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A year ago today, I began this blog. Funnily enough, today’s weather is remarkably similar to that cold, grey day when I lept into the abyss, although there are patches of sun and I’m making periodic dashes into the garden, to pick fruit for marmalade and wash dog vomit off the rug. I keep reminding my northern hemisphere friends to enjoy the warmth while it lasts as, like clockwork, winter is upon you and you’re dreaming about walking around in bare feet and a lounge room that doesn’t look like a Chinese laundry. And I’ve got that wintry impatience again, waiting for broccoli heads to appear and rainbow chard to get big enough to eat. Happily, due to the late onset of the cold, we’re still eating capsicum and beetroot, and there’s a pile of pumpkins that we’re working through, and lots of bottled, pickled and preserved stuff of course … Anyway, here’s a brief round-up of a year on The Buzz.

The Buzz – Some Moments of Note

  • July 26 2013: Probably missed by most, in the flurry of posts of the early days, Embracing Your Inner Dag remains one of my favourites, partially because it was dedicated to my friend Krysti; partially because I think it’s true; and partially because I got to take photos of my garden gnome in different poses. Mr Gnome in garden 2
  • October 15 2013: Fukushima is Here went a little bit viral as groups around the world participated in a day of recognition of the ongoing disaster that is the meltdown at the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant (198 views).
  • August 5 2013: Following a plea via LinkedIn, Andrew Lang reviewed the Victorian Agribusiness Forum for me, and has contributed to The Buzz ever since. So that was the start of a correspondence that ended up with me going to Sweden and Denmark last month, and attending the World Bioenergy 2014 conference. That review, along with other collaborations, such as World’s Most Liveable City Or Critical Mess – Melbourne At The Crossroads (249 views to date), continue to be read on a regular basis. grassOther notable posts sparked by Andrew’s ineffable insight and wit include The Paddocks of My Mind – A Farmer’s Perspective On Food Production. In my opinion, this is a beautiful piece, enhanced by some equally beautiful photos of the Western District’s agricultural and scenic bounty.
  • July 20 2013: The first contributor who wasn’t me was Russell Ponting, who posted his recipe for Jalapenos in Brine. Needless to say, living with a chilli obsessive as I do, we now have shelves of Russell’s jalapenos. It’s a great recipe, and with it I discovered the joys of someone else posting on The Buzz. view from the deckThis led on to the now famous A Small Place, about Russell, Lisa and Turlough’s backyard vegetable garden in Melbourne’s inner north. Who would’ve thought, a few months down the track, that this humble post would attract 3639 views, coming third only to The Buzz homepage (which is fair enough) and The Best Beetroot Relish Recipe in the World – the outstanding winner on a massive 5454 views, largely attributable to accidentally good SEO. (After all, if you Google ‘beetroot relish’, you’re going to zero in on the ‘best in the world’, aren’t you.) But back to A Small Place, which, on a whim, I sent to the Container Gardening Alliance on Facebook. They shared my post and all hell broke loose. A Small Place racked up a mind-blowing 2341 views in one day, with another 1000 or so the next. It’s hard to know where to go after that kind of high.
  • One of the best things about this blog is that it’s got me out and about, visiting gardens and taking photos (so many photos). There’s Maggie’s Garden, West Brunswick Community Garden and Sprout; there’s Diggers at Heronswood and the magic of St Erth. Maple & Cabbage TreesAnd a place that is very dear to my heart and, I think, to my soul – Otway Herbs Nursery & Cottage Garden. I now have plants in my garden from all these places – it’s become a mosaic, just as I imagined it when I first moved here.
  • More than anything I value my readership, which stretches far and wide across the globe (that includes you, spammers) and has made the world a more positive place than it often seems (I have a feeling that’s bad grammar, but I’m not sure why). I’ve made a lot of connections through this blog, with Jason in Chicago of Garden in A City, Zahra from Pakistan and her amazing work with Crops in Pots, Diggers, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, to name just a few, and The Buzz has readers from approximately 127 countries out of the current 196 available (Taiwan is a country, depending on who you talk to). Since the start of 2014 (with the aid of the strategically placed Small Place and that ever reliable Beetroot Relish Recipe), The Buzz has been averaging 50+ views a day. That’s not a bad turnover in the amateur blogosphere, as far as I’m aware. So a big thanks is owed to all The Buzz readers, contributors and spammers alike. Onwards and upwards, as they say (whoever they is).

Garlic flowersPostscript: I’ve been reading a lot about 17th and 18th century France. ‘Plus ça change’ is quite apt, in context.