Monday, 19 November 2007

Happy Blogday - One Today!

Well here I am one year on and still writing this online garden diary. Like many other gardeners I have tried keeping up diaries or notebooks with photos of what I have done in the garden and how it looked in particular months. Intentions are always good but you know how it is. However, without a shadow of doubt I would say that writing a garden blog is the answer - especially if you have a digital camera. Oh yes, and chatting to people about what is going on in the garden from around the UK and indeed the world is a huge bonus too!

So looking back, what have been the highlights? Well, this is tricky as I don’t want this post to ramble on too much. Firstly, I would like to mention the digital SLR camera my husband persuaded me to get for my birthday earlier this year. I had no idea that I would have used it so much or the quality of photos I had the potential of getting. I really need to learn more about how to use it to get better results and I think possibly it is time for me to attend a class. So next year you may see more experimental shots from my garden!

Photos from my garden - sometimes it has been hard choosing which photos to use in some posts and in ocassions like this rather than not include them I pass them over to my plantphotos or birdphotos blogs with a link from the original post or in the case of the wild flowers where I wanted to make a bigger feature out of them. My intention is always to use these blogs as a support to my main one and they will always be linked.

My favourite three in the categories, plants, birds and wildlife have to be the Japanese Anemone, the Blue Tit Juvenile and the Bumblebee shown below. The sunlight beaming across the flower, the texture of the Blue Tit feathers and the detail of the bee all give me quite a surprise when I uploaded them on to my PC.


Videos from my garden – I don’t have many of my garden plants as they don’t process as well with the many shades of green and movement. However I have quite a list of garden birds on video and a number from my Camera Nestbox not forgetting a few of visiting hedgehogs.

My favourite garden bird video was taken on the first day of this year when we saw a Blackcap visit for the very first time. It wasn’t until the female came with her chestnut brown cap that I was sure of what it was - I had never seen one before!



My favourite Camera Nestbox video has to be the first visit by a Blue Tit pair which we witnessed 'Live' just two days after we put it up.



My favourite wildlife video was surprisingly not my first video of a hedgehog in my garden but of it eating noisily and licking its lips as it left.



My favourite post – well that is a tricky one I really have too many in this category! However, there are two posts that stick out and not just because of their content but because I worked with others on them.

One would be the wild flower posting in August where I linked to lots of photos on my plantphotos blog and I asked for help in identifying them. Thanks again go to Celia at Purple Podded Peas and to Sara at Farming Friends .

The other was my posting on ornamental grasses with Layanee at Ledge and Gardens where between us we tried to get other garden blogs to post on their ornament grasses over a weekend in September. Both of these posts although time consuming were very enjoyable to do.

Sorry, I’m in serious danger of rambling on here! I would like to take this opportunity to say some thanks here. Yes ….. I would. I’ll try to make this brief, honestly, don’t go yet …….

Thanks initially must go to all the blogs that have kindly exchanged links with me and to any that I don’t know of that have added my link. Initially they came from the birders as in the beginning many posts were of my visiting garden birds. Taking videos of garden birds, especially the Robin, is in fact how my blog actually started.

Comments on my postings are greatly appreciated too and once I started posting on my plants and began exchanging links with garden blogs the comments started coming in. In a very short time I found I had regular visitors and began to embrace the whole blog experience – corny perhaps but very true. More comments and emails came about my photos and videos especially over the time of activity in our camera Nestbox. Others would be sharing their Nestbox experience with me too!

Please accept my very warm thanks to everyone who has kindly left comments on my postings and emailed me. I appreciate that everyone has taken the time to do this. I always try to answer these comments as quickly as I can and I apologise if I have missed any. Getting feedback in these comments actually helps shape the way I write my blog.

Last but by no means least, sounds like a speech now, I would like to thank my family! My husband is completely responsible for all the technical stuff that goes on in the background. I get ideas - he tells me if they are practical or not. He then shows me what I need to do. Yesterday he helped me experiment with a change of background colour which I wanted to do to mark the end of my first blog year! Once I finished that he then spent some time changing it for me – there was much more to my colour change than just a colour fill. Between us we also produced an entry page to my blog that most who come directly here will never have seen. To see it go to www.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk note there are links from some of the photos. That was a fun project to do and in the future we are planning a revamp there too. I love the creative stuff and he enjoys the technical challenge – we make a good team!

