Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is This The End For Blotanical ?



I have been a member of Blotanical since July 28, 2008. At that time I was  new to Garden Blogging and at that time  you could not find but a few other garden bloggers by using search engines.
Then one day I ran across Blotanical and I was one happy gardener.
Thanks to  Stuart Robinson the founder of  Blotanical  I was able to meet fellow gardeners who had the same passion for gardening that I did.
Over the years Blotanical has grown by leaps and bounds and more and more gardeners, landscapers and designers have joined and we all have reaped the rewards and have learned so much because of Stuart and Blotanical. It has had some growing pains over the years but doesn’t every new venture have those periods of learning and change?
I have learned through Blotanical and its garden bloggers that gardeners are the most giving people in the world.
And speaking of the world, where else could you meet and read blogs from gardeners from literally all over the world.
I love being able to see all those faraway gardens and culture that I would not have been able to see. Let’s face it, a poor girl from the hills of Ohio is just not able to afford to travel to France, Germany, Italy or tropical islands. And although I would love to travel “down under” and see Australia it will just not happen. With Blotanical I have been able to go to all of these and get acquainted with its gardeners and their gardens.
When my garden is sleeping it is wonderful to be able to visit tropical gardens of those in warmer climates to get my flower fix on a cold snowy day.
Some of those gardeners that I have gained the pleasure of coming to know through Blotanical are now like old friends to me even though we have never met face to face.
Without Blotanical I would not have found them.

Now to the reason I have chosen to write about Blotanical.
Some of you may not check the Blotanical updates or get the Blotanical Blog on your Google Readers but the New Version of Blotanical that was suppose to roll online in February may now not only not come on line but Stuart is even considering other options for the whole Blotanical site.
I am going to take the liberty here to post Stuart’s latest posting to Blotanical followers because I do not want any of my followers to be ignorant to what is going on and not have a chance to express their wishes to Stuart.

So close…yet so far!
March 7, 2012

Version 2 has hit a major pothole in its journey. While we have been planning to get this updated version out before the end of last month (February 2012) it hasn’t happened – obviously!

The programmer that I had employed has gone AWOL with the site still sitting in limbo with many of the modules very incongruous. Alas, he hasn’t been returning my emails and hasn’t been available for online chats of the situation.

This has left me in an awkward position as my programming expertise is fairly basic – see Version 1. We have been building it on the Codeigniter framework for which I have a limited understanding and need to pour hours of time in getting fluent with it.

Therefore, I am now assessing what the next step is.

The options as I see it are;

1. Find and create a team of developers to finish the site and bring this update to fruition (more time and money required)
2. Abandon the site and let it become the MySpace of the gardening world
3. Sell the site, as is, to someone who would like to continue the project

I’m sharing these thought processes with you so that you don’t feel that I’m ignoring your requests but I’m not sure which option to go with at the moment.

Now I realize some of you have found your garden buddies and have them all lined up in your Google Reader and on Facebook but I for one am sad at the three options left to Stuart for the future of Blotanical and I also still enjoy Blotanical and try to participate every chance I get with contributing to it. I still enjoy meeting new gardeners and trying to help them if I can in any way.
And I do not like to see it abandoned or sold off.
So how do you feel about this latest news?
If you have some suggestions or answers and you still enjoy Blotanical or are just loyal to Stuart for helping us all meet then now is the time to get in touch with him and let your voice be heard.
Go to the Blotanical Blog below:


Thank you all for letting me vent to you on this issue but it would make me terribly sad to not bring it to your attention and be silent while Stuart is trying to make these decisions and you not know what was going on. Maybe you have the answers or can help. I know there are many talented people that enjoy Blotanical.
Stuart may need our support now and we should give it to him since he was the one who brought us all together.

Happy Garden Blogging,

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Muhammad khabbab said...

That is a sad news. I met some wonderful garden blogger through blotanical. I wish best of luck to stuart. I hope things will be better in near future.

elaine rickett said...

Like you, I would be sad to see Blotanical go, although I have only been with the site for less than a year, I have met lots of nice people and read lovely blogs that I wouldn't have otherwise found. I think maybe Stuart is jumping the gun a little and it will all sort itself out in the end. I hope so.

Becca's Dirt said...

I went over to blotanical and left a message. I hope Stuart finds someone to fix things and get it back on track.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't seen this, so thanks for bringing to our attention. As far as I'm concerned, Blotanical "ended" a long, long time ago when Stuart abandoned it. Thus why I rarely visit the site at all. I've got the contact information of all the dear friends and gardening buddies I've met there, and while I thank Stuart for his work over the years to create the site, I personally don't care what he does with it, one way or the other. Too many things that don't work, problems that were never addressed, etc. for me. And I've been there since 2007. I've actually tried to remove my blog from the site, but it seems a bit like Hotel can check in but you can never leave. ;-)

I hope Spring soon comes your way!

