Friday, April 24, 2009

Blogging Blips and Tulip Trends

I've noticed in the last few weeks a rather strange phenomenon--Blogger has been slowing down. No, I don't mean the entity "Blogger," but rather the blogging community itself. Some bloggers are not posting as frequently as they once were, or their posts are shorter than usual. Comments are fewer in number, not only on my blog but on others' as well, and some bloggers are making shorter, if any at all, replies to the comments received.

One of a collection of tulip bulbs called "Color Magic"

I have decided that such an anomaly is worth careful study. You may question the need for this, but a short time ago I received an e-mail from a graduate student asking me to participate in a research study on whether bloggers' personalities are reflected in their blogs. I didn't have time to respond to this study, but I think if this was a worthwhile research project, then a study of cutbacks in blogging is certainly just as worthwhile.

"Pink Impression" hybrid tulips

I have spent some time collecting data and analyzing it. After much study and careful review, the finished research project is ready for publication. In the spirit of patriotism and a concern over the current economic crisis, I am publishing my findings at no cost, thereby saving our government from another huge expenditure. For the sake of brevity, I will offer here just the salient points of the project.

"Pink Impression" tulip

"Diminished Blogging Time: A Quantitative and Causal Analysis."

"Replete" daffodil

1. In any scientific study, factors which cause deviations from the norm must be identified and omitted before arriving at a general hypothesis. For example, some bloggers may be working extra hours at a job, or they may have family obligations that suddenly consume more of their time. Because this affects only a fraction of bloggers at any one time, this cause has been factored in as a standard deviation.

Unnamed Narcissus

2. Other causes, however, affect the entire blogging population. On the Saturday preceding Easter as well as Easter Sunday, for example, blog posts were noticeably fewer in number. Of those posts appearing that weekend, many were pre-scheduled. Thus, one valid conclusion that might be reached is that on holidays, bloggers are too busy to read or write blog posts.

"Pink Charm" and ruffled yellow daffodils

3. However, in order to determine a clearly identifiable cause for the general decrease in blogging in recent weeks, I had to use the scientific method. By reading many, many posts over this course of time, I made several noteworthy observations:

"Prince" tulip collection

A.There have been many sunny days in the past three weeks.

Orange "Color Magic"

B. Temperatures are rising.

"Color Magic" blooms

C. Spring bulbs have burst into bloom.

"Color Magic" closed blossom

D. New growth in the garden is apparent.

Flowering crabapples taken today

E. It is time to plant vegetables, trees, shrubs, and in some cases, perennials.

"Color Magic" again

F. I also noted that one blogger even has added a note to her comment box that she may not be able to respond to comments as frequently because she is spending as much time as possible in her garden. Of course, one person makes for a very small sampling, but it could be indicative of a more widespread attitude.

Fully opened "Color Magic"

From all of these observations, I finally reached a hypothesis:

In the springtime, Garden bloggers would rather spend their time BEING in their gardens than reading about them.

Almost ready to bloom--from a collection called "Monet"

Some may question the validity and reliability of this study, and I will freely admit that I am lacking any scientific background and that I have never taken a course in statistics. But I believe so strongly in this hypothesis that I am willing to conduct a second, more thorough study if warranted. While I would remain the head of this project, I could enlist more professional help. Youngest daughter works for a prestigious institute at the University and is experienced in setting up experiments and collecting data. Financial analyst Son and Senior Accountant Daughter-in-law could aid in interpreting data and compiling statistics. Of course, they would need some compensation; thus, expanding the research team would require some government funding; I think a mere $100,000 would be sufficient, though we might be able to make some cutbacks and shave off 10 or 20 thousand.

Still to open--"Sunrise"

If you believe that this is a crisis worthy of further study, I ask you to write your representatives in Congress and urge them to support funding for this project. People all over the world would benefit from the findings, as evidenced by the global nature of our blogrolls. I would start on a smaller scale and seek funding for a state-wide study instead, but unfortunately our former free-spending Governor Blago is no longer in office and is currently awaiting trial on corruption charges and also busy trying to land a role on a new reality TV show. Our new Governor is cutting all non-essential expenditures, so any funding for new research studies is doubtful. Thus, the need to go national.

