Friday, January 2, 2009

Planty Networking

I became a life-time member of LibraryThing about 6 months ago after finding that I could spend hours on the website and that it was worth the $25 for my continued enjoyment.  LibraryThing is a great website for keeping track of what you read, what you plan on reading, what books you own, etc.  It also has all of the fun networking tools (like facebook and similar networking sites), if you care to use them.  You can join groups about Dickens or gardening books or dystopian fiction - whatever you like.  I primarily use LibraryThing to keep track of which books I have read and which ones I am going to read.  I started thinking it would be wonderful if there was a similar site for the community of plant enthusiasts.  It would be a website that allowed you to catalog your entire collection of plants and do similar things as far as networking.

Well, not finding that kind of community online, I decided to catalog all of my plants on my own.  You can see them by clicking the My Plants tab at the top of this page.  [Note: This no longer exists now that I have moved my blog to blogspot.]

Thanks to Fern at, I found that there actually is such a site as I had been dreaming of!  The bad news is that I will now be wasting loads of time on said site...

As soon as I told my wife about MyFolia, she said "Goodbye, husband!  I loved you once..." is a wonderful new networking/cataloging website for plant enthusiasts.  This site has it all!  You can catalog all of your plants; keep track of when you planted them; keep a journal on important events like blooming, fruiting, etc.; join groups of like-minded planty people; get information or give tips to other users; share plant pictures; and even swap seeds or plant starts with other users.  I think one of the main draws of the website is the journal aspect, although I am not sure whether I will use that tool or not.  I just started keeping a plant journal a couple of months ago and so far I am enjoying the aesthetic aspect of keeping the journal.  While I use a keyboard for most things, I don't think it will be an adequate substitute for my plant journal.

Another great networking website that I have recently joined is Blotanical.  The most basic explanation of Blotanical is that it is a directory of gardening/plant blogs.  But it is really so much more than that.  It also has some nice networking tools, where you can add friends and fave blogs.  The nicest tool of Blotanical is that you can read the most recently updated blog posts from the blogs registered on Blotanical.  You can see the listing as a whole, or only those that you have chosen as your favorites.  Also, Blotanical has a point system where you are rewarded by your activity on the site with increased privileges.  I have found myself on the "most active users" list a number of times and The Variegated Thumb has benefitted from the exposure.

In fact, prior to finding Blotanical, The Variegated Thumb had about 2 readers - my mom and myself.  That's pretty lame.  But since then, I have drawn something like 1200 unique visitors from 50 different countries.  Some people just stop by once, but others continue to read my blog and give me some feedback.  Even though I maintain the Variegated Thumb for my own enjoyment, having someone read my blog really makes it fun.

So, if you're a "planty" person, I suggest you check out MyFolia, and if you are a "planty" blogger, I suggest you check out Blotanical.  Both are great websites!

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