Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Passing the Fourth Anniversary Mark


There are newbie bloggers who seems to bolt out of the gate like thoroughbred horses in a race. Three posts a week; regular like clockwork. But blogging doesn't turn out to be what they thought it was or perhaps it is simply more work than they bargained for, because they start to fall back into the pack and then the blog just.... ends.

Sometimes you will happen across a blog like this. Abandoned, but still adrift on the rippling waters of the internet.

When I think back to my own beginnings for years ago, I was completely clueless. I assumed that all I had to do was combine words with pictures and readers would magically show up just to see if I had something interesting to say.

Well, the reality is that I was just one shy voice at a very noisy party. There are zillions of blogs which are decently put together with an average of twenty comments a post and a modest readership.  It is pretty difficult to stand out when you just are one of many.


Most of that first year of blogging I spent talking to myself like some sort of crazy person. It didn't help that I made every mistake possible.

Take the name: Three Dogs in a Garden. Obviously I am not particularly good with titles. I figured our three Shelties were one of the important things that made my garden uniquely my own. And I hoped it was a quirky enough phrase that people might remember it.

Turns out as many people get it wrong as get it right. I need only to look at the key word entry point stats to see the constant litany of errors:

Three Dogs and a Garden
Three Dogs in the Garden
Three Dogs Garden
Dog Garden Blog


And that all important goal of three posts a week?

Hah! I don't think I ever managed it. Monday blog posts are the hardest and yet probably the most important. But weekends are so busy, who has time to compose a decent Monday post? Tuesday or even Wednesday often have to do.

And now what about branding? Everything I have ever read about blogging suggests that you should aim to "brand" your blog. Well, I change my header every few days. For me it is rather like putting on a fresh set of clothes before heading out the door to an important occasion.

So much for branding!

Finally, I make posts way too long. Oops. This one seems to be no exception. 

Sorry about that!


Last week I sailed past my fourth anniversary and it was not without a bit of trepidation.

The four year mark seems to be a difficult milestone for many bloggers. Only recently I was startled to find a favourite blogger had suddenly up and quit. Often there are those long silent pauses that serve as a warning, but this was completely unexpected. It felt as if she had packed her bags and slipped away quietly in the night. Fortunately for her fans, she left a short note with a forwarding address.

So what to the future of this blog? I will be honest: there isn't a week that passes where I don't question where I am going with all this. The future pretty uncertain.

The past, on the other hand, is knowable. Three Dogs in a Garden has brought me so many wonderful and valued friendships. I have learned so much and seen so many wonderful gardens. I am a better writer and photographer for it.


I want to close by saying a big thanks to you for being a part of this ongoing journey.

78 comments:

  1. Love this post and entirely agree with what you say - it is often hard to keep coming up with original material, especially after four years - and like you I wonder about giving up frequently. I have been following you for most of those four years and always found it an enjoyable experience - this is a quality blog and top of my list of 'must reads'. Here' s to many more informative and beautiful posts.

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    1. Don't you DARE quit...I LOVE your posts!!!

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    2. Thank you Elaine. Fresh, witty and always original are three adjectives I would use to describe your blog. I like hearing about what you're reading, what's in the oven and what's going on in the garden. The post about having nothing interesting to write about and the one where you struggle to get the perfect shot of the little spring arrangement in the poka dot cup are among my recent favourites. Visiting your blog is always a pleasure.

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  2. such beautiful images!
    congratulations on your blog anniversary ~ wishing you many, many more!

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  3. Well done on 4 years! Blog burn out is very real and with so much information out there it is sometimes difficult to find a fresh and new perspective. I am always inspired by your photos and garden tours. I look forward to reading more of your creative work!

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    1. Thanks so much Karin! I have been meaning to stop by and see how the new pup is fitting in. I enjoy your blog too. I always come away from your posts having learned something new. Your pictures are always superb and the posts are always an enjoyable read.