Any feedback on this study is appreciated, but it may be some time before I can complete such a follow-up study. As further evidence to support my theory, rather than reading my regular blogs this morning or posting this earlier as intended, the sunny skies and temperatures soaring into the 80's today beckoned me into the garden instead. Future research may have to be delayed until a rainy day . . .

On a final note, I want to wish everyone a Happy Arbor Day! I am spending the evening with dear friends celebrating Arbor Day, as has been our tradition for more than 20 years. We'll toast our favorite trees, like the old hackberry above, and might even plant one as well.


  1. Hurray! Your flowering crabs bloomed! Mine didn't, which proves that you live in the more temperate zone of the county.

    You're hypothesis is right. We're all outside. How can we resist, after the long winter we had?

  2. No need for further study, I'm certain that everybody is busy working in their gardens, going to garden centers for visiting botanic gardens now. Yesterday I no time to respond to my comments, and today I managed to crank out a post only because I got a blister from weeding and needed a break. Your Tulips are just lovely. I hope they didn't cook in today's heat.

  3. Really no need for more study... I know why I haven't been able to do much. I worked my job at school today, changed cloths at school and went right to work at the Garden Center. Left there and came home only to work outside in my herb garden until dark . It is 9:30 and I think I will have a bowl of cereal, if I have enough energy. Go put my cloths in the dryer for work tomorrow at garden center and FINALLY GO TO BED!!!.... tomorrow is going to be in the 80's so we will kick some butt at work tomorrow all day...
    Have a great weekend...

  4. Girl as I was reading this I thought she is definitely referring to me. I haven't been blogging much at all since I returned to work in March. I'm doing good to be able to read other blogs and comment on them. Right now I don't have time to respond to my commentors and I do hate that.

    Then I have to be outside in all this glorious weather working in my own beds. You know how that work never ends.

    So with all this being said I agree with the others, no further research is needed. Thanks Rose and have a lovely weekend!

  5. Loved this post. Sorry I don't have any more time to comment, I am off to do some gardening *chuckle*

  6. Some may question the validity and reliability of this study,No way! You have the most important element of reporting scientific findings: a colon in your title! As someone who worked as an editor for eight years is a scientific research setting, I can tell you, without reservation, that no self-respecting scientist would ever publish anything without a colon in the title, and, therefore, by extension, you are a valid scientific researcher. Quod erat demonstrandum, baby!
    P.S. PPPP seeds were mailed today. (Passive voice also cements your standing as a Serious Scientist(tm).)

  7. Hi Rose, I was noticing the same thing. I think you've hit the nail on the head! We're out in our gardens! Or sunning on the deck. Spring is here!! Yippee!

    Love your spring flowers, especially the crabapple trees.

  8. I enjoyed your scientific approach to this recent blight on blogging. You are not alone in your observations, dear colleague. There might be a slight deviation to account for, though. What you said makes sense for the northernmost group, but for us in the South, indoor season (or at least screen porch season) is coming on. Sun's getting hotter, and mosquitoes are out as soon as the sun drops below the horizon. I loved your story about last year's Arbor Day celebration. That name-recall game is one of our favorites now. Sometimes I have to go through the entire alphabet at least once to remember.

  9. Rose, Proof positive of the validity of your's way past my bedtime and I am just now getting over here to comment! After dragging the watering can around the was 88 degrees today...and then spending time with Mr I...I am pooped! Thanks for the link! Did I actually put that in print! Yikes! This is why they need to perfect cloning!
    We all need several selves!

    But all that aside, a wonderful post and your spring photos are delightful...I love Pink Impressions Tulip, actually, I love them all! I hope your weekend is deliciously wonderful. Hmm...did I see PPPP mentioned in a comment!


