The Garden

My friend and his wife had a garden. This was a few years ago now. Actually they worked on that garden for about forty years. She went off to Horticultural College to learn as much as she could because the two of them wanted to make the best garden they could. It was near Mount Macedon and although I have a photo of gardens in the area I will not show you theirs because I can’t ask them. They died about three years ago. It was not an accident or anything like that. They were older than I and they did most things together. He had a heart attack and she died, gently, about six months later.

Toward the end of their life together many of their friends suggested that they open the garden to visitors. They did. Their families, those that could, came up to visit and some stood at the front gate to hand out a brochure and a map and Gerry and Barbie just stood around watching the visitors as they wandered all over looking at the flowers and trees and pathways that had been developed with a lot of hard work and effort. When the gates were closed and the visitors had gone a few of us remained to have a glass of wine and a chat.

“Well. We won’t do that again,” said Barbie and Gerry agreed.

“Why ever not. It was a great success.”

“Maybe. But it was hard to know. Only about three people actually said anything. Some people looked at us and smiled or nodded, but most people just walked around and spoke amongst themselves and then got in their cars and went home.”

“But surely it was a success,” said Gerry’s brother. “I counted and there were two hundred and thirty four people came through the gate.”

“Yes and twenty of them were family. We know how much our family like the garden. But it would have been nice if some of the visitors had taken the trouble to say a few words.”

“Maybe they were a bit embarrassed and didn’t know what to say.”

“I wouldn’t have cared what they said. Just a little, ‘Thank You” or a “It’s a lovely garden” would have been nice,” Barbie said.

I couldn’t say much to change their disappointment.

Now, some people ask me where I get the idea for my stories. Well today is the anniversary of the day they opened their garden. I was cleaning up a box of papers and came across the brochure and I thought about it. And I thought how similarly I feel at times when I check my blog in the evening. On Saturday there were 278 times when people looked at my posts. And on only 21 occasions did any people say they liked what they read and only 7 comments were made. And looking back I can understand why Gerry and Barbie felt so disappointed. They put a life of hard work into their garden and it would have been nice if a few more visitors had said something.

31 thoughts on “The Garden

  1. I know how you feel, except that now, as a seasoned blogger, I very rarely look at the stats. on my blog(s).

    I understand how little time some people have when they’re working full-time, have social lives or many daily commitments. None of my family or (real life) friends follow my blogs. None of my direct family are connected to me on Facebook.

    With the internet, you only know what people tell you. One does not know the stories behind the facade they present online. One doesn’t know how many blogs they follow or what they’re truly interested in. They might only look at blogger’s new posts once per week. They may spend the bulk of their online time on other social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

    Or, I have noticed certain people tend to ‘like’ my own posts about once a month. Maybe they devote their time to their real lives 29 days per month and cruising blogs like mine one day per month. I have also noticed that since I don’t follow many blogs now, those blogs I’ve had to drop don’t follow me.

    Since my eyesight and health are declining I spend less and less time on the computer anyway.

    Don’t be disappointed in the lack of ‘likes’ or ‘comments’ (when you look at the stats).

    They are merely ‘stats’, not people 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This post on the elderly couple and their garden was so original. Often when things happen like their event nobody ever knows what they feel afterwards. It’s so true that a kind word or an interested question can light the day for somebody or inspire to do more. I think also the age plays a role. Elderly people have lived a long life and has gathered life experience but their knowledge is not always so attractive for younger people to get hold of.
    Like you I also enjoy if somebody take the time to comment a post before it disappear in the big “reader”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I can imagine you just talking all afternoon with Gerry and Barbie would have got so annoyed with you taking up all his time and he would have been strutting around like a turkey.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It all depends on why you write a blog. Is it because you want to produce a finished product, is it because you have a message to tell everybody about or do you want to attract lots of people who find fluffy animals interesting?


