Yesterday I was linked by a friend to an article on the StarTribune titled, A growing divide on the gardening front. The article starts:
"Rhonda Hayes was scrolling through tweets when she linked to something that got under her skin. A young male blogger declared that he didn't consider himself a gardener because he wasn't "a middle-aged woman who's been doing it just for the beauty of it and not considering all the other aspects."
If the quote sounds familiar it may be because I created a post around it back in May 2011 that generated a big discussion about what a gardener was. What Rhonda Hayes is mentioned as linking to (although not noted) is my post here "Are "Gardeners" Middle-Aged Women?"
The article continues.
"I was like, 'Wait a minute, honey!'" said Hayes, who gardens in Wayzata. To her, the comment implied a dismissal of mature female gardeners as out-of-touch growers of pretty flowers, as opposed to trendy organic veggies.
She fired off a tweet of her own, noting that she'd been "growing food before you were born." And she wasn't the only one who took offense. "Them's fightin' words," another reader commented."
If the "Them's fightin' words" quote sounds familiar it is because "the reader" is Katie and she said that it in the comments of the post.
The article goes on to flesh out the premise of the story by giving other examples of young gardeners gardening like this, and older gardeners gardening like that. The article ends with:
"Garden rifts can appear more heated online than they are in real life, McKusick said. “The blogosphere is different than the garden magazine world. The number of garden blogs has exploded, and people are competitive about their views, they want to get hits, so controversies happen as a way to stand apart. People are trying to be heard."
But gardeners overall, and Minnesota gardeners in particular, are a tolerant bunch, preoccupied with their plants, not arguing in cyberspace. "Most gardeners aren't blogging," McKusick said. "They're too busy gardening.""
BUUUURN! Oh, wait a minute!
What are you suppose to be picking up here? What we have here is a sign of the outside world waking up and realizing what the Global Garden Report noted in 2010. Not only are we shaping gardening tastes, but our thoughts, observations, blog posts (and even comments left by our friends on our blogs) are now influencing the writings of professional garden writers and being repackaged for mainstream audiences. This is something that has been happening for years in celebrity gossip, technology, parenting, and fashion blogs. But is relatively new our corner of the Internet, and a sign of what was once a small niche is now being watched by many. These are exciting times.
I don't agree with the implication that garden bloggers aren't busy in Mr. McKusick's quote. To grow plants, photograph them, edit the photographs, blog about them, respond to comments, and answer follow-up questions is time consuming. Plus, many garden bloggers juggle real jobs and families. They're not blogging because they're not busy enough gardening, they're blogging because they have a passion for it.
This example of an article being inspired by a blog post follows on the heels of the attack launched on Colleen after her work and observations on the #OccupyGardens meme was copied by a garden writer and presented as her own. We just need one more example of a garden writer publishing an article inspired by a post on a garden blog without attributing it and we have ourselves an official trend to look for in 2012.
You heard is here first folks and you better source it.
Note: Mr. McKusick is the publisher of Northern Gardener. In 2010 I licensed two vermicomposting photographs to his publication. The author of the article linked above and Rhonda Hayes (also a contributor to the StarTribune) as of this writing as followers of mine on Twitter, though I've only had a limited number of interactions with Rhonda. After searching my social media stream I noticed the last time I was interested in talking about the growing divide on the gardening front trend was in November 2011. Now that it's been picked up by the mainstream media I think we can say the trend is on the decline or maybe even dead. Print media is always the last to notice trends.
Note2: If you're a big garden entity: I'm Garden Bloggers is still for sale. Call me, P.Allen Smith, Martha Stewart, Proven Winners before garden bloggers turn into the next mommy blogs.