Talking Plants turns ten today, more or less

Ten year ago (22 November 2008), in the first post to this blog, I wrote: 

I'm the Executive Director of the Botanic Gardens Trust in Sydney. I'm a plant scientist by training, and a bit of botanic gardens groupie. I worked for five years at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne before moving up to Sydney in 1998 to head up the science group of the Botanic Gardens Trust. I've been Executive Director since 2004. (If you want to know more about how I got here see the 'short biography' under the links section to the right.)

Every time we have a spectacular or fascinating plant on display, it's fun to talk to people about it. I've been doing this through my fortnightly chats with Simon Marnie, Passion for Plants (you can find the accompanying notes somewhere on the ABC website - try the 'Gardening' topic). With the help of the Botanic Gardens Trust's PR Manager, Karla Davies, I also get to talk to radio, television, print and web journalists from all over Australia. It's enjoyable, and hopefully inspires more people to appreciate and conserve plants. This is what our botanic garden is all about. Or to put it another way, we plant ideas.

So I thought it might be interesting to keep a blog of life - Talking Plants (which was also the informal title I gave to chats I used to have with Angela Catterns on the 702 Breakfast show a few years back) - in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, along with Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens and Mount Annan Botanic Gardens. And including other bits and pieces about plants.

Recently we've had rat-eating plants (big pitcher plants,
Nepenthes) and, yet again, the biggest bloom in the world, the Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum). We also sent seeds from the NSW Seedbank into space with astronaut Dr Gregory Chamitoff on the Discovery Mission. But that's all in the past, although a few of these stories will undoubtedly rise again.

The extent of the postings, and my ability to respond to any comments, will of course depend on me finding time to dabble here. We'll see.

Well, I found the time. Just. Over the last decade my posts have became a little longer, better illustrated, more fluent (I like to think) and less often (from about four a week to a single Tuesday morning missive). It took me a couple of years but I found my voice. That voice varies from week to week, and topics rattle around from high tech taxonomy to flippant flowers and pretty parks, but it reflects me and what appeals to me at the time. 

People sometimes ask why I blog. Mostly I think it's a habit, and its addictive. More deeply, it's a way for me to follow up on plant-related topics that pique my interest. It's a good filing system for my future self as well as inquisitive others. Some people say they enjoy reading them and finding out new things about plants, which is satisfying for a want-to-be communicator.

I like to write, and I like to be read.

The feedback I get on Talking Plants is always positive so clearly those who don't like my kind of shtick don't bother responding. It was chuffing to get industry acknowledgement earlier this year from the Horticultural Media Association of Australia, with their Blog Laurel for 2018.

As I described in my first post, transcribed above, the blog has always been part of a interconnected media blitz, in a nice way. After I moved back to Melbourne five years ago, the blog - kind of - spawned a radio show, Talking Plants on ABC RN. That was followed up by In Season all of which has now morphed - again kind of - into regular contributions to Blueprint for Living on the same station. My now regular contributions to Gardening Australia magazine stemmed from the profile and experience gained through blogging.

The blog also provides a nucleus for other more transient social media. When I post each Tuesday morning this automates a tweet on Twitter, an update status post on Facebook and whatever it is in LinkenIn that gets attention. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria will also feed something to the organisational Facebook and Twitter.

This sets up a various streams of conversation, or none, depending on the calibre of the blog post. It means that tracking comments and engagement is rather difficult but that doesn't really matter.

I think I'll keep blogging. Otherwise I don't know what to do with the snippets of information I discover or the pretty plant pictures I take. I could just pop them on Twitter or Instagram, or elsewhere, but I like the idea of doing a little data digging, a little research and a little composition. I'm old fashioned in that way.

Images: At the top, among tulips in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney the year I started blogging, 2008 (photo Jaime Plaza). Next at the 2018 Horticultural Media Association of Australia Laurel Awards night. Then in the ABC studios in Southbank during the recording of Talking Plants in 2015. Finally, somewhere in Paris, in 2012.


Anna said…
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Anna said…
Happy Blog-iversary Tim. I enjoyed your reflections this week. Best wishes, Anna F

Tim Entwisle said…
Thanks Anna! Much appreciated - a little self indulgent of me, but why not?
Anonymous said…
Thanks Tim, I always enjoy your words, which ever way you choose to share them! Here's to many more years of your missives and our constant intrigue. Long may you continue to spread your delight and passion in that very Entwisle "old-fashioned" contemporary way!
Jo (Franklin, Tasmania)
Tim Entwisle said…
Well thank you Jo. Lovely feedback and I shall do my very best to not only continue, but continue in the same Entwislean vein. All the best.