    1. Actually I set out to tell people, my family in particular, about the life that we lived in ‘the bush’. Then I noticed that people from overseas started to become interested, so I started writing for them as well and I became interested in what they wrote (people like jfwknifton for example. ) So it became a sort of partnership. As you say, some people have an agenda and stick to it. But I think I prefer playing tennis. You write about something and I get an idea to write something in return.
      Maybe the fluffy animals are there for the changing of ends.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Remarkable to think that only a handful of people (out of more than 200) took the time to say something to Barbie and Gerry. I can understand their disappointment.

    As for blogs, I click like to let people know I stopped by and comment when I think I have something worthwhile to say. And I’m starting to cull the number of blogs I follow. Will start with the person who is now adding up to 15 posts per day.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Peggy, it drives me nuts when people post multiple posts EVERY single day (these days).

      Now, I know how followers felt when I posted 3-4 times EVERY day for the first few years I was blogging. It must have driven them crazy. I have ‘off’ days now when I don’t use the computer at all (except to check for urgent emails).

      Nowadays I’m happy to interact with just 5-6 regulars.

      My (now) continuous severe headaches and eyestrain means I have several days off in a row without blogging and blog commenting, so regulars will probably notice I don’t ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on all of their posts.

      Peggy, I don’t know how you keep up all your correspondence online.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome to the “Club”; I’d be amazed if I had but half the response you get. True mine are few, and far between now, and as one of our followers once noted, are sadly lacking in punctuation. I never was taught, that I’m pretty much an autodidact and never seemed to have time fo such nonsense.

    The idea, well at least mine is, is that it’s something to do to pass the time, I only do it when I’m having fun. and if the few followers I do have have a bit of fun with their comments then it’s a good post.

    It’s also a good way to say how you’re feeling if you have nobody around that’s at all interested in how or what you’re doing or feeling. I think we’re both in this boat.

    So cheer up chum, bugger the lot post away and have fun! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Firstly, I too appreciate every comment and wish there were more of them. It’s sad when effort goes unrewarded. (Sad is a neutral word, I could use others.)
    Regarding comments: There’s a lot to be said (and a lot of delicate ground to be trodden).
    Why we do things that we do (for others or for us), what we expect when we give ourselves (gratitude from others or pleasure from the giving), whether if you give to person A it might not be person B who gives you something in return, and whether opening your garden to others (a garden you initially did for yourself) is comparable to posting well-researched, well-composed blog articles for the purposeful perusal of others …
    Also, I’ve been on the other end of such (garden) events, and depending on how approachable a host is, I may or may not feel daunted to come up and say hello, even if I’ve spent the past hour waxing lyrical to my friend about their achievements. Likewise, for blogs: some are more friendly, some more daunting.
    (Random thought: Sometimes a work of art needs to be viewed independently of the artist for it to be appreciated for *what it is*, than for *where it came from*. For example, I suspect that some authors are/were rather unpalatable characters and that meeting them would have soured the experience of reading there works. Does this give them a right to feel ignored or unappreciated? After all, I did spend some fraction of my life consuming their work—to put it brutally.)
    Now for the crucial question: what would you prefer, fifty throwaway comments equivalent to ‘nice’, ‘I enjoyed that because I do similar stuff’, ‘great, looking forward to more’, or a single person to write an interesting comment that gets you thinking?
    The fifty are nice, but I’m guessing the one (as long as it’s not always the same person) is preferred. Of course, after a while, one is not enough, two is better etc etc.
    I wish I could write vaguely thought-through (if not insightful) comments more often, but here’s the rub: a thoughtful comment takes 5 or 10 or 20 or 20+ minutes to write … Add time and multiply—so I can afford only a few, sparingly, well-chosen, well-places. Worse, sometimes this comment is unseen, or unanswered, or just ‘liked’ and what then? Shouldn’t every good comment be answered with a good comment? We have to draw the line somewhere, but where? What one person considers polite, the other—half a world away—might not.
    Whatever happens, don’t lose heart. The internet is big enough: someone out there is always reading, even if their comments are lost in the wind.


