20 Ideas for Garden Blog Posts in One Morning – Part 1
Garden designer, Caroline Garland, has a blog called The New Vintage Garden.’But I’m having trouble coming up with ideas for things to write about,’ she said. So I showed her how she could come up with ideas for 20 blog-posts in just one morning of garden visiting. We visited Doddington Place Gardens, plus the smaller gardens of two friends in Faversham. The principle would work equally well in other areas: if you’re going to a festival (such as the Hay Literary Festival or The Canterbury Festival), an exhibition (The London Book Fair), a conference or a centre of excellence, such as Tate Modern.
- If you go somewhere special – a centre of excellence in your field – you can get several months worth of blog-posts out of a single day.
Reviews, lists, how to…, tips and stories about your experiences all make good topics for blog-posts, so we focussed on these first. It’s important to remember your reader – Caroline’s are mainly people with town gardens in Wandsworth, Fulham, Clapham and Dulwich, so she needs to tailor her posts accordingly – a major garden will be somewhere to visit, and a tip needs to work in a town garden. And if you’re in a visually-led area – such as gardens or art – use photographs as inspiration for your post topics.
Here are the first 10 ideas:
1) Write a story about your visit – but think about your reader
The most obvious post is a simple review of Doddington Place Gardens as a place for readers to visit. Caroline loved Doddington Place’s Sunken Garden (‘I do love a herbaceous border’) as well as the glorious views. It also has an unusual renovated Edwardian Rock Garden. A blog-post with about 6 photos showing the highlights, plus ‘how to visit’ information (including, perhaps, trains from London and/or where to eat or stay in nearby Faversham).
2) Make a list of the 3 best xxx plants for your garden style:
We immediately spotted an unusual-looking plant called Nectaroscordum. Caroline photographed it for a post called ‘Three Unusual Plants for New Vintage Gardens.’
- Pick something unusual that you spot on a visit, or at an exhibition or gallery and create a List around it. Here Nectaroscordum could be the start of a ‘Three Unusual Romantic Plants’
3) Try other list-based posts
Three Great Reds (lists). Romantic red flowers are perfect for New Vintage Gardens, and Caroline spotted wonderful red poppies and peonies, as a starting point. She might turn this into three posts (3 Great Reds for Spring, 3 Great Reds for Summer, Autumn etc). Or she could turn it into ’10 Great Reds’. She’s going to check what photographs she already has.
4) Turn a story into a tip:
Caroline spotted a geranium that she’d last seen in her Aunt Jill’s garden. ‘It’s very pretty, but it’s a thug,’ she said. ‘So very useful for filling gaps – it’ll spread anywhere.’ I suggested she use that as a base for a post called ‘Useful Garden Thugs’. She’ll choose softly romantic ones, of course, to give the post the ‘new vintage’ twist.
5) ‘How to….’ is a perennially popular post topic:
Caroline could use her photograph of the silvery-foliaged cardoons against the dark green yew as the starting point for a ‘how to use foliage to offer contrast’. There are some lovely foliage contrasts at Doddington Place, and Caroline has other good photos at home she can use.
- Could something you spot turn into a ‘tip’ for your readers – this foliage contrast could be achieved effectively in smaller gardens.
6) How to….use mirrors in gardens:
Amicia and Richard Oldfield, who own Doddington Place, commissioned an unusual mirrored obelisk to commemorate the Millenium. Caroline noticed how gracefully it reflected the silver birch trees beyond it, and photographed it for a post called ‘How to Use Mirrors in Gardens’. This is a good one for a town readership as mirrors add to a sense of light and space.
7) Compare and contrast…use modern sculpture in ‘New Vintage’ gardens.
If you see something that shouldn’t work – but does – turn it into a ‘surprise’ post. You might think that modern sculpture would be out of place in a ‘new vintage’ garden, but…Once again, the Millenium mirrored obelisk was the inspiration for this, as it would be easy to think that vintage gardens would have classical statues in them. But, in fact, this modern contrast works beautifully with the planting and makes a more interesting post.
- Always remember your readers’ viewpoint – Caroline’s readers like ‘vintage gardens’ – talk about contemporary sculpture from that angle.
8) Pick out an unusual highlight and review it in more detail:
Rock Gardens have fallen out of fashion since Edwardian times (probably because they’re time-consuming to build and maintain) so garden visitors would probably appreciate a longer post devoted entirely to it. Caroline could also add brief details on any other Rock Gardens around Britain, if she wanted to.
9) Pick out an unusual aspect and link it to your readership.
This would be ‘Why It’s Important to Test Your Soil.’ There is a wonderful Rhododendron Walk at Doddington Place. They grow on a strip of acid soil, although most of the garden is Kent clay. But Caroline’s readers are mainly people with town gardens in Wandsworth, Clapham and Fulham – where neither the soil nor the size of garden are rhododendron-friendly. However Caroline can use photos of the rhodendrons to point out that soil conditions can be very different just a few hundred yards away – so you can’t make assumptions about your soil on the basis of your neighbour’s soil.
10) Find a practical angle: Benches for the New Vintage Garden:
Once again, just because the word ‘vintage’ implies traditional, there’s no need to have everything looking Victorian. Doddington Place has some simple ironwork benches painted a soft pale green instead of white. Caroline will use these as a starting point for a post on benches.
Some of these posts will be just a few pictures and a few hundred words, but others – such as the overall review of Doddington Place – could be 1,000 words or more. Length doesn’t matter – it’s quality that’s important.
We had only been in the garden for an hour and a half, and already had ten posts, led by photographs. We left to go onto two smaller town gardens owned by friends, where the story opportunities will be a little different. The second part of ’20 blog ideas in a morning’ will be next week. If you’d like to read it, subscribe to this blog by entering your email address on the right
For details of my blogging workshops, consultancy and ‘How to Write a Blog Post’, see www.writetopromote.co.uk