Gardening where the sidewalk ends

One-Year Blog Scorecard August 8, 2009

Filed under: blogging — greenwalks @ 11:35 am
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Oh, the hubris of the newbie. Well, I probably still fall into that category, but on this one-year anniversary of the first post here (or anywhere, for that matter), I thought I’d look back to the beginning and see how I’ve upheld my mini-manifesto.

So, let’s take it point by point…

“Here are some things I hope this blog will be:

  • a place to look at photos of cool parking strip gardens in Seattle and wherever else I can find them
  • OK, I started out thinking this would be all I would do. Then I worried it was too boring, so I started interspersing other topics. Then I felt bad about that, so I put a few more on-topic posts back in, then I gave up on finding the perfect balance and just started writing whatever I felt like. I admire those who can stick to a single topic, I guess I’m just not one of them.

  • inspiration for folks who want to rip out their boring old matted grass or hideous groundcover on the street and plant something more interesting
  • Well, I have yet to hear from an actual convert, but if you have a story to share on that account, please do! I’m still working on my neighbors… And I do love to show what people have done with this little part of the public/private interface, so I hope that at least one person has gotten an idea they could adapt or use for their own place.

  • a forum for sharing stories and tips about tilling that narrow patch of ground between the street and the sidewalk
  • Again, not sure I have achieved this but a few of you have shared sightings or linked to posts you did about street gardens (and I know I was not the first to start noticing them, for sure!) so that has been fun. Keep ’em coming!

  • a discussion of street gardening philosophies (whom does it belong to: the city? the gardener? the neighborhood? passersby? all of the above?)                                                                                                                                         

I could do better here. Seattle recently changed its regulations about strip gardens to include more flexibility  and fewer needed permits and fees. I hope other cities will either follow suit or are already there. A project I keep meaning to get to is contacting the entities in charge for some major cities and finding out what the current scoop is, then putting the info here as a centralized resource. Maybe in the fall! I’ve heard lots more conversation about the hows and whats rather than the whys and ifs lately,  so that seems like a good trend.

“Here’s what it won’t be:

  • me bragging about my adorable garden and telling you how to make one just like it (trust me, once you see photos, you will understand)
  • Uh huh. Well, I sincerely hope there hasn’t been much bragging. Maybe a little fond admiring, or stunned surprise when something looks half-decent.  Mostly I’m just kind of embarrassed about my garden so only try to share a few close-ups or the frequent semi-tragic failures.

  • Master Gardener-level plant advice (I’m just an enthusiast, not an expert.)
  • Yes, we can all agree here, I’m no sage. However, I have met many of you here who are, and your comments and advice are always so useful and appreciated. I feel like I’ve gone back to school, only from home and for free, with much nice teachers and only self-directed homework.

  • a lot of off-topic posts about my life
  • Oh dear, failed on this one. It’s hard to resist sometimes. My kid is kind of the ultimate garden ornament, when she chooses to be still enough to capture on pixels. Plus, she is an enthusiastic, if somewhat Godzilla-like, presence in the garden. Always up for whatever I have the patience to invite her to do. I hope I haven’t gone too far overboard with the kid pics. I try not to, although I always enjoy others’ so this is not meant as any criticism!

Truly, I can’t say enough how much this goofy little endeavor has brought to my life in terms of enrichment – I have met so many cool people, either virtually or in real life, through this medium and although at times it has felt like a bit of a burden to keep up with it all, overall it’s been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. How’s that for hyperbole! But, it’s true. Plus, it’s kept my eyes open to all the possibilities that streetside gardens can hold, even when they’re not yet planted.

Thank you to everyone who’s been along for even a little bit of this ride so far. I am pretty blown away by what an awesome community the garden blogging world has turned out to be, and I look forward to the next year of shared information, opinions, joys and sorrows, and whatever any of us choose to do with our physical and virtual tilth.

My late-July street garden


23 Responses to “One-Year Blog Scorecard”

  1. Why have I only just discovered you? We are battling to convince our municipality not to spray even more herbicide. We already have crop sprayers flying overhead. That’s another post for my list. Thanks for covering pavement gardens!

  2. Congratulations, Karen! I have to smile when I read your wonderful analysis on your blog; it is “so Karen”. I must have found you almost directly when you started blogging. And just like then, your voice really comes through to the reader. I just hope that you have time to continue in your very personal style!

  3. Ruthanne in Seattle Says:

    Congratulations Karen! Thanks for inviting me to the blog!

  4. Matron Says:

    Happy first blog Birthday! I can see that you enjoy blogging as I do. I didn’t quite understand what it was all about when I started, but it is quite absorbing and I love it. Please keep on bragging about your successes in the garden, it inspires other people to have a go, and besides which, it makes me feel better about me bragging about mine! And yes, I go ‘off topic’ ocasionally (like when Buddy won first prize in a dog show!) it is just human nature to tell people about it. xx

  5. Congratulations on your “blogaversary” and here is to the next year.
    I like your style Karen – you have your own blogging voice
    Big Hug
    “The other Karen”

  6. Catherine Says:

    I always enjoy your blog and think it’s great! Believe me if I had a parking strip you would’ve converted me!
    It is pretty amazing how much a blog can add to your life, the people we can meet and how much we can learn.
    Happy Blogiversary!

