Are there garden experts out there that resent the abundance of horticultural advice that is posted online? Sometimes, I get the impression that they would prefer to be the only authoritative voices. I first became aware of this situation last year when I discovered disparaging remarks written by an established garden expert. She was insultingly critical of some garden writers’ opinions and, to avoid censure, stealthfully buried her thoughts in the “comment” section of a fellow gardener’s blog. Another garden expert was not so discrete and publicly expressed her dismissiveness of garden bloggers, as an off-the-cuff response to a question on a radio progtam. She stated that they tend to post incorrect advice. [I learned about this latest affront from Sheila at The Stopwatch Gardener].
The goal of every gardener is to create beauty and pleasure. As we strive in that direction, we adopt rules that seem to help us accomplish our objectives and we discard rules that are obstacles. If, along the way, we have made mistakes in judgment; nature will tell us so by not permitting a plant to thrive. Whether our actions in the garden appear to be successful or disappointing, we are eager to report the results to our supportive blogging peers. The absolute right to post our thoughts is now a forgone conclusion.
When we publish advice that is mistaken or that is not universally applicable, members of our online community tell us so and the doubtful information is usually corrected. Furthermore, some of our blogs are read by many garden hobbyists outside our circle and, for their sake, we need always to be as accurate as possible. However, because we are human, sometimes we stumble. Fortunately, the blogging community is far more forgiving of inaccuracies or omissions than are members of other media.
With or without professional credentials in horticulture or writing, and for better or for worse, technology has permitted many to become garden writers or botanical photographers. Judging the high quality of some of the work that is posted online daily, either as a blog, a photo journal, or a comment, it is clear that we have exceptionally talented people within our garden blogging community.They deserve to be celebrated and not derided.
I wonder if we garden bloggers are accelerating the dialogue of new ideas at a speed uncomfortable for a few established experts. Some are not prepared to welcome modernity in gardening techniques or design, and others are unable to appreciate garden blogging altogether. Regardless of their attitude, we must be prepared to be confronted by them, at any moment. It might be their destiny to forever be dismissive of those who err, who contradict them, or steal their thunder. Perhaps they are unaware to what extent they demean themselves when they broadcast disparaging remarks or derisive comments.