Sunita said...

Quite a distressing thought, Lona. Like you, I discovered Blotanical in 2008 and have made so many garden friends around the world. I can't imagine not being able to be in touch with them and meeting more garden-bloggers via Blotanical any more.
Of course, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that Stuart manages to swing this through like he always does.

Sunray Gardens said...

It's sad but I understand his position. Maintaining a website without the other complications he has, is expensive. When you add in paying someone for such, especially what he has developed, the costs really add up. I wish him luck.
Cher Sunray Gardens

Rohrerbot said...

It has been in limbo for some time now. I tried to get the thing going but it was really hard to figure it all out. It has sounded like he hasn't had the time to get to the necessary upgrades because he himself is he needs a team and some manpower. I hope it works out because as you put it....this is where many of us had met.

Christine @ The Gardening Blog said...

Thanks for the heads up! I will be very sad if Blotanical ends.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I really like your template!

Cinj said...

Oh no, that is so sad! It has been quite some time since I was last able to visit Blotanical, but I met so many great people there it would be sad indeed to abandon or sell it. I take it that it's not working very well these days? :(

Cinj said...

Oh no! I met so many great people on Blotanical. That would be sad if it gets abandoned or sold.

Lona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I saw this the other day and was just checking to see if the new version was ever going to happen. As much as I loved Blotanical when the whole Picks thing started I found it too much work and didn't really like the idea of rating posts. I agree that getting to see gardens all over the world has been so fun and getting to know the gardeners is even better. I hope it can get taken care of because I know it's a great way to find blogs that you probably wouldn't find otherwise.

Terra said...

Perhaps Stuart will find a successful solution.

Bernie H said...

It is a sad situation as Blotanical has been a platform where many gardeners have been able to not only share their own blog/s, but also meet so many like-minded people. If it does go under, I'm not sure there's any other site that would be able to do the same thing.

Despite the problems with the site in recent times, it has served a purpose and served it extremely well.

I, like many others, started a blog just out of a desire to 'have a go'. Upon finding Blotanical, I suddenly discovered I had a 'following' and that there were others who were interested in what goes on in my corner of the gardening world. Without Blotanical, I doubt very much that would have happened quite so quickly.

Fingers crossed, something constructive can be done, and the site doesn't just disappear into the virtual wilderness. Thanks for highlighting the issue Lona.

HolleyGarden said...

Thanks for posting this, as I hadn't seen it. It has been very nice, easy, and beneficial being able to find other garden bloggers through Blotanical. But I could never tell Stuart what to do, as I don't know what income/expenses/etc. he has. I hope he will make the wisest decision possible.

Cat said...

Oh, this is a shame. If not for Blotanical I wouldn't have discovered so many diverse and interesting blogs. Thanks for taking the time to inform everyone about what is going on.


Hi Lona, I too joined Blotanical in 2008 and before that, I had very few online gardening friends. Blotanical got me connected to so many sweet people, like yourself! I'd hate to see such a valuable resource slip away into oblivion. I wonder if Stuart should just simplify the site to a blog directory without the message boards, plots, rating systems and other gizmos. We've got Facebook and Twitter for that kind of thing and we're all so busy. I think Blot. could remain a wonderful resource for everyone, including those new to garden blogging. The extra fluff really doesn't need to be there, just the links to garden blogs, perhaps by state or country. No need to employ a programmer for this. It's already done. I say Stuart should simplify and stick with it. Who knows what the future holds? He may decide at some point to upgrade. I'd hate to see him shut it down altogether. This is my two bits. I'll follow your link and reply to his post. Thank you for the heads up, Lona. I've been away from your blog too long. I miss you.

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I hope that he finds a solution, Blotanical has garnered many positive changes over the years.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

David said...

As a gardener that just joined Blotanical it does make me sad to find out about this. I wonder if the programer that went AWOL understands that over 3,000 garden blogs are involved.
I must admit I'm amazed at how much Stuart must have to do to have an online community. I could never imagine.
Hope he hangs in there. Of course, I see nothing wrong with version 1 because I have nothing to compare it to.

PlantPostings said...

I hadn't seen Stuart's latest blog post. That would be very sad. Blotanical really gave me lots of exposure when my blog was new. I'll hop over and share my thoughts with Stuart. I hope he can work something out.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

That's too bad. I found all of my blogging friends via his site. :((

Donna@GWGT said...

