I typed out a long response filled with typos and grammatical errors over Kathy's blog but the power went and I lost my comment. When I got back on line I figured I'd just post my thoughts on the subject here and not stink up Kathy's blog.
Katie raises a good point on her blog by wondering where the younger gardeners are. I've often wondered where they're hiding myself but in a different way. I spend enough time on gardening forums and around the internet to know that there are younger gardeners to be found. Since youth and early adaptation of technology are so intertwined you'd think there would be more younger gardeners blogging about their gardens. Last month I hit the big 3-0 and while Kathy wonders where her elders are on-line I'm wondering where my juniors are. If youth and early adaptation of technology are a given so why aren't the younger gardeners blogging?
Someone is pushing garden, nature, ecology and green living articles to the top of social bookmarking and social networking sites. If you believe that youth equals early adaptation of technology (or you're asking yourself what a social networking/bookmarking site is) then you should be wondering why this younger audience isn't garden blogging. This younger generation cares enough to digg a story about new plants being discovered or post their plant photos to flickr but it doesn't seem they care enough to write about their own experiences in the garden.
Perhaps, after spending their free time browsing top stories or seeing the latest hot tags on technorati and commenting on flickr they're suffering from gardening fatigue. Maybe to them blogging is played out and they're all on twitter.
While we ponder losing the knowledge held by a demographic of gardeners, who are probably resistant to technology or are busy spending the money their kids think they're getting in the will, we're missing out on a younger generation who has already embraced this technology. Of what value is the knowledge that we'll lose if there isn't someone to pass it to who will then pass it on to the next generation?
The other thing about garden blogging that has me scratching my head is how it is dominated by English speaking people/countries. When I look at my visitor map (located lower right hand corner) on my blog I see that people have come here from all over the world. If I leave out the people who land here because they've injured their thumb and it is turning a bizarre color most of these people are looking for plant related information or photos. They're gardeners and they're obviously on-line so why aren't more garden blogs in languages other than English? I sometimes comment on a few garden blogs written in German or Swedish but that's about it. Most of the time I don't understand the text but I understand pictures and can appreciate the aesthetic quality of their garden plans and plant choices.
On top of wondering why the older generation of gardeners isn't garden blogging we should ask ourselves why the younger generation isn't doing it. And since we all speak the same plant language we should seek out gardeners outside of our garden-comfort zone who don't blog in English* and see what we can learn from them.
While I'm on the subject of older gardeners I want to share a link I came across recently. I was searching for information on Amaryllids and found a page about a gardener named Elizabeth Lawrence. She's a new discovery for this younger (can I call myself that?) gardener and I'm hoping to pass on her great writing to someone like (young and old alike) me who had never heard of her.
"Miss Elizabeth Lawrence (1904-1985) is one of the American South's classic garden writers. She promoted the use of heirloom plants, experimented with hithertofore untried selections of choice garden material from other regions, and was one of the first to incorporate native plants from our forests and meadows into her garden schemes..."
"Although Elizabeth Lawrence passed away in 1986, she is still fondly remembered by older generations of gardeners, as well as by those who have had the occasion to add her books to their libraries. It is hoped that by placing her bulb essay on the web, an entirely new body of bulb and garden enthusiasts will have an opportunity to know and enjoy her work..."
You can read the selection of her writings on the page Amaryllids In A Southern Garden.
*seeing how bad I butcher the language I'm counting my garden blog as a non English blog. ;0)
A comment by Annie in Austin has given me an idea that I'll put out there. Since the idea for this post came from the concerns that we would one day lose garden knowledge when older generations of gardeners passed away I'm wondering if people would be interested in a new meme of sorts. What if on Wednesdays we took the opportunity to pass on gardening knowledge to a younger generation? One day we'll all be of a certain age and there will be some younger gardener in our place wondering what we know that will be lost when we're gone. You don't have to necessarily be "older" to participate- just have some tidbit of information to pass onto a younger/newer gardener. It could be called Garden Wisdom Wednesday or something silly like that, there doesn't have to be a blogroll (but there could be) and it doesn't have to be done all the time maybe just add (Garden Wisdom Wednesday) as a label/tag to the posts. Would any older gardeners be up for sharing their garden wisdom and archiving it on the net?