May 3, 2010

A Look at the Mouse & Trowel Awards Finalists- #mousie

The finalist for the Mouse & Trowel Awards were posted today. First thing that jumped out at me was that vegetable gardening didn't dominate all the categories. I would've bet good money on veggie and edible gardening to sweep the nominations. It seems that garden bloggers, in recognizing their peers, are for the most part bucking the trend here. Out of 14 categories Plants are the Strangest People was nominated in four indicating that houseplant blogging still has a lot of life left in her. I'm having a tough time with the indoor gardening category. It is truly an embarrassment of riches.

Speaking of vegetable gardening... I noticed that the grocery gardening bloggers/authors were shut out of the Best Blog About Growing Food category. Not a single nod to any of their blogs in this category. Although, Kiss My Aster did get a nomination in the Best Company Blog category. Perhaps, book sales aren't an indicator of popularity among the rank and file garden bloggers who are doing the nominating.* When I submitted my nominations I meant to nominate Robin's rant that set off the "ugly gardens" controversy. While I didn't agree with much of it there was no denying that it should've been nominated for Post of the Year. When was the last time a garden blogger set off a firestorm that ranged from feminism in the garden to discussions of the role of class in gardening? You don't get to create an internet wildfire, offend dozens of bloggers, spawn countless retweets and spin-offs of your post and at least walk away with a Post of the Year nom for your troubles.

Then there was that creepy off blog drama that emerged from it, perhaps you read it on Twitter? LOL. While I will probably vote for Garden Punk's Welcome to Crazy for Post of the Year because I'm a sentimental sap (really, I am) Robin's rant about ugly vegetable gardens will be Post of the Year in my heart.

The final nominations are more diverse this year. Social networking sites like Twitter & Facebook appear to have leveled the playing field. There is less clustering and we have a broader selection of garden bloggers to choose from. The memas of garden blogging at Garden Rant were nominated for Best Writing. Not a surprise, on account of it being a popular blog. Since Garden Rant morphed into a depository for guest posts will each guest blogger get a pixel of the winning badge to display on their blog if it wins for Best Writing? A while back Garden Rant turned into the Huffington Post of garden blogging; it doesn't really produce any original gardening content and what little discussion about gardening there is comes from the guest bloggers. Whenever I visit it feels like a garden media blog and a place marketers go to giveaway things to get exposure. Maybe next year Colleen, who created the Mouse & Trowel Awards, can add a Blog Covering Gardening of the Year category and free up the Garden Blog of the Year category for blogs that are, you know, garden blogs.

The Yarden, BG_Garden and Get in the Garden are three garden blogging ladies who have taken social media by storm and their social media prowess is evident by the number of nominations in the categories. I only became familiar with these three social media mavens this past winter and I'm not going to lie; I was surprised by the number of Mouse & Trowel Awards nods they racked up. Garden Bloggers have been put on notice. It will take more than a blue-haired-Mean Girls-clique on Plurk and handful of blogs in your blogroll to get you recognition for your gardening blogging efforts when there's a whole world of social media savvy gardeners who have never heard of you.

Update: Winners have been announced. Our Little Acre dominated the categories. Check out the results

Winners will be announced on Monday, May 18th. Voting is open until 11:59 PM on May 17th. Head over to Mouse & to vote for your favorite blog.

* You Grow Girl got a few nomination and her vegetable gardening book, Grow Great Grub, is very popular but I think the fact that she's so accessible and friendly on Twitter combined with her book helped.


  1. Two things I forgot to mention is that we as a community didn't seem to show our fellow garden bloggers outside of N. America much love. The other thing is that Blogger seems to be the preferred blogging platform of garden bloggers. Which I kind of already knew on account of the poll in the sidebar.

  2. I was surprised by a few of the things you mentioned, most notably that vegetable gardening blogs weren't as big as I thought they'd be this time around, given the resurgence of vegetable gardening. A few other quick thoughts:

    1. The indoor gardening category is an absolute killer. I like all of the nominees, and it kind of sucks that they can't all win! To be honest, I'm glad I made that rule about me not being allowed to vote because both this category and a few of the others would just drive me batty.

    2. Regarding Robin's post: I didn't get any nominations for the original post, but did get several for the "protest" posts, where people were showing off their ugly gardens. For that category, it seems like posts that are either very insightful, humorous, a little nostalgic, or very positive get the nominations. I was kind of hoping at least one "ugly garden" post would make it into the finalists, but it wasn't meant to be, I guess.

    3. Regarding non-North American blogs. I used to have the "international garden blog" category, which always felt kind of weird to me, to have "North America" and then "everyone else." I was hoping to see more non-North American blogs make it to the finals, but it just didn't happen. I don't know if it's something I'm going to try to remedy next year or not, especially since Blotanical seems to do a decent job of highlighting international blogs. Interested to hear thoughts on this one.

    Thanks for a great post, as always, MBT.

  3. I still think there should have been a drunken bbq/gardening blog category. I totally would have OWNED.


    Congrats to everyone nominated and what a great bunch of folks.

  4. Anonymous5/04/2010

    Us blue-haired mean girls don't need any recognition.

    Patty & Selma Bouvier

  5. Nice post, MBT. When I go to the Mouse and Trowel website to vote I cannot find any way to do so. What gives?

  6. James, Maybe next year. ;0)

    Anonymous, LOL.


    The voting is done on the link that says 2010 Final Vote

  7. Also,

    I just changed the link in the post to go directly to the voting page in case anyone is confused about where to vote.

  8. Wait...there is a mean girls clique on Plurk?

  9. You sure have a way with words! For reasons a few of us understand, I about fell off my chair and laughed my butt off (I wish!) when I read "blue-haired-Mean Girls-clique on Plurk."

    Another insightful post from the inimitable MBT!

  10. Anonymous5/08/2010

    Congrats to all the nominations! Im not suprised Grocery Gardening gals didnt get any nods. ALot of garden bloggers find them unapproachable and some not so nice! The only one who really does answer comments and tweets is kissmyaster.

  11. Fern,
    Short answer: Yes. Just the mention of Plurk will cause them to sound the alarm and a pass a link around.

    Garden Girl,
    I know, right?

    If you don't have anything nice to say come sit by me....but you'll have to reveal yourself. It is ok to have an opinion but when expressing something that isn't popular, but do it under your blog's name. I agree about Amanda though. She's pretty funny and I've seen her answer a lot of gardening questions from her followers on Twitter.

  12. Anonymous5/09/2010

    I find the whole thing a joke. It really isn't representative of the 'whole' of garden blogging. Not everyone 'tweets' or uses FB or even social media. Many of those "non-social media" garden bloggers, who aren't actually 'selling something' are much better but don't have 'big mouths' and therefore weren't voted in. Who really cares? Not the 'majority'.

  13. It cracks me up that my "crazy" post was nominated because it has nothing to do with gardening. I totally love the support though!

  14. I enjoyed reading all the posts - I learned a lot. I hope more people participate next year! I know I voted like crazy!



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