Sorry, nearly there! I would also like to acknowledge the ‘relative’ patience of my teenager daughters when I tell them ‘I will just be there in ten minutes once I finish this post’ and they get my attention perhaps an hour later! Thank-you girls!!

I have also enjoyed printing my blog at the end of each month and giving this copy to my parents so they can read it too as they don’t have a PC. I thoroughly enjoy binding it and delivering it to them. I would also like to thank them for their feedback too and that of their neighbours who also like to read it!

So how did I celebrate
being ‘One Today’? Well today was a wet day so I haven’t been out in my garden except to fill up the feeders with more sunflower hearts in the morning. There are always lots of birds on wet days. However, I bought two fat cakes to mark today with the birds. I tied one to a branch of my small Acer. It is near the ground so the blackbirds will get that and any other birds that discover it! The other I put inside my fat cake guardian hanging in place of the seed feeder in my coral bark Acer. In theory the little birds will get peace with that one although I have seen starlings get in it! However, it can take a few days before the birds get used to a different food or feeder. I wonder if the fat cake will bring in new visitors again. Recently I have noticed an increase in the numbers of goldfinches and greenfinches visiting my garden and this morning I spotted a siskin male too! I will just have to keep on watching………

So that’s all folks…. except to say that if you are reading this on Monday 19th of November – a special thanks for visiting today!

27 comments:

Barbara said...

Congratulation Shirl and many happy returns!! I hope I'll be able to read again and again and still for a long time your interesting posts in your wonderful blog!
You expressed many thoughts I also have with regard to blogging. It is indeed a great "hobby" that enriches very much (I say this after 6 months blogging)!
So, keep going on...I'm looking forward to your further posts!
Have a good week! Greetings from Switzerland!
Barbara

shirl said...

Hello, Barbara :-)

Thank-you so very much! You are indeed one of the people I have very much enjoyed e-meeting :-D

We have many plants in common and I look forward to sharing many more with you! Thank-you for the many comments you have left on my blog :-D

I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and always look forward to the subjects you to choose to blog about! Perhaps we could do a post together in the future – just let me know!

Pete said...

happy blogday.

will you be buying new lenses? Macro etc? your photos are really good btw.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Congratulations Shirl. I am so happy to have found your blog. You do such a great job writing. Your subject matter is marvelous. My hat off to your husband for helping and your daughters for bearing with your hobby. All are just great. I will be looking forward to many more posts from you. I am from Indiana, United States of America, one of your international readers. Cheers to you.

shirl said...

Hi again, Pete and Lisa :-)

Pete – Thank-you what a surprise to see you tonight! Yes, I would very much like new lenses and I would love a macro one but I’m not happy with my wide angle lens so I would like to change that first. I would like to take some landscape shots too. Thanks – I think I am just lucky :-D

Lisa – Thank-you! I am delighted that you found this post today :-D I want to spend some time going through your blog very soon. I see you have a lot on your visiting garden birds too. I think it is fantastic that I can see birds and plants in a garden in Indiana as I sit here overlooking my garden in Scotland! Yes, I am very lucky to have the support of my family. Tonight as I sit here my daughter has placed a large birthday cake ‘hat’ above my PC monitor with a tiny soft toy goldfinch underneath it. There is also a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner on the wall! They also gave me a card with a ‘one’ badge and a cake with a candle :-D

farmingfriends said...

Fantastic news - your site is just brilliant and I love to pop over and visit. Your videos and photographs are excellent and I am so interested to read about all the animals and plants that you see. Happy Blogday. What a thrill it is to get a mention on this special occasion - I am touched and honoured. Heres to many more blogposts on your fantastic site.
Sara from farmingfriends

Connie said...

You have a lovely blog...Happy one year anniversary!

Fen said...

