10 years of Digging

Today marks a decade of blogging here at Digging — a decade! I was a young stay-at-home mother (a former editor who left the workforce to raise her kids) obsessively making my second garden when I started this blog to connect with other passionate gardeners and record moments of beauty in my garden. It quickly evolved into a passion in its own right as I got serious about my writing and photography and made strong connections with other bloggers. Some of those have become deeply sustaining offline friendships as well.

Ten years after starting this blog, my kids are nearly grown, I’m on my third garden, and I have a wonderful second-act career as a garden writer — third act if you count a decade-long stint as a garden designer that began when I started my blog. Both of these opportunities arose directly from my daily practice as a blogger and gardener.

And the reason I’m still blogging after all these years is because of you, dear reader. Your interest, your comments, your passion for gardening and reading about it keep the blogging fire burning. So this valentine is for you. Thank you for being here.

If you’ve been along for the ride for 10 years, or even just a year or two, please leave a comment to say hi, especially if you’re usually just a quiet reader. I’d really love to hear from you.

On anniversaries, it’s fun to look back and remind yourself of where you’ve been, so I’m linking to my blogiversary posts from the past decade. Some of these feel like dinosaur-era posts! And some are very personal, like the first one.

Year 1: In 2007 I mused about what makes a gardener, remembering my grandmother’s influence.

Year 2: In 2008 I was busy planning the first Garden Bloggers Fling (then called Garden Bloggers Spring Fling; “Fling” has stuck, even though nowadays it may be held in spring, summer, or fall), and I didn’t find time to write a blogiversary post. But I did write a fun post about what it’s like to live in Austin.

Year 3: In 2009 I’d changed houses and was starting a new garden. In my blogiversary post, I urged readers to start their own blogs and join “a continent-spanning virtual garden club.”

Year 4: In 2010 I marveled over the friendships that blogging had led to, and I offered a giveaway of photo notecards I’d made.

Year 5: In 2011 I kept it short and sweet, with a simple thank-you to my readers.

Year 6: In 2012 I was writing my first book. In my blogiversary post I noted the rise of Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media and wondered aloud what the future held for blogging, and whether blogs would “one day seem outdated and struggle for readership like so many gardening magazines and newspaper columns.” Unlike Pins and Instagrams, blogs are long-form musings — and if you’re still here reading this lengthy post, I can only hope there are lots more like you!

Year 7: In 2013 I’d just given my very first public talk and started selling my book Lawn Gone!, and I was running on adrenaline fumes. Looking back, this all seems very déjà vu, as I’m gearing up for another garden talk — same venue, The Natural Gardener — to promote my new book, The Water-Saving Garden.

Year 8: In 2014 I was still wondering about the future of garden blogging and predicted more video blogs (vlogs) and single-photo “blogs” via Tumblr — or, as it turned out, Instagram.

Year 9: In 2015, I looked back at the early days of blogging, when “[s]uddenly, anyone who had something to say about gardening could say it freely, instantly, with no need for an editor’s approval. For those of us in regions perennially overlooked by gardening magazines and books — well, let’s just say there was a void in need of filling.” I added that blogging, for me, is about “sharing and making personal connections. It’s a place of creativity and personal improvement. It’s about commemorating the ordinary yet extraordinary daily life of a garden — which represents all gardens, really — and what it means to be the one digging in it.”

Year 10: Today!

Enough of the retrospective. At the 10-year point, I’m still looking forward as a blogger, and I hope to spend more time with you here, celebrating gardening goodness and a passion for design, nature, and sustainable gardening. Here’s to you, readers!


Upcoming Events and News

Join me for my kick-off garden talk for my new book, The Water-Saving Garden, on February 27, at 10 am, at The Natural Gardener nursery in southwest Austin. My talk is called “Hold the Hose! How to Make Your Garden Water Thrifty and Beautiful,” and it’s free to the public. Afterward I’ll have books available for purchase and will be glad to autograph one for you! Dress for the weather, as the talk will be held in the big tent outside.

