…and so it is for my flower blog after nine years of posting photos from the world of flowers and plants and gardens and the insects that live in them. My first post was on April 2nd 2013 to celebrate the 100 years of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and as a memorial to my dad who was born on 6th April that same year – 1913. Sadly he didn’t reach that milestone, but he was fortunate to accompany me to those gardens in 1977.
My blog developed over the years though in that first one the visitors were few and often posts only had one or two comments, if any. Joining in with photo challenges is a good way to meet like-minded bloggers, though you do need to make the effort to visit their blogs and comment on their posts, not just sit back and wait for people to visit you.
The first ever challenge that I joined in with on this site was the April A-Z one in 2014, my subject was of course flowers. That year my stats grew from 3,665 to 6,880, almost doubling. And 2015 was to see the views increase even further, reaching 12K. My subjects have been Flower Portraits, Garden Portraits and a new series that year on Trees. On September 29th that year I published my 500th post.
In 2016 I reached the highest ever views – almost 20K and was probably due to the fact I hosted my own challenge on this site – Garden Photography. Bloggers really do love a challenge! This was still considerably less than my Bench Challenge which I ran during 2015 on my other blog – Travel Words. That was such a successful challenge and attracted 33K views.
From 2017 onwards publishing posts on this blog reduced as did visitors. In main because I started a new blog when I moved to Cornwall and with little travel outside the county most of the gardens and flowers were posted on that blog. In 2017 posts dropped to just over 100 and views were down by 50% – though considerably helped by joining in with the Squares Floral challenge and my own Alternative Advent calendar.
During 2018 I ended my regular Macro Monday posts on Monday 22 October having reached 100. It seemed like a fitting place to stop after beginning that series back in August 2015 when I bought my new macro lens for the Olympus camera. Posts were down again that year, but views actually increased to 13K.
The sweet years were between 2015 and 2018. During 2019 I wasn’t posting much at all and still not visiting any gardens outside of my home county of Cornwall. Spiky Squares Challenge in March was an opportunity to share some more of my flower portraits which helped to boost visitors to the site, but well down below just under 9K.
I took a break from publishing anything on the site during 2020. Due the pandemic and several lockdowns it was obviously going to be another year of remaining in Cornwall and even local gardens had issues with being open and allowing visitors. I returned to the site briefly in 2021 when I did have some fresh gardens to write about after visiting Somerset. Once again Squares came to the rescue in July when the focus was on trees, but even then I could find my enthusiasm dwindling.
So after nine years of blogging about plants and gardens and nature all around the world it is time to close the door on this particular potting shed and bid farewell.
I thank everyone who has followed me and supported me, particularly all those who have left me comments and engaged in conversation, and participated in my challenge. I thank all of those people who have hosted the many challenges that I have engaged with. Cee in particular was a great help in the early days of my blogging journey with her many photo challenges. Festival of Leaves hosted by Verena and then Dawn, Squares by Becky, Flowers Over Flowers by Nalinki in 2015 and Fountains by Polianthus in 2016. All of whom have enabled me to share my many photos on this site.
The site will remain up as long as WP allows and will continue to be a source of information about the many gardens and plants I have photographed, though I might find time to purge some of the older and less beautiful of those!
I shall end with this quote from one of my favourite garden designers:
“I try for beauty and harmony everywhere, and especially for harmony of colour. A garden so treated gives the delightful feeling of repose, and refreshment, and purest enjoyment of beauty, that seems to my understanding to be the best fulfilment of its purpose; while to the diligent worker its happiness is like the offering of a constant hymn of praise. For I hold that the best purpose of a garden is to give delight and to give refreshment of mind, to soothe, to refine, and to lift up the heart in a spirit of praise and thankfulness.”
~ Gertrude Jekyll (Wood and Garden)
Ciao, Jude xx