One of my favourite books at the moment is called Watching the English, by Kate Fox. In it she puts forward some very persuasive generalisations about how we use our gardens, including the observation that we will wait for months for an opportune moment to speak to our neighbours in their front gardens rather than knock on their front doors. This is certainly true for me – memories of a stint selling Avon door-to-door still bring me out in a cold sweat – and it holds true in Stoke-on-Trent, right through to her other observation that except when they are serving as a neutral space to chat about the weather and that awkward planning application you put in, front gardens are for show only.
Anyway, it was looking for a more succint reference to these observations that I stumbled across a new seam of hyperlocal blogging in Britain: the garden blogs. Starting off with the Patient Gardener’s Weblog from Worcestershire, the bloggers have formed a clear community across the country and share delightful photos, drawings, questions and observations. A look through the Patient Gardener’s blogroll quickly takes you as far as California and Nova Scotia, but of course many of you will prefer sticking to England and the chance to peer into some luscious hidden back gardens and allotments. You can even follow the journey of a novice bee-keeper.
There’s always a bit of a perception that blogging is for computer geeks or wannabe politic pundits, but the ease of blogging, linking and adding photography means that there are plenty of communities sharing their passions for each other and the rest of the world. If you’re wondering whether this applies to your hobbies and interests, have a browse round WordPress’s Showcase section or Google blog search. (example). ‘Passion-blogging’ is also a great place to start if you’re not sure you have anything interesting enough to blog about. Regular, enthusiastic, reflective and useful blogging will always find an audience, especially if you make the effort to put friendly feelers out to other bloggers through comments and links to posts you enjoy. And as the gorgeous gardening blogs show, there’s no such thing as too hyperlocal.