  10. That's an important study, Rose. I guess you must be right about the Spring making gardeners too busy to blog, but yes, I've myself observed that only 50% of people in my blogroll constantly update their blog and it was strange to me as I used to read all their blogs at least once in three days!
    BTW, your flower photos were too attractive that I got constantly distracted while reading your findings and I had to go over it again.

  11. Joyce, they're not in full bloom yet, but almost. This is my favorite time of year! I don't know about being more temperate here; the winds howl a lot stronger here than in "town."

    MMD, You've reminded me I never got around to replying to the rest of the comments on my last post. I didn't get a blister today, but my knees yelled "enough" after dividing day lilies and weeding one flower bed:)

    Lynn, After a day at school, I don't know how you have the energy to work another job! When I come home from substituting (no lesson plans or grading), I need a nap:)

    Susie, There's so much to be done in the garden right now, and I want to take advantage of any sunny weather we have--not to mention ogling the tulips--sitting in front of a computer screen is left to the evening--if I can stay awake:)

    Keewee, Definitely, enjoy your garden!

    Monica, LOL, your comments always make me laugh:) I haven't written a research paper since grad school, and never had to write anything scientific...well, maybe some ed psych papers. But writing reports for school, state "stuff," gave me lots of practice in "educationese." You learn the buzzwords that don't mean anything but look like you're up on the latest trends:) And all these years I have been teaching grammar, and didn't know this important use of the colon! Will be watching the mail...

    Wendy, Today was absolutely beautiful! Much too nice to spend in front of a computer monitor:)

    W2W, Thanks for pointing out a flaw in my study--of course, I was thinking too narrowly. You remember Illinois winters, so you can understand how excited we are when the sun finally shines and the temperature is above 70:) Thanks for taking the time to read my post from last year! The turn-out wasn't quite as big as last year, but we still had a great time...and still had to help each other remember names and faces:)

    Gail, I hope you don't mind the link--I noticed you don't have it in your comment box anymore, but I know you did say that recently, perhaps it was a comment you left at the top. We were in the 80's, too, today--just gorgeous! And if my knees hadn't given out, I would have worked even longer in the garden.
    Yes, Monica is sending me some PPPP seed; I'm so excited!

  12. Chandramouli, You are a dear for taking the time to read my silly study a second time:) I know I have been really behind in reading blogs as well as replying to comments lately. You don't have the drastic change in seasons we do, so let me say that after a long, cold winter, those of us in the northern US are so excited to see flowers in bloom and feel the sun on our faces that we don't want to spend any more time inside than we have to!

  13. Rose, You've done the government a BIG favor and oh yes, the blogging community too. A mere $100,000 is mighty cheap for such a study of this magnitude. If you like I can pitch in with the statistics as I am sure a direct correlation between high temperature days and less blogging will be easy to validate (remember statistics don't lie:) And oh how I hope it keeps being slow on the blogs; which of course means perfect weather and we are all in the garden! I feel so guilty when I'm not doing my blog but yet the garden and night! Mighty fine observations so now I'd better get to it-if only in my dreams....

    Have fun planting your tree and enjoying spring!

  14. I enjoyed that post!
    I feel that Spring?Summer is bad for blogging as there is so much to do in a garden/allotment or else just being in the sunshine after a miserable year.
    I have noticed even in Wintertime that bloggers do not comment on Saturdays or Sundays during day time (I am an exception!)
    However the *real* blogger has been playing up too. Sometimes not displaying the latest blog on the blogger gadget, so people don't always know about a recent post.

    Do you think people get *tired* after they've been blogging for a while (18 months-2 yrs)? I have noticed some excellent bloggers have become hermits! Great pity!

  15. Dear Rose.....

    Beautiful blooms and is a pleasure to take in the joys of your garden...your tulips are much better than mine......

    I must admit to not blogging as much at the issues and spending every waking hour working in the garden plus everything else we woman do, has left me too tired to bother....

    As for visiting other blogs I have kept mine to a selected few (yours being one of them). I am only visiting the people I class as my friends......

    When time allows I shall visit all again but if this weather holds...well.......

    Have a lovely evening with your friends.....