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  4. Well you know that I was crazy and scattered at the begining!! Thanks to you... I stuck in there and became a bit more open with the process and I thank you for that. You are hands down my favorite gardening blog. Your photos are always stunning and your wealth of design and plant information...well...there isn't anyone out there who does it better! I do so hope you will be around for a long while though I too think how much easier it would be at times to just put the blog to rest. The beans take up so much time that I try to read and comment on blogs at night which doesn't leave much time for the hubs so we shall see! A very happy blog anniversary to you friend.... You inspire me! Nicole xoxo

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    1. Thanks Nicole! I remember those early tentative days with your blog! I also remember feeling an immediate connection. That great personality of yours shines through your words. Your three beans are sweet little treasures. I love how you include them in the garden. And its wonderful to see their little craft projects displayed in your house with such pride. You are the only person I know who makes her own bread. In short, you are an inspiration to me too!

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  5. Happy bloganniversary Jennifer. And what a blog you have. I hope you won't dissapeare silently from the blog. I know two people posting every day. I am amazed how they do it. For me blogging is for fun and not having stress what to post now. I hope you keep on going on the blog and we can congratiulate your within 4 years with your 8th anniversary.
    Have a wonderful day Jennifer.

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    1. Thanks Marijke. I promise never to disappear without warning.
      When I am out scouting for gardens I often think of you and remember that not everyone has a big space to work with. I try to make a point of looking for gardening ideas that will work in a small garden.
      What you have accomplished in your little garden always impresses me. Your collection of perennials and roses is wonderful. It just goes to show that size really doesn't matter all that much.

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    2. How lovely te read you are thinking about my size of garden. But to tell you the truth ofcourse when I see wonderful big sized gardens I wish I could take my hedge under my arms and make my garden bigger. But two weeks ago I had a first meeting of the roseclub and talked to a lady who's garden is 10.000 m2 (my is 100 m2) guess what she said when she heard about my size of garden she sometimes wishes she had a smaller one. From early spring untill late november she is so bussy with working in her garden she has never the time to see other gardens or do something else. And I experience with my age 56 that everything is different then when I was 30. (lol) no I am not old but haha, but I recognize the body is not the same. But I am so happy with what I do have. I've forgotten to tell you how impressed I am about your photograp's, just great!!
      Have a fantastic weekend Jennifer.

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  6. Well, I just recently discovered your blog, so I hope you stick around!
    I'm on year three with mine and am still smitten with all that comes with it.

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    1. I admire your enthusiasm tremendously Mindy. It's infectious. I look forward to seeing your garden this spring.

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  7. Your blog is a wonder and I love reading it, especially the lengthy profiles of gardens you have visited, with such great pictures of what makes each one stand out. I love your eye for garden compositions.

    A personal blog does evolve over four years -- congrats on keeping yours going!! I had two garden blogs at once, a personal journal and my more audience-centered one, but after four years of posting on both, I had to focus on keeping just one going. I'll continue to look forward to reading yours for four more years I hope.

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    1. I have to say that I miss "My Weeds are Sorry", but I understand. Honestly, "My Weeds are Sorry" was a blog in a class of its own. I do hope you'll stop in on occasion and say hi. I certainly hope to visit the journal and see what interesting additions you'll make to the garden this spring.

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  8. Many congratulations, I'm amazed you would ever consider quitting, your posts are always wonderful, informative and good enjoyable reads....my only issue is I envy the beautiful gardens you visit and wonder if I'll ever get mine straight! Here's to a lifetime of posting!xxx

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    1. Snowbird, does anyone ever really get their garden "straight"? The struggle is half the fun.
      I enjoy reading about your adventures and all the goings on at the rescue. We not only share a love of gardening, we share a love of animals.

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  9. Lovely images of the pansies and I wish you a Happy Blog anniversary. I hope you will continue this blog for many more years, it is very informative and interesting. Sometimes I wish I could visit so many beautiful gardens like you do, I have a constantly lack of time.

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    1. Thanks Janneke. You are very knowledgeable yourself and so to know you enjoy my posts means a great deal.