Congrats shirl for keeping your blog going for a year and still being able to find more and more interesting things to talk about.

As a newby to your blog I can't help keep popping in to see what is happening next.

Keep going, Mike.
PS your close up pics are excelent.

Carol said...

Happy Blogday, Shirl. I appreciate how you have faithfully participated in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day each month. You have so much in your garden, thanks for sharing it all with us!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Pam/Digging said...

Congratulations, Shirl, on the anniversary! I've enjoyed following your wildlife encounters and gardening adventures.

shirl said...

Hi again, Sara and Connie :-)

Sara – Thank-you! I thoroughly enjoyed my wildlife flower post. It was a thrill to me at the time that I was getting feedback and help. My post would not have been complete without mentioning you :-D

Connie – Thank-you! It is nice to meet you too :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Mike :-)

Thank-you! It is really quite strange that with every post I write I have thoughts about more I would like to write. Sometimes it is a case of having too many subjects to write on at the same time. I occasionally churn out three on the one day and then I am quite for a few!

One post I do hope to do later this week is a follow-up to the Autumnwatch series where I will link to your blog. In all honesty I really am looking forward to your future posts. Your photos are fantastic and I particularly love one of the red squirrel :-D

Magic Cochin said...

Happy Blog Birthday to Shirls Gardenwatch!!!!
It's certainly been a triumph - and it's an inspiration to visit. You've proved that a beautiful garden can be wildlife friendly too.

Celia

- I like your additional photoblogs, that's a neat idea.

shirl said...

Hi again, Carol and Pam :-)

Carol – Thank-you! Thanks go to you too for organising Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day each month! I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part and I now have a great record of the flowering plants in my garden :-D

Pam – Thank-you! I had no idea when I started this blog I would encounter the wildlife I have! It just shows what you miss when you are not looking :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Celia :-)

Thank-you! You have made my day – that’s exactly what I hoped I could do!

I am enjoying sharing my garden with the wildlife that visits and I still manage to garden as I always have with my passion for plants! Yes, the additional photoblogs are handy to know I have when I get a notion of posting lots of photos – rather than cluttering up my main blog.

Thanks once again for your help in my wild flower postings - I really enjoyed that exercise :-D

A wildlife gardener said...

Happy First Anniversary in Blogland, shirl :)

You have been so diligent, I've had quite a few posts to catch up on since I was last here :)

I love the contrasting colours of all your heucheras, especially Obsidian and Marmalade. I have the green one with the chocolate-coloured patterns on its leaves, and another one which is found in most Garden Centres. It has pink leaves which I like.

Your obelisk of apples is a great idea, proven in the charming video you took capturing the blackbird having a feast-day.

It reminded me of when our boys were young and we had a surfeit of apples after Halloween one year. A flock of fieldfares flew down each day to the roof of the garage where we'd placed the apples. They gorged themselves and staggered about quite tipsy on the cidery mead :)

I love the photos you take of the birds which come to your garden. The one of the wren is just marvellous.

Lastly, I couldn't leave without mentioning the post and video of the baby hedgehog. I was in tenterhooks waiting for him to move and when he finally did i caught myself saying, 'Yes!' out loud! Good job I'm in the room by myself :)

You were quite right to wear gloves as all hedgehogs carry lice on them. They carry them as soon as they are born, getting them from their mother. I used to tell the children at school they they carried their pack lunch on their backs, just like them :)

Your videos are excellent, Shirl, as are your photos too. I offer you my congratulations on creating a blog that holds so much interest, I just have to catch up each time so as not to miss out on anything. Well done, Shirl! Top of the class with a gold star :)

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Congrats on your first blogaversery Shirl and many happy returns! It's always nice to visit you here and see what you have in store for us.

shirl said...

Hi again, Wildlife Gardener :-)

Thank-you! Yes, I have been busy when I can. However I really need to get out into the garden soon too as I still have some tulip bulbs to plant before we start getting hard frosts. We aren’t getting regular frosts here at the moment but no doubt that will change soon. I also need to check on my divided heucheras – the colours are great though aren’t they :-D

I was really pleased with my obelisk as it really brightened up my garden when it would be just cluttering up my shed! I have already replaced two of the apples and they are still attracting the blackbirds. I have never seen fieldfares in my garden but I’ll keep a close eye on the blackbirds!