Look for me on Instagram as pamdigging. See you there!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

98 Responses

  1. Sylvia says:

    So enjoyed the privilege of reading your garden musings all these years. Gardening can be a solitary retreat from modern schedules but you’ve shown us how to do it social in a big way too. Thank you Pam for all the beauty and joy you share freely with us all.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Sylvia, thank you for your comment. Yes, gardening (and writing) are solitary activities, and having a place to virtually get together and talk gardens is one of the reasons I love blogging and reading blogs. —Pam

  2. Jean says:

    I love that photo of your first talk at Natural Gardener and how packed it is and how everyone is smiling. Thanks for continuing to encourage us to blog. My life is so much richer since I took it up. And that includes my friendship with you, Pam!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I feel the same about knowing you, Jean! That photo reminds me of a helpful piece of advice someone once gave me about public speaking: the audience is rooting for you! Believing that helps calm the nerves, and you can see the truth of it in their smiling faces. —Pam

  3. judy says:

    Don’t remember when I first read your blog, but I’ve been following for some time. You inspire me to get outside and spend some time with my plants. I, too, had a grandmother who loved flowers and nature. Being out in this beautiful central Texas “winter” is good for the soul!

  4. Gail says:

    Your blog was the first blog I ever read and commented on (2007) and you’ve been an inspiration ever since. Austin Fling inspired me to finally push the publish button on my blog and it’s been a delightful and fulfilling journey. So glad to know you Pam. xo

  5. Renee says:

    Wow! Congratulations on 10 years! Your blog was one of the ones that first inspired my outdoor gardening, and I continue to be Inspired and excited by what you share. Thank you!

  6. Phillip says:

    Congratulations! Here’s to many more!

  7. Wow! A whole decade!

    You’re one of the reasons I started a garden blog. I’ve enjoyed your blog since 2009. And, I have learned so much from you.

    I now think of you as more than just a blog friend. And I am very proud of your very successful first book. I think your second one will be just as much a success. Just sorry I’ll have to miss the debut.

    Congratulations on your blogiversary, and on the new book. Keep up the good work!

  8. Pam, your blogging is sure enriching my gardening! I must have joined up in 2008 since I don’t remember that wonderful 2007 pic with you and your grandmother. I’m a grandmother’s garden pass-a-long too, and I included a pic of my grandmere’s Wyoming garden on my website. I don’t know if we’ve had enough water for a big bluebonnet show this year, but since we haven’t really had a freeze I’m enjoying the winter garden more than ever and expecting a big spring show!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Hey, Tom. I’m so glad to have met you and seen your beautiful garden. Your frog birdbath is a key image for me and my new book! I’ve been a little worried too about the lack of rain this winter, and what that bodes for the bluebonnet show, but I’ve definitely enjoyed the mild weather. —Pam

  9. Carol Whitney says:

    Hi Pam,

    I’m one of those “quiet” readers. Yours is my favorite gardening blog, due to the combination of engaging writing, beautiful photography, and interesting topics. (Another favorite is Rhone Street Gardens, but alas, there’s little activity there these days.) One of my favorite kinds of post is one that analyzes existing planting designs or combinations to say why, or why not, they work. One thing that I would like to see covered in more detail in blogs and garden books is how the actual process of planting design proceeds. Many books present general design guidelines and plant lists, but never really seem to address the nitty-gritty of plant selection and placement within a design. That is, one starts with a selection of plants that are suitable for the planting location – how does one actually choose which plants to put where in order to create interest and beauty for a given site? I’d love to see blog posts that show this process in action – starting with a site and outlining how planting-design choices are made. Anyway, congrats on 10 years!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Hi, Carol. Thanks for your topic suggestion. That would indeed make for fascinating reading! Thinking out loud, this kind of thing would be tailor-made for a design/build person who’s good at explaining how and why she does what she does, and who would be in a position to take before-and-after pics. Alternatively, a talented DIY designer could do this too, over time as her garden is built. I believe I’ve written a few posts like this from time to time, as have many bloggers, but not as a consistent theme.

      You might look into The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer by Stephanie Cohen and Nan Ondra. Also, Mosaic Gardens Journal by talented Oregon (via Austin) designers Rebecca Sams and Buell Steelman. If you live in central Texas, their plants may not be applicable to your garden, but you can translate the design ideas with a local plant palette. —Pam

  10. jdub says:

    I am one of the “quiet readers” from the Pacific Northwest. I became acquainted with you several years back from a link on the Danger Garden blog. Being a “foliage person” I enjoy the “Austin esthetic” and love your posts about various Austin gardens in your neighborhood. More favorite posts are the ones that show the brightly colored garden accents as in your image for year 2008.

    Thanks for the inspiration and thanks for taking the time to share.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Ah, a fellow Danger Garden reader! I’m glad to know you enjoy the foliage fascination here at Digging, as well as my Drive-By posts about neighborhood gardens. Like you, I love color and am always drawn to brightly colored imagery. Thanks for your comment! —Pam

  11. Jim Peterson says:

    Love your blog. I glean many insights from it.