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  10. Oooooo that last line sounds a little ominous! If you hadn't said 'ongoing' journey I'd say that was a farewell right there. I've enjoyed reading your blog since I found you last year, and it's so nice to have a knowledgeable gardener in my zone :) It does get a bit tricky to post with new material after a while. I hope you and your three dogs do continue in your garden, I really enjoy what you share here ... and your photographs are always so amazing! Wendy x

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    1. Thanks Wendy! You are one of the handful of bloggers that visit that are in my home province and I appreciate that connection too. I am not quitting at this point, but I am doing some serious thinking about which direction I am heading with this creative project. After four years it's only natural to step back and examine what you are doing. All the positive feedback has been a huge morale booster. It's nice to know that people regard this blog as something of value.

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  11. Love your blog, especially the photos. I think yours stands out because its a little "classier" than most garden blogs. Please yourself first when it comes to blogging.

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    1. Thanks Val. I agree with you about pleasing myself first. I need to forget all that marketing and branding stuff I am supposed to be doing with my blog. I shouldn't compare myself with people who manage to post three times a week and then end up feeling like I have come up short. All I really need to do is relax and be myself.

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  12. What a wonderful post this is, Jennifer, and congratulations on four years.
    I for one, am so glad that I found you here.

    These images are just gorgeous. They look like beautiful paintings.

    Have a wonderful evening!

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    1. I think that I feel a different kind of personal connection with each of my blogging friends. With you I like to think I share an artistic eye. I appreciate that you see things most other people miss. And I admire the patience that must be required to get those amazing and subtle flower portraits of yours. I think of that sometimes when I struggle to get my own shots.

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  13. I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I can't wait to get my new email saying that you have sent a new one. Please, please keep going. I love it. I really love everything about it. The BEST of the BEST!!!! I get a few others and yours is my FAVORITE!!

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    1. Thanks Linda! I am really touched.

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  14. I just found you and I'm so glad you stuck around! Thank you, and congratulations!

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    1. Thanks Tammy. I look forward to making a new friend.

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  15. I also recently found your blog. These images are beautiful. Are they your originals? Are they available to reproduce for personal use?

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    1. Yes, these are my images. I am a pretty generous person and often give people images to use on garden club posters, brochures and the like. I never have had a problem with people pinning my images. I do however stop short of offering them up entirely for unspecified personal use. The files are low resolution at any rate. If you say, want to print out an image to frame for your house, just drop me an email at jenc_art@hotmail.com and I am sure I will be happy to help you out.

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  16. Congratulations on your 4 year anniversary. I just had my 1st year. I don't do a post everyday or every week, I just don't have the time - I don't know how some of them do it. I do so enjoy your post and look forward to reading them and your photo's are terrific.
    Mary

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    1. Thanks Mary. I don't know how people post three times a week either. I am resolved just to do my best, post when I can, and not worry so much about the rest.

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  17. Congratulations and I too selfishly hope you are able to keep going. Your posts are among my favourite few blogs and I would miss them very much. If you are finding the frequency difficult, perhaps slow down a little rather than stop altogether.

    I hope you don't mind but I am thinking of printing out the two pansy pictures to put in 6"x4" frames to stand on my bureau.

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    1. Thanks Lynne. It means a lot to know how much readers like you enjoy my posts. Drop me a line at jenc_art@hotmail.com and I will give you a better file for printing the pansies.

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  18. The two pictures of the red pansies in jars, I should have specified, doh :-)

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  19. Dear Jennifer
    First of all, congratulations on your 4th Anniversary! You are one of my auto-reads and I look fwd to every new post you add. Your photography is amazing and very inspirational. I consider you a virtual friend not just because of geographical proximity, but also due to similar interests and general gardening philosophy.
    Secondly, glad to hear you had no idea what you were doing at first and that you made errors! That sure makes me feel better because most of us bloggers did the same!
    Lastly, please keep blogging. It doesn't matter how often you post or how branded you feel you need to be - you have established yourself as an excellent source of gardening information and fabulous photography. And from your posts we have all discovered what a genuine sincere person you are.
    Please Keep Gardening, Keep Blogging and Carry On :)

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    1. Thanks Astrid. I feel a closeness too and I am not talking about geography either. I can't tell you how much I admire the fact that you designed gardens as well as held down a regular job before you retired. I am very sorry not to have made it out there to last summer's open gardens. Hopefully this year for sure!