    1. Thank you so much. There are some people who make really appreciative comments and others who make really helpful comments and both are welcome. When I started blogging I got some very good advice in a lot of different areas. Some of those people have become so much a part of my blog life that a quick ‘hi. saw it’ is all it takes. With some it is banter but never are there any that become patronising. There have been one or two that just seemed to be formulaic and they have eventually gone by the way.
      I have always said about teaching that all teaching should have an element of the theatre about it. And in that regard I suppose I have always been a bit of an actor. And an actor always like to get an audiences reaction because it makes him perform better. I know that if I get a few good comments I try to respond. As John Knifton said, it depends on why one writes.
      I write for the same reason I taught. Because I like talking to people.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s interesting, about the acting and the talking … Blogging is similar to those, I agree, but also very different. The masks we wear in real-life interactions (even over the phone) are breathing, quick-moving things; the ones online are sluggish, almost static in comparison. That’s not even assuming that anyone is deliberately being dishonest online, merely that this is the nature of the blogging/commenting interaction. It’s more like chess—move for move—than like dancing.


      2. Can I think about that for a while? You are right about the dishonesty. I am deliberately evasive. But most of the people who read my posts over a long time seem to have a fairly good idea. I hide my real self behind the fiction because my real self is a creation of all the people and the relationships I have had over the last 70 years. Some of those relationships have been positive, some negative and some downright toxic. I have hurt people in the process who never deserved to be hurt. And I’m not going to say anymore. Except, thanks. But there are a lot more stories left to tell.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “You are right about the dishonesty. I am deliberately evasive.”

        I’m sorry, I didn’t mean you; I was speaking in generalities (no subtext intended!)

        Feel free to drop in on a random post of mine and share (un)related thoughts, or to send me a link to a pertinent post of yours if you think I missed it. Whenever.


      4. , Can I think about that for a while? You are right about the dishonesty. I am deliberately evasive. But most of the people who read my posts over a long time seem to have a fairly good idea. I hide my real self behind the fiction because my real self is a creation of all the people and the relationships I have had over the last 70 years. Some of those relationships have been positive, some negative and some downright toxic. I have hurt people in the process who never deserved to be hurt. And I’m not going to say anymore. Except, thanks. But there are a lot more stories left to tell.
        If you click the link you will get a privacy note. But just follow the prompts and you will have access to a lot of my early stuff’n’nonsense,


  7. Oh dear. This blog of Paol’s is sad – the word ‘a Quiver of Quotes’ used. But it isn’t just non comments on blogs and gardens. We went off to Africa many years ago and whenever we came home family and friends wanted to tell us about themselves and fill us in. Well we didn’t mind that but very, very few ever asked us about our time away.
    And as Infinite Zip said …it leaves us all with a very lonely feeling. WE do need to let folk know that we really do care. Yes?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, I’m just gunna click “like” and bugger off. LOL. Seriously – you get 278 people looking at 1 post? Ya killin’ me man – I think the best I ever did was 90. (except for my Broken Hill series, which seems to have turned into a travel reference, even if the local tourist office thought I was a nuisance when I tried to interest them). Try not to take it too hard if people don’t comment. I read Derrick Knight’s every day, but rarely comment, and then when I do, my comment is so long and detailed (are we seeing a pattern here?), that he probably just groans and thinks, oh no … not Gwen again. And don’t forget, if people comment, then you should respond, and that can be very time consuming – in the nicest sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First, are those photos of Gerry and Barbie’s house and garden? If so, it was drop dead fabulous. Not just because it was beautiful, but because of their unexpected hospitality. A great story about when and how we interact with people who connect with us in some way.

    As for your blog site, I second Gwen’s comment about the numbers who stop by! Nonetheless, I’m with you. Likes are nice; comments are precious. I think that’s where we get to know each other better–even though we may never meet in this life. I tend to come and visit when I’m able now. Not daily, as I did before my year of health stuff. Still, it’s a pleasure to catch up a bit. It’s also frustrating to see how much I’ve missed! I feel the tug of wanting to read everything you’ve posted. Which is impossible. You create a nice spread for us, and share more about yourself than you probably realize.

    Elouise 🙂


    1. No Elouise, the picture is not of their house because I wanted to maintain a certain anonymity. But it is representative of all the places in the area.. And Gwen’s comment made me stop and be pleased with what I get and not what I want.

      Liked by 1 person

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