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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

Last Post 4 days 12 hours ago

Thinking about the Garden.ie Club

24 November 2017 00:16:39

Chatting withe Jacinta today we talked about this Garden Club and how it has evolved. We both joined in 2009 so our histories of the club are pretty similar. As far as we can work it out, the club got off the ground about two years before that - making this its 10th year!

This is a unique online club because of the transformation of the online club into a group of people from the four corners of the island who have mede the journey once a year to our annual get-together. The friendship that have grown out of the club are cemented by visits to gardens of members, or smaller group outings throughout the years.

Add to that the way that most of our own gardens, big or small, have been enriched by plants, cuttings and seedlings shared byt the generous people on this site.

But we also need to honour the effort, the enthusiasm and the constant advice and encouragement we have all shared on this site.

Recent technical issues with the site has seen very many members of this group abandoning the site and although they still meet up on the Facebook Garden.ie Friends Group, what Facebook offers is a completely different concept and lacks the continuity of our journals which allow us to look back on previous journals, not just our own, but also those of all other members, to find that bit of advice you remember reading a while back about that particular problem plant ....

There are also a number of members who find the different format of Facebook daunting in the extreme. Garden.ie may not be very fancy, but it has always been relatively easy for newcomers to the world of the Internet to put up journals and photos that map their garden journeys. 

So where to for the next 10 years? Without the regular interaction on the site is there still sufficient connection for people to want to meet up for a get-together?

Please respond and let me know your views.

Many thanks


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Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 November 2017 07:08:07

I just posted a long comment, and the site has told me to enter a title on the text I typed. 

Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 November 2017 07:11:46

When I joined way back then, I was in the middle of grieving for my dear Mam. I found this site to be just what I needed to get back to some kind of normality. And as time went on, and with people here giving advice, friendship and great banter, I realised how great all you people are out there.

I'll be here to the end. But maybe it'll actually be a new beginning with the new site. Fingers crossed.

Jackie Jackie 24 November 2017 07:27:00

I joined in 2008 and it was probably similiar to now if not quieter!! 

I think the Get Togethers bring people ‘out of the woodwork’. You look at the amount of .ie members who appear online and ask for plants and arrive on the day. We had some new members last year. They may not post journals but still lurk and love to come along to the gathering, which I think is testament to how the group still holds that uniqueness.

Life is hectic and people don’t have a lot of time. Everything is instant and obviously what’s putting people off is the slowness and problems the site has over the past couple of years. It’s easy to flick to FB and pop up a picture, put in a little comment, and lots then comment back. It’s instant and it works. I’ve made lots of friends on FB, some virtual but others I have had meet ups with and we meet regularly 

Jackie Jackie 24 November 2017 07:27:51


The journals though are the big thing for me. As you say how they show how our gardens have transformed. It would be great to ‘save’ them but not sure if that’s possible. I’ve all my photos on my hard drive but it’s the actual journals which have all the info etc. And I love nothing more than looking back over them now and then. 

It would be great if Craig and the team could either archive these journals so we could dip in and out of them if and when the new site is active, or alternatively help us save them. 

It will be interesting to see what others feel. 

Myrtle Myrtle 24 November 2017 07:52:18

I have been on the site since 2009 and I have really enjoyed it and the friends I got to know. However, I use my phone all the time and just find it too difficult on the site now. So I have given up and go to FB. But I miss the more in depth journals and the intimacy of a smaller group where we all had met at one time or another. 

MargieD MargieD 24 November 2017 08:25:48

Great post Hazel.  I'm a newer member of the group and I've found that as I don't use a laptop daily/weekly the fb page is what I see more of.  I found it time consuming when using this page but do enjoy reading the information and posts when time allows. 

I went to the get together last January having not met anyone in group before and was made welcome by so many. Being a member of the group has encouraged me to get back into the garden.

I haven't a journel through the years on this, but can understand why it would be a shame to lose so much information on this site. 


TerriShoos TerriShoos 24 November 2017 08:28:16

I tend to think I only joined a few years ago, but it was probably much longer if I were to check it. I haven't been active lately, partly through lack of time but mostly frustration over the site issues. I love the Johnstown gatherings and my garden is full of plants which came from my .ie friends. I do use the FB page a lot, but if the site works OK when it's revamped I will make a concerted effort to put up journals and albums more often.

I would add my pleas to Craig and the team to save our past journals somehow. I have the garden photos in a PC file and keep a general garden diary, but the journals have been invaluable and a wonderful record of how our garden has evolved. 

It would be very sad if the site were to fold, but Hazel's right and it's up to us to keep it going. 

Jemo Jemo 24 November 2017 08:47:50

Hi Folks, it’s been quite a while since I have posted here and my reasons are these... the site has become the author of its own destiny, it’s slow to post files,and if you try to post a photo it may or may not allow you to. I gave up the last time as the photo attached was appearing upside down.... it is in dire need of root and branch updating. Facebook may not be to everybody’s taste but it works and we have a dedicated group there.I find our group on FB quick and efficient to use

Periwinkle Periwinkle 24 November 2017 11:14:00

I have been a member of this online Club since the beginning and have benefited from it in friendships made, experiences shared and the advice and knowledge of others. 