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  20. Great, great pictures and some very interesting things for all bloggers to think about. And finally, congratulations on four years of blogging.

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  21. I think you have a wonderful blog and I will be your faithful fan until you pack it in. I love your photos and the garden tours and the quirky dog photos here and there. Plus you're Canadian so your garden tours are of plants we can work with here - so important in a sea of blogs in warmer climates!

    Happy anniversary! I hope you carry on for many many more years. ps who quit? I know I was shocked when Mel shut down her blog... didn't see that coming at all.

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    1. Anne, You're a fearless DIYer who lets nothing stand in your way. I can't imagine I'd ever have the courage to tackle the some of the renovations you did all on your own. You have a vision and you just go for it! I wish I was more like that.
      The blog that ended was called My Weeds are Sorry. Its close came as a complete shock. Of course I understood, but I miss it. Fortunately she still has a personal garden journal that fans can visit. Her wit, humour and original perspective on gardening is something I always enjoy.

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  22. Four years is a huge accomplishment and a huge commitment. It's very commendable that you have stuck with it. Your photos and perspective on gardening inspire me more than you'll ever know. But I feel the same way you do - am I really going to blog the rest of my life? I really hope you will continue!

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    1. Stacy, Blogging is a huge commitment of time and after four years it is only natural to step back and ask yourself if this is the best use of your creative energies. I am happy to say that I don't regret this blog for even a second. I have made so many friends and learned so much. It has been both fun and a wonderful experience. I just need to sort out where I take it from here. Thank you for your kind words. They mean a great deal.

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  23. I LOVE your images! and congratulations on Four years. That's quite a milestone!

    I started blogging in 2008 and there have been long pauses as life has gotten in the way ( my recent month long absence due to an incredibly low iron count for one.) Some how though, I can't give it up. I love to look back and see how life has changed, how my photography has improved and I treasure the connections I've made.

    Happy blogiversary! :D

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    1. It is nice to hear from someone who has been blogging longer than I have that it still has great meaning and importance. When I look back at those early days I can't believe how far I have come. It would be pretty hard to give it all up now.

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  24. Jennifer, congrats on your blog anniversary! Four years ---it's a lot of experience in blogging, I always learn reading your posts. Don't stop, continue your interesting writing!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda. It is raining here. Why is that significant? Because it isn't snowing! As someone who lives in a cold a place as I do I know you appreciate as much as I do those first signs of spring.

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  25. Congratulations, it sounds as if you're getting what you hope for out of blogging. I'm sure everyone has different reasons for making a blog. My reason is much simpler....just to show pictures of what's going on. You have a wonderful blog to read, on the photo front and the information front as well! Good job.

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    1. Thanks Diane. Is it raining there too? I can't tell you how happy I am it isn't snowing!! I am looking forward to seeing your garden this spring.

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  26. What "they say" you should do is irrelevant. I have been blogging for 5 years. There have been a few spells where I honestly had nothing to say. Do we really want to blather on for several paragraphs about nothing? I am certain it will not be appreciated by the reader, so I try to post when I have something fun, or interesting to talk about. I post about my garden or my animals or quilting, or sometimes just what I think about something in the news. My readers know me and know that is my way.

    It is my belief that those who say we should do a thing for higher readership haven't a clue. I blog because it feels good to get my thoughts out, and to share them with my blogging community of friends. It isn't a contest, it is an open community of individuals who come when you post and enjoy visiting your world.

    I enjoy visiting your world!

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    1. As I said in this post, I was clueless when I started. One of the things that surprised me the most was that sense of community that you speak off. Blogging is not just me writing about my life and garden for an unknown readership. It's about sharing and interaction with other gardeners/bloggers. There is a sort of warmth and friendship to blogging that I never anticipated, but was very happy to find.

