Category: Blogging


My 3rd Blogday!

The view from Blog HQ...

The view from Blog HQ…

You might be interested to know that 3 years ago today I set up the blog ‘Old School Garden’. The stats:

  • 2,145 posts (including reblogs and this one!)
  • 2,098 comments
  • 256,714 hits (or views) of pages
  • Views from 184 countries with a top ten of U.S.A., U.K., Canada, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Italy, South Africa and Ireland.
  • Posts about recycling, especially using pallets, continue to be the most popular group of posts, with one (the reblogged ‘Ultimate guide to Upcycling Pallets’) achieving over 7,000 views alone.
  • My blog following has increased to 3,036 on all channels, with 634 being direct followers.

And it is to you, my followers, and others reading my stuff that I say, once more, a very big THANKYOU!

Old School Gardener

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“Dear Sir,
I haven’t got a computer, but I was told about Facebook and Twitter and am trying to make friends outside Facebook and Twitter while applying the same principles.

Every day, I walk down the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel, what I have done the night before and what I will do for the rest of the day. I give them pictures of my wife, my daughter, my dog and me gardening and on holiday, spending time by the pool.

I also listen to their conversations, tell them I ‘like’ them and give them my opinion on every subject that interests me…whether it interests them or not.

And it works. I already have four people following me; two police officers, a social worker and a psychiatrist.”
Peter White,
Holbrook,
Derbyshire

Originally published in Readers’ letters, ‘The Oldie’, August 2015

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My mother-in-law's Paul's Himalayan Musk rose looking good, but too big for it's pergola...

OK, I’m sorry that my blog posts have dried up for a while. My excuse? Decorating. Trying to get bedrooms back in commission to house our returning brood has pretty much put paid to garden blogging over the last couple of weeks- and pretty much put paid to gardening for that matter.

Yesterday I did finally manage to plant out some cauliflowers and purple sprouting broccoli and prune my fan and column fruit trees. My volunteer sessions at Blickling Hall and Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse Museum have also been short and sharp.

In fact I’m sitting here with my new(ish) tablet at 6am trying to compose a post as my normal computer is only just emerging from layers of dust covers and, yes, dust.

So, my apologies and I promise to get back into routine in the next couple of weeks, gradually…

To whet your whistle here are a few posts that are waiting in line:
A wonderful trip to Holland Park, featuring a Japanese garden
Two recent sessions at Blickling including a visit to the Rose Garden
A fascinating outing to two superb gardens near home and not normally open to the public; Oxnead Hall and Corpusty Mill
A review of a rather useful cordless chainsaw I’ve been sent, including how it helped me (and my new neighbours) see the end of a thug of an ivy tree (I joke not), that was invading our border areas.

And, as usual, I’ll be threading in some lovely PicPosts and, hopefully, useful tips to keep you on your gardening toes!

As a little something to keep you going here’s a link to a nice little clip about volunteer gardening at Gressenhall, which features a newt named Nigel!

I’ll be in touch. Promise.
Old School Gardener

WP_20140807_017I’ve just returned from a week away in coastal Suffolk and had only limited access to the internet. While there I must have passed 100,000 hits on Old School Garden

I’m not sure (even remotely) how many pebbles there are in this picture of Orford Ness and its lighthouse, but I’d guess a few more than that. Still, nice to have logged the first 100k views since I started the blog back in December 2012.

Thanks to all my blog followers, both dedicated and casual!

Old School Gardener

Chas Spain

Looking back at all the visitors who dropped by the blog last year and left a comment on the About page – I thought I should do a quick world tour and see what everyone’s been up to and what they’re planning for 2014.

This could take a while – especially as I’m listening to the Inception Soundtrack – so anything could happen in either space or time ….

Nigel Boldero in Norfolk England, at Old School Gardener, keeps the beautiful recycled things and wondrous garden pics happenng. Incentive to buy some dirt.

Shimon Z in Jerusalem, at The Human Picture has superb edible images of the fruit and flowers in his home despite having a bumpy start to 2014.

Mary Mageau in Brisbane at Nature as Art and Inspiration posted a superb red Christmas Bush to sign off 2013

Emiline Miossi in São Paulo also posted a bright start to 2014…

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IMG_4966A year ago today I posted my first article on Old School Garden. Thank you to all those people who have taken the trouble to read that and the more than 1000 articles or other posts I’ve made since then. And a special thanks to those who are regular followers of Old School Garden.

So what have I achieved and what has been the experience?

First the ‘metrics’ for the last year:

  • 1018 posts or articles published (including re-blogs)

  • Over 40,000 ‘hits’ or ‘views’ from visitors in 129 countries with the highest dally total views being 429. The average daily views is now standing at well over 100.