I had not seen this either. Thank you for the notice. I really enjoyed Blotanical the first year, but in the last few months it was slow and unreliable and I just pretty much gave up. I have tried to repay those that visit and checked in only for them sadly. It was just too frustrating to use the site. I feel bad Stuart was abandoned, but there must be much more to this story. It will be quite different if Blotanical is gone, wondering how many bloggers will just disappear. I think it was responsible for many folks blogging and getting to know many they would have never found.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I have been following this via the Blotanical blog. I used Blotanical a good bit when I first started blogging, but the picks stuff get to be too much of a hassle.
I like your new header and the sidebars, but I have to say, it is hard to read with the four 'doves' on the face of the written area.

Teresa O said...

I stopped visiting Blotanical quite some time ago. I agree, Lona, it was/is a great place to meet gardeners from around the world and tour exotic gardens without ever leaving my chair, but the problems and the ratings eventually drove me away. For all those still using Blotanical, I hope Stuart finds a solution that make as many people, including himself, happy.

NellJean said...

I wondered if there would be blog posts regarding Blotanical. Thank you for opening the door. I thought it pretty obvious when only 43 of us signed onto the 'new News' that there was not much interest in the site as a whole any more.

My thoughts are that going back to the original format where a pick was a pick and the Help Desk was not intimidating would be a start. Inactivating the deadwood from more than 2000 members would be high on my list.

Kimberly said...

Lona, so glad you posted about this. As you know, I've cut back considerably with my blogging, due to "life". However, I came to know the majority of my blogging friends via Blotanical, including you! I enjoy the site, when I am able to participate. I am loyal to Stuart as well, as he has created the site we know and love. I'm so sad that his efforts have led him to this point. I will give him my support, as best I can. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Autumn Belle said...

I certainly do not wish to see the day when Blotanical says bye-bye. I cherish all the friendships made and look forward to making new ones. Blotanical's strength is as the meeting place for garden bloggers but the pick and rating system takes up too much time. Now Blotanical have to compete with Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and other Mobile Apps for bloggers time. Blotanical may need to revamp again and change with the times, otherwise the money spent will be wasted. Hopefully the new version will not become a white elephant.

patientgardener said...

Thanks for sharing this. I too am sad, Blotanical turned blogging around for me and I would be very sad to see it go. Would it not be possible for it to carry on as is for now as it seems to work well.

Elephant's Eye said...

Thanks for sending Stuart's update out to a wider circle of once were Blotanists. I wonder what will happen to Blotanical? I miss what it was, before most said too slow, too busy.

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

Thanks for the update, Lona. I had not read about it yet, but had been wondering. Blotanical certainly has been an amazing social "garden blog" force since I discovered it a year ago. Your photo collage at the top is lovely btw!

Indie said...

Thanks so much for posting this, as I had not read the latest news. That is really sad - it has been a really great site to get involved with the garden blogging community. Even with all its warts, it's still such a great concept. What this site needs is an actual programmer to run it. I hope Stuart is able to figure out a way to keep it going!

scottweberpdx said...

OMG...that is so sad...yeah, I don't probably go on as often as I used to, but I still check it once in a while and have met some great folks because of it.

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Lona, Thank you so much for exposing this to those Blotanists who do not follow Stuart's blog. I left a message there that maybe Stuart should just leave things as they are, but in retrospect, maybe greatly simplifying the site would be better. I just hope it doesn't go away completely. P. x

NellJean said...

Me again. It is interesting that you've had almost 3 times as many comments about this subject as were made to the original announcement. I think that says something about communication from Blotanical, which may be part of the problem.

The Garden On Loch Ness said...

Great post Lona - I too am hoping Blotanical (In one form or another) continues to bloom on the net, I have found many great blogs through on the site and have a real affection for the community which is pretty rare on the net. Best Wishes, Cat

Joe Todd said...

Hoping for the best but I'm pretty sure it will turn out as it should whatever that may be..

James said...

All good things come to an end and I wonder if it's time for Blotanical. I haven't had the energy to visit it in its current state. Of course if there's a snazzy revamp with meaningful changes, I'll be quick to come back for a look.

Swimray said...

I started with Blotanical, but found the clique that exists there a tough nut to crack, and the site systems seem to be set up to prevent new bloggers from full participation. Still, it was and is a great resource to find so many garden bloggers from all over the world; and that's what I use it for. That purpose alone makes it worthwhile.

It would be a loss for me because of the enormous list of garden blogs and for the future promise such a directory holds. Maybe the site is trying to be and do too much - keep it simple?