think they live here too.
But there’ll also be more posts about the plant life around me, whether that’s the local woods or the Plantlife Wildflower Survey I hope to be doing in the dunes near Harlech. I’m also going to carry on tree following – I learned so much about my birch, and close observation is, by itself, fascinating – but I’m choosing another tree for the rest of 2015, and one outside the garden this time. That means I’ve got a dilemma, though I have narrowed it down to – oh, about sixty.
Or possibly more:
Maybe in here, somewhere? I can’t follow a whole wood…
Or maybe this one – it really is one and not three – which is slightly easier to access in bad weather?
Let’s see where this goes…