    Best wishes.....

  16. This is an important study Rose and I'd certainly noticed a similar cause and effect acrosss the pond - in fact I'm guilty as charged too!

    Perhaps you need to ask for additional funding for the complementary study to answer the question whether our Antipodean friends are blogging more now they're on the descent into winter?

  17. Your attentive eye and common sense have already solved the "problem" of less posts and answers to your questions about why people haven't been blogging so much lately. However like many other curious scientists that already know the answer to a question, you can probably get a government grant to study such question. I think with this money you should actually travel to all of your garden blogger gardens to actually "see" these people in their gardens doing what ever keeps them from their computers. You can start here since I live so close. Good luck and I will be glad to be a travel companion to see all said gardens. Of course you would use the grant money to pay my way around too. I could be your scribe. :)

  18. I've been experiencing this blogging/commenting phenomenon as well and believe this is a much more complex problem and will require way more funding than you've proposed. I'd like to join forces and request at least a couple of million... we'll mention an endangered species in our grant and it will be sure to be accepted. We can also study the affect on our blogs of having a lot more money to spend on our gardens. Yes, this is important research and now seems to be the time to get funding...

  19. Rose, this post will go down in the annals of garden blogdom as a classic! Loved reading it - what fun! Seriously though, this is a very important study, one that's sure to garner a grant. It seems Lisa has come up with the perfect method for continued study and use of the grant you're certain to receive to continue this serious and important work.

    (I see PPPP has become part of garden blogdom's nomenclature as well!)

    I believe your hypothesis is right on - garden bloggers are out there enjoying the weather and working on their gardens.

    As for me, I'm still stuck inside, as Spring Fling planning and preparations have become a nearly full-time job in the last month. I'm itching to get out in the garden. After a full day of working on spring Fling (including writing three more posts for the SF blog,) I finally got outside around 5:00 p.m. to take advantage of the weather and give dirty George his first bath of the year.

  20. ps...I agree with Linda...this is a classic post and does need to go down in the annals of gardenblogging history! I love that PPPP (phlox pilosa) has now become part of the vernacular of blogging! It's fun to play with you all! I hope it's not too warm today...those tulips are beautiful and need to last longer! have a great weekend! gail

  21. Tina, I thought I had probably underestimated the cost of the study--I can't fathom anything that costs millions of $$$:) I've had several offers of help, so I might have to up that figure. Your comment made me laugh, because it proved another hypothesis I had--you don't sleep much! Not sure what you were doing blogging near midnight (our time), but the two cups of coffee late in the evening were my excuse:)

    Maggie May, I know I've had less time for blogging lately. Sometimes, though, I'm on here on a Saturday night and think that shows what a pitiful social life I have:) I've noticed the same thing about my blogroll; sometimes it doesn't update for 24 hours, and I've missed somebody's post. I've wondered, too, if the desire to blog wanes with time--my fascination with it hasn't decreased a bit!

    Cheryl, My tulips are just gorgeous, if I do say so myself! This morning I noticed a pale yellow and white one that opened, too that is just beautiful. It makes all that time I spent planting bulbs so worthwhile. Who can blame us for wanting to enjoy our gardens right now instead of blogging? I do hope that you get more time to relax with Poppi outside and have a wonderful weekend!

    VP, I've had such excellent suggestions from commenters here. Your idea to study bloggers in the Southern Hemisphere is one I hadn't even thought of. Excellent idea; now I'm thinking I might add some travel expenses to this grant:)

    Lisa, Considering all the ridiculous studies that the government has funded in the past, I certainly think this one has merit. Your suggestion for travel for actual visual observation is an excellent one! I think I'll have to re-write my grant proposal:) And yes, I could add you to the team...wouldn't that be fun if we could really do it?!