  • Over 5,000 posts were shared by visitors via Facebook, Twitter and a wide range of other platforms

  • 1,653 ‘followers’ alerted to new posts via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and directly via email (the latter has grown in the year to 285 followers)

  • Over 900 comments, including 300 of my own in reply to others, with recycling projects and ‘Picposts’ generating most comments

  • Not surprisingly the United Kingdom, USA, Canada and Australia account for over 80% of the hits (the U.K. alone 46%)

  • Overall, the most viewed posts seem to be about recycling projects (interest in projects in the garden using pallets and other recycled materials seem to be really popular, as have posts dealing with design, gardening techniques and play)

  • 21% of the views have been generated by internet searches using a wide range of search terms, and a further 10% via Twitter and 6% each via Facebook and Pinterest

I’m not sure if these figures are impressive or not – my guess is that they’re probably ‘middling’ when compared to the full range of numbers achieved by different blogs.

Pallet furniture and other garden recycling projects seem to have been especially popular this last year
Pallet furniture and other garden recycling projects seem to have been especially popular this last year

What has been my blogging experience?

I’m pleased at the overall numbers of people who have viewed the blog and that many have ‘liked’ or commented on the articles and other material I’ve shared.

I’ve been surprised at how some posts have generated enormous interest, with views ‘spiking’ on recycling posts in particular.

I’m pleased that my efforts to inform about gardening using a range of post types seem to have been well received; examples include ‘GQT’; ‘A-Z of Perennials; ‘Plantax’; monthly ‘top tips’ and various series on design topics, climate change, school gardening etc.

I guess I’m feeling that I haven’t yet ‘found my audience’ with the blog and that I seem to have generated only a small (but nonetheless very valued) community of followers who are stimulated enough to contribute to developing ideas and knowledge via comments.This may be in part due to my eagerness to produce a relatively large number of posts only a few of which have been structured and styled to generate debate.

So, I think I need to revise my blogging strategy. Perhaps I need a combination of meatier items, more of which are focused on developing ideas and seeking opinions, but retaining a mix of other types of post (but maybe reducing the frequency of these?). To ‘educate, inform and entertain’ (a la BBC) but with ‘stimulate’ perhaps added?!

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you!

Old School Gardener

Old School Garden has been nominated for ‘Blog of the Year’ by Brigid Jackson. Being awarded this by a  fellow blogger is a great honour. In turn I’d like to nominate the following blogs for the award (in no particular order), as i’ve very much enjoyed their posts over the year:

Chas Spain Design

Sethsnap

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse

Love Outdoor Play

Greenbench Ramblings

My Botanical Garden

Ariston Organic

Outdoor Nation

Congratulations to all of them!

Old School Gardener

It’s great to be in someone’s ‘top ten’ gardening blogs! Thanks Sophie 🙂

The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog

I always say if you want to learn something, that can be especially tricky to ask (because usually you’re not sure what it is you’re asking), head to the internet.

Where as books can be very detailed, and in some cases terribly technical, the internet can be just the place to find simple answers that you can actually then put into practice within your own garden.

Whether it’s what shrub to prune this month, or why those leaves on your favourite plant look particularly brown you can usually find someone else has already had the same problems.

It’s the one area I find help, advice and guidance for things I’m not really sure about asking someone face to face.  It usually comes in the form of social media but something that works even better are blogs.

Today I thought I’d share with you ten blogs I refer to time and…

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Some very interesting experiences and insights into the world of blogging…

The Daily Post

Cristian Mihai

From the feedback we receive, we know that growth and traffic are important to you, and that you’re interested in ways to grow your blog and build your readership. Today, we’re excited to chat with Cristian Mihai, a twenty-two-year old writer based in Romania, who has built a large community around his popular blog at cristianmihai.net.

Cristian writes primarily literary fiction and has published books like The Writer, which experiments with magical realism, and Jazz, a novel about ambition and deception. He launched his site in April 2012, and to date has 54,000 followers and counting. As you poke around on his blog, you’ll find short stories and essays in addition to posts, and get the sense of a prolific writer who is passionate about storytelling and curious about the human condition.

We’re glad to chat with him about his approach to blogging and promoting his…

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greenbenchramblings

It is just 2 years since I launched my blog. I didn’t have any expectations of it. I didn’t know which directions it would follow. It has changed in its two years, generally the posts are longer and have fewer words but more photos.

About 330 posts have appeared on Greenbenchramblings and there have been about 22000 views and 1500 comments.

I need to select a bright cheerful photo as my Happy Birthday card to Greenbenchramblings, but I have too many to choose from. So here is my selected short list of ten photos taken over the last few weeks.

So it is up to you to decide which one you would put on the birthday card to celebrate my 2 years of blogging. Which is it to be?

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