    And also your work in helping establish the Garden Bloggers Fling.

    Also REALLY like what you are now doing for us (Garden Design magazine).

    Here’s to s healthy and happy next 10 years Pam!


    • Jim Peterson says:

      Typo in last line! Sorry.

      • Pam/Digging says:

        Thanks, Jim! I’m thrilled to be able to write for Garden Design. Meeting you at the Fling, and seeing you there again each year, has been one of many delightful and fruitful connections made there. Thanks so much for your genuine interest in gardens and gardeners in all parts of the U.S. —Pam

  12. Congratulations on a decade of blogging, Pam! Guess we met through comments by the end of February 2006 – what a fun ride it has been and it will be very interesting to see what you are up to during the next decade. Congratulations on the new book!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    • Pam/Digging says:

      You were one of my earliest connections (and friendships) in the garden blogging world, Annie. Remember how cautious our little group was when we first met? It seems funny to me now, but back then the idea of meeting someone you only knew on the internet seemed quite daring. Anyway, I’m so glad we did, and I’m glad you’re still blogging too. —Pam

  13. Laurin Swango says:

    Another quiet reader here! Also a stay at home mom and I homeschool, I have 4 boys ages 6 and under. I’ve always been an artist and nature lover but didn’t care about gardening until about 6 years ago. With the help of your blog (which I’ve read for years), Plano Prairie Garden blog (i live near Plano in Lewisville), Dirt Doctor, the clearance rack at the Lowe’s garden center, and watching Central Texas Gardener on YouTube, I’ve become a passionate artsy gardener and have transformed our whole front yard. The kids play there so much more than if it were still a lawn. It’s a wonderful oasis that gives me so much enjoyment. I’m working on the backyard and about to add a stock tank pond! Thank you for all the wonderful inspiration and the blessing you’ve been! ?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Laurin, your story gives ME so much inspiration! I’m so happy to know that you’ve found a garden to be much more family friendly than a boring lawn. I discovered the same thing when my kids were little. Plus it becomes an important creative outlet for the gardener herself. Good luck with your pond, and happy gardening! —Pam

  14. 10 years! That’s fabulous Pam, congrats! Of course you were a big influence on my starting a blog (which will be celebrating 7 years next month). It does seem there are less an less blog posts in my “reader” everyday. I start to mourn the loss of so many blogs, and then have a friend ask me about starting a blog that same day. New voices, old voices…they’re all good!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Loree, your blog has given me much inspiration over the years, and I’m so glad you’re still as much a passionate blogger as a gardener. Yes, new voices are welcome in the blogosphere, especially as some of the older ones go quiet. —Pam

  15. Diana Studer says:

    2009 was when I started blogging, and I think I’ve been reading yours since then.

    Happy blogiversary!!

  16. Helen says:

    I think I am two years behind you and yours was one of the first garden blogs I discovered that didn’t talk about growing veg, which was a real relief to me!!!
    Happy Blobiversary and here’s to the next 10!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Hah, you’re quite right, Helen. Not much vegetable gardening — i.e., none — is going on here. I sometimes feel out of step in that regard, but you have to blog about what you know and what you love. —Pam

  17. This is great Pam. I hope you never stop blogging. Even though I can’t grow a lot of the plants you can I enjoy seeing them and how they are used. I can translate a lot to my midwest garden in the line of design. Heck, I just like to talk/read about gardens. Your writing and photos are inspirational.

  18. Shannon TX Gardener says:

    Pam, congrats on your success. I found your blog after moving to Austin. You sharing your ideas and photos helped me learn how to manage our garden property in the central TX “death star” summers. Cheer to you! Keep blogging along… :)

  19. Shirley says:

    Thank you for 10 years of gardening and blogging inspiration. I began reading in 2008 and three years later, I started my own blog inspired by Digging. Enjoyed the look back over the years too.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Shirley, I’m so glad you started blogging. Your blog has given me such insight about San Antonio and about dry gardens in general. Getting to know you in person has been a special treat too. —Pam

  20. I started reading your blog not long after I moved in with my daughter to help raise my grandson. We lived in a rent house but the kids had property with no trees. So I started growing trees and ended up with over 400 plants plus a vegetable garden when we moved to a third property.

    Now I live homeless and seldom get to garden but still appreciate special garden blogs and visiting public gardens. I hope to get to read you another few decades. Thanks for all your hard work to make this happen. And congratulations on your new book. I pre-ordered the Kindle version and am waiting for it to show up in my iPad.