  22. Carol, Another excellent suggestion! This just proves another hypothesis I have that garden bloggers are not only nice people but extremely intelligent as well. I'll have to think about the endangered certainly can't be rabbits or deer:)

    Linda, Thanks for the kind words; some days I tend to be a little cynical. But I'm sorry you are spending so much time working on Spring Fling instead of being in the garden. Your group has done so much! I'm really looking forward to it. The PPPP has become legendary:)

    Gail, Who knows how many gardens will soon have PPPP growing in them, thanks to you! Perhaps your name should be added to them like Darwin tulips:) I'm hoping to get some major work done today before it rains ...again.

  23. Rose- Thanks for this post; it brought a smile to my face!

    As far as funding for your study- just think about how much time you would have had to take from your gardening to raise money for Blago's 'campaign fund' if you had asked for funding from him!

  24. Hi Rose, Glad you liked my comment. I loved yours on statistics last year so had to hand you one back. I thought you'd like it.

    Hubby and I had just returned from a tool auction. He is a car man and tool collector. The auction is so fun! We just started at these last week and your simply would not believe the things that are 'given' away. He's going again today, but I am sitting it out. The garden is looking to good. I can't believe how good. It amazes me each day. I was surprised to see you up too-now I know why. I will be posting soon on how I seem to have so much time to blog. In about two more weeks or so. Then I might not have so much time for blogging:) There is a method to the madness I hope! And anytime you wish to come visit, please do so! I have an extra guest room. Just give me plenty of notice so I can clean house-like a year or so?? lol

  25. Rose, your tulips are gorgeous! And don't you love the new daffodils we split? I am so enjoying all the new bulbs planted last fall.

    Your Study sounds very worthwhile to me. I would think it would be of great interest to several large corporations as well. Anybody that has to do with gardening-seed and plant companies, fertilizer people and so on. If the goverment is less than generous with their funding, I am sure you could apply for private funding.

    As Lisa and Carol say, you will need an assistant or two. I am very good in to 'ohhhh and ahhh' department when studying garden plants and blooms. :)

  26. Your hypothesis was right on target, lol. :) Have a nice rest of your weekend! Beautiful photos today.

  27. Laura, I don't think I would have asked Blago for anything other than to leave office before he did:)

    Tina, I'm looking forward to finding out how you have time to read so many blogs. Don't worry about cleaning the house--one of my good friends and I used to say that the only people we felt comfortable inviting over to our homes were each other, because we had the same housekeeping (and I use that term loosely) methods:)

    Beckie, I am beginning to realize that this is a much larger scale project than I first envisioned. Of course, there will be a position for an "ooher and aaher." Your resume shows you're very qualifed for that. So glad you dropped by yesterday and got to see all the tulips in person. They make all that time I spent last fall planting worthwhile.

    Racquel, This weekend the only time I've had to blog was after dark or when I was too pooped to garden anymore:)

  28. Your blooms are so lovely, and your hypothesis so interesting. :) It is a busy time of year, for sure. (I also believe the recently introduced "speed picking" has something to do with the slowdown in posting and lack of comments, which I have also noticed.) :)

  29. A great observation! With the computer issues I had been having(that automatically equaled less blogging) then the holidays, then the car shopping we did (see my Let Me Be blog) I sure have slowed down on reading and commenting AND posting...even prescheduled has been hard to do....and yesterday I spent cleaning the garden....sorta....between the rain drops!
    so add that to your your study!!! and your bulbs look need to see mine...(Inverness Daily) yours certainly beat mine! Have a great Sunday!

  30. I love the flowering crabapple! Such beautiful colours!

  31. Happy Arbor day to you too Rose!

    Lovely post. I'm sure your survey is spot on, though I don't garden, I also haven't blogged so much recently and I have noticed a decline. Perhaps when the sun shines we don't need this kind of 'therapy' either!!

    (beautiful flowers by the way)


  32. Rose, I buck the trend with my weekly posts year round, but it has felt more like a chore lately. I blame all the travel, a MS to finish and, most importantly, as you say, spring fever! I enjoyed the humor of this post. The gorgeous blooms are the perfect hint. Beautiful photos and thanks for coming in from the garden to post.

