Posted by: clarewhite | August 24, 2009

Hyper-hyper-local: blogging from your garden

View most interesting 'garden' photos on Flickriver

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.

Pretty photos courtesy of the Flickr community and Flickriver.

View most interesting 'flower' photos on Flickriver



  1. And of course, with gardening blogs you get some seriously gorgeous photography! 🙂

    A local allotment is a great physical gardening community and hyperlocal sites by and for these communities could be invaluable for the allotment holders – reinforcing a sense of community, keeping people up-to-date with news and useful gardening tips and helping to raise the profile of that patch. Check out the Association of Manchester Alloltment Societies’ site – It’s a great source of information for current and prospective allotment-holders.

  2. […] season or bloom time is the difference in gardening culture.  Clare White has posted a piece on garden blogging at Talk About Local in which she observes that front gardens are not public spaces, not places to […]

  3. Nice post on an area I have an interest in and sometimes (but not often enough) blog about.

    People with passions for gardening or running or trainspotting or whatever have always expressed themselves in media. Pamphlets, fanzines, photography, whatever. What the internet does is just bring to the surface that wealth of passion that people have always had for their pastimes.

    One of the reasons I foreground my own passions so much in presentations (to less ridicule that I thought I’d get) is to make the point that we need to see digital participation in the round. Try to drive people online through making it easier to interact with govt. services or the like strikes me as a dull route to empowerment. But show my wife’s uncle that he’s not the only train nerd in the world and watch him get lost in the wealth of stuff on a single disused rail line in the New Forest and you’ll see how ‘hobbies’ can be a great motivator for online engagement.

    ‘Trainspotters of the world unite and take over’

    By the way – my fave Good Life/Allotment blog is run by the fab

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