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!