April 24, 2012

Hitting the sweetspot

"How to succeed in writing a gardening blog without really trying"

Gardeners are masochists because we plant things we love but know, in the deepest parts of our hearts, that will suffer slowly and die. And we do this again and again. Garden bloggers are a special subset. After all, why do we write, offer our precious thoughts to a seemingly unresponsive and unappreciative audience? Insanity can be loosely defined as the condition of doing something we know is ineffective, over and over. Is blogging a form of insanity? Why all this crying out to the internet wilderness?

Occasionally, though, someone or something validates my effort with this blog. (Just the other day, my very own sister blurted out accusingly that the author of "garden muses" could not possibly be her brother!) Indicative of my masochistic bloggy nature, I regularly check the number of visitors. Why do such a depressing thing? Why perform a useless habit? Well, habits are hard to break (especially the naughty ones) so when I noticed a spike in the number of visitors recently, my curiosity became, shall we say, aroused.

In the past, such fervent activity was associated with spamming from porn sites. I'm not entirely innocent. What did I expect when I titled a particularly sentimental post about putrefying ginkgo fruit "The Fairer Sex?" I remained calm, carried on, and clicked on the link from "sweetspot.ca", all the while expecting more XXX action. Well, you could hardly believe my shock and horror when I found out that the garden muses blog was considered, by those arbiters of fine gardening taste, as one of the "10 Best Canadian Gardening Blogs"!

To be perfectly honest, I smelled phish and expected an heart-tugging plea from an apparently not-too-distant Nigerian cousin asking for CAD to be wired very quickly! I clicked through the other nine blogs (all more worthy and deserved of this new status) and discovered, indeed, they are from Canada and not fronts for selling Viagra.

I'm really confused, flattered, and feeling very ambivalent about the whole situation. Here's how Sweetspot.ca described my blog:

"We dig how Paul Jung, a gardener and blogger who focuses on organic and ecological practices, uses pop-culture references and casual language on his blog Garden Muses. It’s a refreshing way to learn about this ancient art."

I don't think I've ever made references to Led Zeppelin, compost, and rain gardens in the same paragraph (although that would be a sweet challenge) but if Sweetspot.ca says I did, darn, I did!

What does this all mean? How shall I cope with this new fame and the much-needed fortune that is sure to follow? When will I be invited to speak about my favourite 300 hosta cultivars to the great unwashed at Canada Blooms? (I'd be happy enough to start with an intimate talk at my local public library as long as the coffee is free and the talk about slug deterrents hot and heavy!)

Not to sound uncharitable, but Sweetspot.ca had me on the wrong list.  

Without any shame or immodesty, I submit that I should had been placed among the "10 Best Downtown Toronto Gardening Blogs"!

(Update: Apparently sweetspot.ca was shut down by its new owners, Rogers Media, in May 2012 so my shot at fame was exceedingly short!)


  1. I wouldn't judge an intended audience unappreciative or unresponsive simply because they do not leave comments when they visit. I recommend that garden bloggers monitor the weekly traffic they receive over a one year period [garden readers disappear in winter]. A consistent readership is a silent but accurate measure of audience appreciation. It took two years for an audience - that I did not know existed - to find me.

  2. Hi Allan,

    my spiel was written with tongue firmly in cheek for I consider so many other blogs, yours included, to be more worthy to be included in this "best 10 list". Perhaps like many other bloggers, I really write for myself as a creative outlet and if viewers read and/or comment, that's cool. If not, that's ok too.

    Hope you're having a busy spring, biz-wise!

  3. Congrats, I love reading your blog, and finding out what is happening in To, miss it! I shall have to go and check out the other nine.

  4. Hi Deborah,

    I appreciate your thoughts and am glad you and others are enjoying my "mind burps". I think of many other blogs that should be in this "pantheon" instead of mine, yours included!

  5. Anonymous29.4.12

    Congrats, Paul! Well done!