There has been a lot of discussion on twitter lately, about who gets to claim certain titles. Are you a 'real' garden writer? Do you have a 'real' garden blog? Even...are you a 'real' gardener?
I've tried to stay out of it, because I like people on both 'sides' of this debate. People are starting to get real nasty about it. I even know people who are staying off of twitter, because they are tired of listening to the arguing and dealing with the drama. It got me thinking, which label would I have...and would I care?
I know certain things. I am a 'real' gardener. I have gardened until my hands cracked and bled, til my face was black with dirt, from morning until the last bit of daylight faded from the sky and I had to go in. I have fantasized in the winter about gardening...poured over seed catalogs and imagined the smell of vegetables in the garden. I have gone for weeks with dirt permanently under my fingernails because I refuse to wear gloves, because part of being a 'real' gardener to me is feeling the dirt on my hands. I have planted seeds, hauled mulch, dug holes, weeded, and weeded some more. I have worked 40+ hours a week, commuted 2 hours a day, cared for my children, and STILL went out to garden for a few hours before I ran out of light. I know that maybe my garden will never be 'good enough' for a magazine, but it is still MY garden, and I put everything there with my two hands.
I may never write a book about gardening. I may never write magazine articles about gardening. I may never, ever go to a garden blogging conference and speak about how to keep weeds out of your garden, or how to get the biggest blooms with the best compost. But am I a 'real' gardener? You bet your ass I am.
I am also, and more importantly, a mother. I am a teacher. I am a cook, a foodie in my own right, and a canner. Someday, I hope to be a master gardener, perhaps even a master canner, but if not, it's not going to stop me from doing those things. I am someone's love, a friend of many, a daughter, an animal lover, and an old soul.
I write on my blog because I want to express myself. Sometimes, I share things about my garden, but other times, I want to write about what I had for breakfast that morning. If putting up pictures of my kids' birthday party keeps me from getting garden blogger of the year, then I guess I'll have to live with that.
I am not intending this to be a 'garden' only blog. It is my blog. It is a reflection of my thoughts, interests, and projects; an online journal of sorts. My gardening is set in the context of my life, not in isolation from it. If someone sends me a garden tool to try, or seeds to grow, then I will thank them and try the product out. I might blog about it if they ask me to, because I like sharing new things with other people like me, and it seems a fair exchange for the courtesy they are extending to me.
Personally, the blogs I like the best are not the ones that look so 'professional'. The only time I really look at those blogs is when I need to look up about a certain plant, or a certain process. The blogs that I visit on a regular basis are the ones where you get a sense of the author as an individual. I really don't care whether they can tell me 15 different reasons this particular variety of zinnia is better than the old ones or the other ones. If the author comes off as a pretentious snob, or an overbearing egotistical jerk, then I'm not impressed. I am certainly not impressed with sterile websites designed by some person who has never gardened or canned a day in their life.
I don't see why there isn't room for all the different kinds of gardening/plant blogs out there. People should feel comfortable writing about their gardening experiences, without getting criticized for not being knowledgable enough, or edgy enough, or not using the right kind of camera for their pictures. We all have different styles. Everyone has something to share, and as some people need to remember, we all have plenty to learn.
I am going to continue gardening, and I am going to keep writing about it on my blog from time to time. It makes me happy...and that is ALL that matters to me.
Thank you to my followers...you guys are awesome. Thanks for being there when I need to let something out. That is what friends are for.