I so enjoy taking photos of the birds and would love to get a better one of the wren. In the winter months ahead and when the frost is hard on the ground I look forward to getting lots of bird photos.

Yes, the hedgehog, I have to report that tonight at 6.50pm a young looking hedgehog was spotted running out from my front garden. It ran across the street and along the side of our neighbour’s house looking like it knew where it was going! The hedgehog juvenile video – yes you need the volume up and then you can hear the rustling of the leaves just before it moves them! I was so glad to see it move myself :-D

Thank-you so much for your kind comments today and all the other times you have visited my blog. I hope I can continue to work hard and be deserving of my gold star :-D

shirl said...

Hi there, Yolanda :-)

Thank-you! I have to say I feel exactly the same about visiting your blog. You put so much detail and originality in your posts and still find space for humour! I am looking forward to your winter posts :-D

Thank-you for all the comments you have left on my blog - I have enjoyed exchanging garden chat with you :-D

Layanee said...

Well Shirl, I am a day late but would like to thank you for sharing your garden and wildlife with all of the rest of us! Sharing the experience enriches us all and you have done a wonderful job with your blog. I always enjoy your videos and hope to someday have the time to do some also. You are an inspiration in many ways. Hedgehogs and blue tits are new to me and both are quite interesting! Keep up the good work! I wonder when I will run out of topics to post on but it hasn't happened yet! Loved our shared post(humbled to have been mentioned)and look forward to another!

shirl said...

Hi again, Layanne :-D

Thank-you! I especially enjoy sharing my experiences of new visitors to my garden. I genuinely don’t’ know what will happen next with these posts and that’s what makes them interesting for me too!

I love making the videos and to be honest they are actually a lot quicker than the photo montages to do! I make up my photo montages by hand – there is no quick click of a button with them. However, I do enjoy the finished result of both :-D

Yes, topics - I keep thinking on more and more I would like to do too! I suppose the moment that stops it would be time for me to stop! If the blog was to lose my interest then I couldn't expect it to interest anyone else. I hope I can keep going for a while yet :-D

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Hi, Shirl - Happy 1 Year Anniversary! (Sorry about it being late - lots to do this week for the kids & Thanksgiving.) It's great that you have such understanding & helpful family members. Thanks for posting, it is wonderful to be able to see plants & animals from so far away. Keep up the good work!

shirl said...

Hi there, Mr McGregor’s Daughter :-)

Thank-you! Delighted to have you visit again. Sorry, it is me that is late - I too have been busy with family this week hence no posts since Monday.

It is fantastic that we can all share our plants, gardens and animals across the world isn’t it? I hope to keep doing this for a while yet. :-D

Tonight it is colder again and I am on guard to catch any young hedgehogs out in my garden. I have my video camera out with plenty of crushed peanuts and sultanas on the ground and in the dish. I have spotted one already! Mmm catching it could tricky as they can really move :-D

I hope you have had a good Thanksgiving Day with your family :-D

Mart & Sarah (aka the 2 wrennies) said...

1 year on and your site has really blossomed since we first saw it, so don't stop !!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Happy belated blogday, Shirl.

You're right that blogging is the way to go. I had no idea how much I would enjoy blogging, so I'm hooked too.

I look forward to seeing more nature and garden related pictures from you.

shirl said...

Hi again, Mart, Sarah and Robin :-)

Mart and Sarah – Thank-you! So lovely to hear from you again and thanks once again for being one of the first to exchange links with me. I wish you well for 2008 at The 2 Wrennies :-D

Robin – Thank-you! Time does fly when you are having fun doesn’t it! I also enjoy my visits to your garden and I hope many more will visit too – you have great photos :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Cat :-)

Thanks for your good wishes :-D

Thanks too for your email - I don't know why your comments won't publish. Sorry about that. Yes, it was a lovely photo of the red squirrel - they are such wonderful creatures :-D