  7. Bonnie Story Says:

    Feliz cumpleano!!! I think that’s how to say happy birthday in Spanish. I liked your analysis – I enjoy how your blog does have different topics sometimes but you have that good strong premise the hang it on. It’s an exciting time to be keeping an eye on that in Seattle. I also feel that the whole concept of Public/Private interface in city life is really rich, in many ways. I agree with the other commenters here that your blog does have a very cool unique voice – it’s a wonderful gift, writers struggle to develop that all the time, and you’ve got it! I do enjoy dropping by your blog and here’s to another year. Cheers!

  8. Kanak Says:

    Happy anniversary, Karen! It’s always a pleasure to read your posts and look at all the photos of not only the parking strips but of your garden too! I so agree with you about keeping our eyes open to all possibilities…

    You’ve been an inspiration too! I started taking photos of our tiny strips of green and little gardens outside shopping areas only after seeing your photos. Blog on!

  9. easygardener Says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary. I do enjoy reading your blog and hope you write many more entertaining posts!

  10. Gail Says:

    happy blogaversary! I love your blog focus and think we need to see gardening in all it’s wonderful manifestations! You’ve done a great job of showing us how creative gardeners can be! gail

  11. Amber Says:

    You’ve definitely inspired me to tear out the grass on my hell strip, but given the current garden projects I have and that I have a toddler, it is not going to happen right away 🙂

  12. Congrats on 1 yr of posting on your blog, Karen! I have my gift for you and I still haven’t mailed it (boo! Bad me, I know;-( BUT, I will try to remind myself to mail it this week! After all, I MADE it for YOU! And I have NOT forgotten! I’ve been contemplating Stopping Blogging while you are celebrating! I have had a change of heart though and have decided to keep on keepin’ on. I would miss blogging and all of the wonderful people too much to stop!!

  13. Jen Says:

    Hey, Happy blogiversary! I must say I really enjoy your posts about your daughter. I can’t say I come here for parking strip inspiration (because I don’t have one!) but I definitely learn a lot from you and always have fun visiting. Here’s to lots more —and don’t be afraid to brag!

  14. Happy Blog-Birthday! I enjoyed reading your analysis…very interesting to learn what you set out to be and where you see yourself now.

    I think if you were all hell-strip all-the-time you would burn out. You have to go off topic once and awhile! But then again it’s your blog and we all come here because we enjoy your voice so nothing is really off topic. As for any pictures you post of daughter I’ve always thought they are adorable and add to what you are posting about. Thanks for sharing your unique take on the world!

  15. ricki Says:

    I have been fascinated by ‘Hell Strip Gardening’ for years, mostly because it reveals others’ gardening chops without a special invite. One thing I have noticed here in Portland OR is that when one person transforms a parking strip, it begins to telescope down the block and eventually into the whole neighborhood.
    There was a controversy about some raised beds: apparently some neighbor complained and the enterprising gardener was ordered to remove them. Seattle seems to be way ahead of us in this regard. I guess ours is a version of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’
    I add my vote to ‘keep doing just what you have been doing, including the photos of that adorable daughter of yours.’

  16. VP Says:

    Congratulations Karen. You’ve hit the nail on the head – ‘blog about whatever I feel like’. It works! We love it!

  17. Megan Says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary, you’ve had a great year! On topic, off topic, it’s always a pleasure to see what you come up with. You never go overboard with the extra stuff about life, but I think it’s fun when you do share anyway. I for one have started noticing parking strip gardens more than ever before, you opened my eyes, and for that I’m glad. Here’s to another year.

  18. jean Says:

    Congrats Karen. And thank you for all your input via comments on blogs (much appreciated) and for organizing the first SAGBUTT meeting. xoxo

  19. Aerie-el Says:

    Your one-year scorecard? 100% fresh! I always enjoy reading your posts and photos. I’m glad to have met you virtually, and soon at a SAGBUTT meeting!
    Congrats on your ‘blog-iversary’! And on your comment-a-thon too. 🙂 You’ve inspired me to have one of those too, once the ‘clean-up’ is finished here!

  20. Yeah…you’re ONE…and one of my most favorite blogs!!! Kim

  21. Georgia Says:

    Please do blog about the Toronto sidewalk gardens!

  22. Kris at t.m. Says:

    Happy belated anniblogiversary! I’m so glad you are writing whatever you feel like writing about when you feel like writing it – I don’t think you should worry too much about being on or off topic. I’m glad to have “met” you. Garden on! (love love love all the lavender!)

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