  21. Layanee says:

    Pam: Ten years is a great accomplishment. I have enjoyed seeing your gardens, both of them! And, the kids growing up as well. Great friendships have been attributed to garden blogging and Fling and you have been a big part of that! Thank you and keep up the great conversation.

  22. Lauren says:

    Hello, I am usually a ‘quiet’ reader, but am posting a comment because I want to wish you a warm congratulations on your blogging anniversary. Yours is one of the few blogs I read regularly and it has become something of a comfort to me, which surprises me all the time because all though I love gardening (the reason I began to read this blog) I am not from Texas and have few plants from my area in common with yours- a testimony to how wonderful your blog is :D

  23. Laurel says:

    I’m one of the “quiet readers” and have read your blog since sometime in 2008. Your writing, photography, and connections to all we love about Austin has been entertaining and inspiring. Thanks for 10 years of your best gardening thoughts and congratulations!

  24. Priscilla says:

    Congratulations! I have been following your blog for the past few years. I garden in the Outer Banks of NC, Zone 8B. Digging is my favorite gardening blog and the first thing I read when I open up my RSS reader. I spent a summer living in Austin when I was in college, and I love the TX and southwestern design asthetics that you highlight on the blog. Please keep it coming!!

  25. Pam Duffy says:

    Hi Pam,
    Congratulations on ten years of blogging. I think I started reading blogs about three years ago and when I found yours it became a daily check-in to see what you were up to that day. I just read your coverage of David Hocker’s design in the new addition of Garden Design. Great piece! Though I am unable to attend your talk and signing at the Natural Gardener, I’m anxiously awaiting your new book. Hopefully, I’ll be able to attend your event in San Antonio later. Keep up the good work; we love seeing your posts.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Pam, thanks for your comment! I hope to meet you in San Antonio, if you’re able to make it. And I’m envious that you’ve already gotten your copy of the latest Garden Design. I’m still waiting on mine. But perhaps that’s for the best, as I’ll be able to get some work done that way. ;) —Pam

  26. Congrats! I started my blog in 2008 after leaving my newspaper job so I have a sense of that change in venue. Longevity in the blog world is meaningful for me because I want to be able to look and learn from someone longterm. I’ve loved watching you design, build and modify your garden. And I love your thoughtful reviews of books and other people’s gardens.. Hope you can keep up your good work for a few more years at the very least.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Thank you, Linda. Meeting you and Mark at the Chicago Fling and then seeing your garden and touring Madison with you was such a treat. And I’ve learned so much from your own design posts as well. Here’s to many more years of blogging for us both. —Pam

  27. Congratulations, Pam! I was new to Flings in 2015, and enjoyed meeting you in Toronto. Thanks for helping to create such an amazing annual event. After logging my five-year blogiversary in October, I can see how quickly 10 years will go by. Thanks, too, for hosting “Foliage Follow-Up.” It’s one of my favorite memes. Cheers!

  28. Jenn B says:

    Congrats Pam! I’ve definitely enjoyed reading (and been inspired by) your posts for the last several years and visiting your garden on the fall tour. Your hard work in all areas shows!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Thank you, Jenn. I’m enjoying your blog too! The tour last fall is a blur, so I hope to get reacquainted with you at a local blogger meet-up soon. —Pam

  29. Tina says:

    Congrats on 10 years of great garden musings and here’s to the next decade!

  30. Kris P says:

    Congratulations Pam! Ten years is a big achievement. I’m pleased to have been one of your loyal readers for a little over the 3 years I’ve been blogging myself. Thank you for setting such a high standard!

  31. Cheris says:

    Hooray Pam! I’m living in Spain this year, garden-less, but I still read your blog. (And wonder what my tenant in Austin is doing with my yard)

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Hi, Cheris. Thanks for continuing to read Digging from overseas! Spain — what an adventure. I hope you’re able to tour some cool gardens while you’re there. —Pam

  32. Carmen says:

    Hi Pam! I’m a quiet reader who’s been reading you for years as my family and I traveled around. You’ve been a bright spot for Central Texas gardening in a blog world of non-Texas gardens. We finally settled in San Antonio last year and you are one of the few I still turn to for ideas for our climate and conditions. Oh, and I follow you on Pinterest, too ;-)
    Thanks for all the hard work and enthusiasm.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Hi, Carmen. I’m so glad you find Digging a source of inspiration and ideas for our challenging climate here in central Texas. If you don’t already know about them, Rock-Oak-Deer and Xericstyle are two terrific San Antonio garden blogs worth following as well. —Pam

      • Carmen says:

        Hi Pam, yes, I track both of those blogs as well as My Gardener Says and Rock Rose. They each bring a different perspective to the party. Thanks for the alternate blog advice, I’m always looking for more Central Texas garden ideas. Love your stuff, keep it up, Carmen

  33. deb says:

    Congratulations! Love your blog and have for years!!