However,  like many of you,  I now use my phone most of the time and Facebook is much more accessible from that and easier to use.  The main drawback of Facebook is the lack of journals.

I certainly wouldn't like to loose touch with the mamy wonderful gardening friends I hsve made over the years.

Michelle finn Michelle finn 24 November 2017 11:54:02

I have been a member since December 2008 . I loved this site and made many friends. I stopped putting up posts because I had a lot of trouble with posting photos etc . And as Jackie has said Facebook is instant. I can post as many photos as I want. If the new site will be good I will definitely come back but there needs to be a massive improvement 

MargieD MargieD 24 November 2017 20:54:42

Am now realising that my 'upside down' photo wasnt my fault in previous journal!

And on earlier post above, Ive no idea where the ?? came from.

I now understand all your comments.


Keego Keego 24 November 2017 21:47:30

First of all hazel thanks for posting this journal. I first joined the site in 2008 and in the early years I learned so much from all the members on the site. When I finally plucked up the courage to go to my first get together it was brillant. I have since been to a few of the Christmas get togethers as well as several visits to other members gardens and feel honoured and privileged to have met such lovely people. I have received and given plants over the years and it is so lovely to have these shared memories and Momentoes. None of this would have been possible without this site. Whilst I don't post journals very often any more due to the length of time it takes, if there was some improvements made I would post here rather than face book. I do not get the same feeling of community on the face book page. My vote goes to keeping this very special club going and I for one will definely go to the get together if one is organised this year. Looking forward to the next ten !!!

PeterW PeterW 25 November 2017 09:43:44

Super journal Hazel, I have been a member since late 2011 where I just watched for a few months before posting my 1st journal. I knew absolutely nothing and had next to near no plants at the time and I couldn't get enough of this site everyday checking all the time as journals used to be constantly going up all day long. The site was a hive of activity and I could tell everybody was so close and a proper gardening family. I got so much enthusiasm from this site....

PeterW PeterW 25 November 2017 09:48:47

...that I prob wouldn't have gotten from facebook. It made me want to try so many new plants, bulbs, seeds etc. Got great ideas and saw us all grow as gardeners and friends together. Sad to say now tho if the site is not changed then that is that, people will not come back as it hasn't moved with the times but we all have. Quick and easy is what we need here to keep people on it. Facebook will never be the same but I use it now because it's easier and most people have moved over and therefore not much interaction here anymore. We get promised the moon but nothing in return.

JoanG JoanG 26 November 2017 20:41:31

Thanks for posting this journal Hazel.  I've been a member since early 2012 (I think) and had been reading journals before then.  As others have said above, the friendships I have made through the site, the sharing of plants, advice, successes and failures, gardening knowledge, meet-ups, visits and the comradeship of like-minded folk have enriched my life over these years.  While I enjoy the photos, it is the journals that I value most and I always get a thrill when I log in and find new posts.  (continued below)

JoanG JoanG 26 November 2017 20:45:08

Contd ...

Sadly these are fewer recently; I too think this is mainly due to technical problems and hope the new site really is coming soon.  While I do use Garden.ie Friends on FB occasionally, I don't like Facebook and far prefer the sense of community here.  I love our annual get-together and hope it will happen again in January and in years to come.  Thanks for giving us the chance to say how much the site means to us; I hope Gerry, Craig and the team are reading this. 


ClaireE ClaireE 28 November 2017 23:13:25

Hi Hazel and all, I used to love posting and reading posts on this site, but stopped 2 years ago after experiencing ongoing problems uploading photos. I persisted for a good while before I gave up, but it became too time-consuming and frustrating.

Facebook is quick and easy but does not serve the same purpose in my opinion. There is such an overload of pictures/stuff/shares on it, including on a garden specific page like this one, that personally I lose interest. Reading actual accounts of people's gardens here is more interesting! If this site was updated and worked efficiently, I'd be back. 

As regards get togethers, I enjoyed the few I attended, I just wasn't always able to go. In the past couple of years, I felt my contributions to the site were non existent so it wasn't right to attend!

Joann Joann 29 November 2017 22:52:59

Hi Hazel and all the gang,

I havent been on the site in a while mainly due to lack of personal time, but I still do pop in every now and then just to see whats going on. I agree with everyones sentiments regarding what a great group of friends we have all made and our January gathering is something to look forward to every year for me.

I would be very sad if this site was no more, mainly because this may cause the loss of all our plant info, chats and pics which are invaluable to us all. I have often googled a plant only to be directed to garden.ie and a members journal, whereby I would find all I want to know and also know someone who might share that particular plant with me!!!

As I dont use facebook this site would  be my only contact with most of you, so hopefully it wont be lost forever but reborn in 2018 like the phoenix from the ashes, bigger brighter and easier to use and post


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