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  27. Congratulations! So glad you are still on this journey. It is quite a commitment but an enjoyable one. Your posts are always interesting to read, and it is good you stuck with your way.

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  28. I started gardening just a few years ago and of course turned to the internet for ideas, inspiration, and information. Of all the blogs I've come across, yours is one of the few I still read. It feels more "accessible" than most, I think for the very reason that you've made it your own and are not necessarily following "blog rules". Reading your posts feels like a chat with a neighbour - informal and enjoyable. It's real and authentic and I love it!

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    1. "A chat with a neighbour" That is the nicest of compliments! I am truly touched. Thanks Kitty!

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  29. Many congratulations on 4 years. In the blogging world that is an eternity and you should feel very proud of the accomplishment. It's probably natural at this point to question why and how and what am I doing this all for, but that would probably emerge after 4 years of doing anything.

    Judging by the number of comments that you have received, there are a good number of folks out there who read and appreciate your blog, I am one of them. Even if it ends up being published only once a week, or once every two weeks, I look forward to reading your blog every time it pops up on my Feedly reader.

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    1. Thanks so much! It really is encouraging to have so much positive feedback.

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  30. Jennifer, your blog is lovely and your writing is thoughtful and from the heart. I hope you continue!

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    1. Thanks Cheryl. I look forward to getting to know you and your blog better.

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  31. Thank you so much for your comments everyone! I feel like I have just had the biggest, warmest of hugs. I will try to find the moments to reply to each one this evening.

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  32. I love your blog. There is always something beautiful here to look at. I've been blogging now for 7 years with my Stamping blog and about 5-6 with my other blog that I feature photographs on. I think what makes a person's blog unique is when they post what they are most passionate about and that shows through loud & clear here. Loved that 1st photo here today, it was my favorite of all your wonderful photos today.

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    1. Seven years! Wow. My respect for you starts right there Ida. Gardening is one of my great passions. I can't imagine life without it.

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  33. So true and your right...but even though it happens, I still like blogging. I have made some very close good friends and wouldn't stop because of them. i am really disappointed too when bloggers suddenly stopped. Many do facebook now, not this girl.
    I enjoy you blog a lot and enjoy your photos alot, even though I do not comment alot.
    I hope you hang in there.
    TGIF
    Earlene

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    1. Thanks Earlene! Your encouragement means a great deal.

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  34. You and I started our blogs around the same time and I remember being so impressed and intimidated by your blog and beautiful garden. I'm glad you've stuck with it. I would miss you so much if I couldn't pop in once a week or so. :o)

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    1. Tammy, I think your blog is just as wonderful. Your posts are so open and honest. We all love your sense of humour. I never laugh so hard as when I read your blog posts.
      They're more than just funny though. Your writing is right from the heart. If I ever stop blogging, I am going to really miss you too!

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  35. verylovely blog, pictures, happy birthday for your blog, best regard from Belgium

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    1. Regards to you in Belgium as well.

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  36. I know how hard blogging is to keep up, and I've only been doing it for a year and a half! Both your blog and your gorgeous garden are impressive, so please don't quit! And for what it's worth, I also love seeing pictures of your dogs, and reading about their antics.

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    1. Thanks Sarah! I aspire to write as well as you do. I have both pictures and words to keep this blog afloat. You rely more on your writing and you make every word really count. I wish I had your gift.

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  37. Jennifer congrats on 4 years going strong with so much to say and gorgeous pictures to boot...I don't believe all the rules of blogging....and I break many myself. I hope to continue to read your blog for many more years to come.

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  38. I recently discovered your blog. Thanks for sharing your beautiful images. I have a special place in my heart for Pansies.

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  39. 4 years that is wonderful!! I am really enjoying your blog and photos--keep it up!!

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  40. Jennifer I enjoy your writing and it must be a lot to work to produce all of your beautiful pictures. I always look forward to seeing your wonderful posts.

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  41. Though I'm late in saying it, happy anniversary, but the thanks are ours.

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