Well; now I've joined Blotanical. Esther was a member and my guess is she wouldn't have met so many people who love to grow things without it.
And I've been busy getting my 'Plot' space ready - filling in the form about my favourite flowers and trees and my lack of expertise and that kind of thing.
I've even had two messages - one from Stuart who runs the show (everyone gets one of those when they join, it's a bit like getting a telegram from the Queen)
and one from Barbee (who has a wonderful blog - take a look!).
Although many serious garden enthusiasts and experts are listed in the Blotanical Directory and although it's a good route to some excellent gardening blogs with friendly writers who are glad to chat and swap opinions and give advice and generally be very pleasant and encouraging company, although all these things are true, I also think it appeals to the secret child that lurks in almost everyone.
There's a sort of 'sticker section' on each member's 'Plot' where the emblems of other 'Blotanists' pop up when you press a little button to say they are among the best writers of blogs.
And there's a notice to say where your own blog comes in the affections of other Blotanists - which is a sort of aggregate (I think) of how many people have put your blog in their lists or 'Picked' out one of your posts as specially worthy of note. In fact, there are so many ways of collecting points of different kinds, and stickers of your favourite blogs and having your stickers stuck in other people's plots - it's a bit like swapping picture cards or counting red cars or all sorts of other things we enjoyed when we were children and are secretly sad to have left behind.
So . . . there it is . . . a mixture of the practical and the companionable, the informative and the supportive, with experts and novices alike tipping in together to re-live some of their childhood instincts for collecting things and being competitive in a very jolly and harmless way while (hopefully) becoming better gardeners, or better appreciators of growing things, or more knowledgeable or something like that along the way.
And I said that all that in one breath!
How strange. Someone's just put a dried nettle through my letterbox.