  33. You certainly have brought those bright blossoms from AZ home with you!
    Wow! What beauties you show today..I suppose if you plant them they'll grow!(Because I'm away until May in you know where..I plant few bulbs)I usually come home to a garden of perennials in full bloom with so-o-o-o much yard work to catch up on.
    Now I am speaking for myself only..blogging at times becomes a job of know sitting at the PC pounding the it posting or visiting and at times it just isn't fun and blogging should never become a chore.It's time then to back off.Spring calls us all outdoors to appreciate and take in all it's new beginnings!BTW..I'm one that is thinking of cutting back on my posting.

  34. It has been great weather lately aside from the hail thunderstorms and tornado over the weekend, but I live in Kansas its to be expected.

    I guess in month or so once all the warm weather crops are in, and the cool weather ones are done people might have more time. Maybe.

  35. Hi,
    I think your ideas are well thought out.A very interesting post to read.I do have a comment about we "senior citizen gardeners." We work in the yard as long as
    we are able...when we come in...we love to sit down and read what others are doing. It kind of brings back the "old Days" wnen we had never ending days in the garden.Soooo, I hope people continue to tell their stories...even if abbreviated.

  36. Dear Rose,
    Thank you for a laugh this afternoon! It is true...sunny and warm = out in the garden!
    Thank goodness for a rainy day!
    I am delighted to come visit you and do some organizing on my desk.
    Life gets full once the growing season takes hold!
    I do think funding would be nice for your study!
    Your tulips are gorgeous!

  37. Nancy, I know I haven't had the time to visit everyone lately as I usually do. I don't even know what "speed picking" is:)

    Neva, I understand about being busy...I will check out your tulips after Sophie and I get back from "puppy school." She's taking up a lot of my time these days, too:)

    Mara, I love this time of year! My flowering trees are just gorgeous; I just wish they could stay in bloom all summer.

    Suburbia, Spending some time out in the sunshine is the best therapy there is!

    Sarah, I think even non-gardeners find more things to do outside once it gets warm. I haven't had much time to read books lately, either.

    Nature Girl, I did time things right--I went from Arizona blooms to blooms in my own garden. I'm so happy I planted all these tulips! I know what you mean--sometimes I'm just not in the mood to blog, and so I take a little break. But usually it's something I look forward to each day.

    Becca, Yikes! Tornado season is not something I look forward to. Thanks for visiting.

    Balisha, You make such a good point! I can only work so long in the garden, then I have to rest. Reading blogs is my way to relax, and I love to see what others are doing and growing in their gardens.

    Sherry, It's raining today, so I suppose Blogger will be a little busier. I think of Thoreau--it's better to experience nature for yourself than just to read about it. But I don't usually sit and watch ants:) I have more tulip photos to show another day--they are fantastic this year!

  38. Well, who could argue with a scientific study like that. Definitely important information that needed to be made public.

    Replete is going on my must have list for this fall planting. Love it. Pink Impression is beautiful too.

  39. Right on, Rose, when the weather is nice, the garden calls ... something's gotta give! Your flowering crabapples are stunning.

  40. Too funny, I'm a crafter blogger and I'm getting shorter in my post. I'm in the gardens!
    Here's my bill for a grand!

  41. Hi Rose, I believe you have nailed the cause of fewer blogging activities. Who among us wants to stay inside with the computer when nature calls? Not I, said the fly. Not me, said the bee. :-)

  42. It kills me that even on this serious subject, all paragraphs demand a photographic floral decoration!

    You're hilarious, Rose - although personally, I think the sheer number of garden blogs has something to do with it. I end up rotating through my ever-growing list of blogs and catching up on several posts at a time.

    Actually, that's what I'm doing right now!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  43. I haven't slowed down in my blogging!! But I have planted my zinnias and - great excitement - they're shooting up!!

    I think a possible extra angle on your reserach could be the use of chocolate as an incentive for blogging. Or maybe I could be sponsored to do that part of it?

  44. LOL, I know the reason I haven't been posting or visiting as much as I have been ... the sunny days and digging in the dirt. Rain this week so I am catching up.


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