  34. Congratulations on 10 years of blogging. It is hard to believe it has been that long. I think I first discovered Digging in 2008 when I had no clue what a blog was. I decided to start my own the following year. Lately, it has been hard to keep up with all of the other great gardening blogs, much less my own, but I always find time for Digging.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I always make time for yours too, Michael. You provide such wonderful inspiration for gardening with less water in the Dallas area. Thanks for helping to keep the dialogue going! —Pam

  35. ‘Grats on 10 years!

    I’ve been reading your blog for more than four years now, though I rarely comment.

    I’m an Austin gardener, and when I started I had a place that was not conducive to gardening and I just wanted to see what might be possible/rest my eyes.

    Now I’ve got a wonderful house that came with some very basic landscaping, and I’m looking more closely for ideas! I’m more a flower/vegetable person than foliage, but thanks to your wonderful blog I’m not forgetting the importance of leaves and full year interest. For that alone, a HUGE thank you!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      It’s all good, Shadlyn, and I’m delighted to know you find gardening inspiration here. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. Happy digging! —Pam

  36. Hard to believe it has been 10 years Pam. I wish you many congrats on all your fabulous accomplishments, and hope for many more books and years of blogging, gardening and writing.

  37. Happy 10th Anniversary! I have been following your blog for several years and it was you that inspired me to blog and even go to a fling. I actually stalked you at LBJ Wildflower center when I missed the book signing :) You changed my life and opened me to a world of people that I feel are my tribe! I don’t always comment on your post but I always read them. Your a super hero in my world!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Haha, I remember when you stalked me at the Wildflower Center — too funny! Thanks for your kind comments, Laurin. I’m so glad to have gotten to know you and Shawn, and I always enjoy your design posts. Let’s keep on bloggin’! —Pam

  38. It’s because of bloggers like you, Pam the Fabulous, that I started my own garden blog. You gave a voice and direction to those of us new to this crazy medium of blogging and you continue to inspire and raise the bar. Happy blogiversary, Pam!! Here’s to 20 more years at least.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Tamara, what a flattering thing to hear, especially coming from you. I adore your blog and am so glad I got to meet you at the Portland Fling. I loved reading about your former garden and look forward to seeing how your new one evolves! —Pam

  39. rickii says:

    May your well of words never run dry. “You’re getting to be a habit with me”!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      The well still seems pretty full after 10 years, Ricki. :) Thanks so much for reading, and for being part of the blogosphere too. I always enjoy your posts! —Pam

  40. Cecil Seaserpent says:

    Congratulations on 10 years from a Fredericksburg, Texas follower.

  41. Ginny says:

    Well good job, Pam! We, your blog followers, are the real winners here and I’m glad that you’ve stuck it out :-) I enjoy every post!

  42. linda peterson says:

    happy anniversary, Pam!

    thanks for all the information & inspiration you share with the rest of us! your blog is a treat to which I always look forward, especially at the end of a LONG day in my own garden: something chocolate, a whole lot of Aspercreme and the latest installment of Digging!!!!

    here’s to many more years for you and your lucky readers!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      That’s so great, and I’m with you on the chocolate! Will have to try the Aspercreme next time, in addition to Tylenol, after a long day in the garden. :) Thanks for reading, Linda! —Pam

  43. Happy Blogaversary! So glad to have been along for much of the ride. Love that early picture of us all at Shady Grove. Cheers & all the best for the next 10!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Diana, your friendship is one of the things I treasure most, which has come about through blogging. I’m so glad to know you and share a passion for gardens with you! —Pam

  44. maya ganesan says:

    i too am one of your “quiet”readers- from india. i have so enjoyed the many facets of gardening you highlight – small victories in one’s own little backyard, trips to fabulous “designer” gardens, garden shops (i run one now:), wild and somewhat unexpected visitors – no deer in my garden but cliche as it may be – peacocks and monkeys in mine! the love for a very personal and quiet activity is shared through reading blogs such as yours..

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Hi, Maya. Thank you for such a lovely description of what’s enjoyable about reading blogs. I’m glad you’re here! And I must say you paint a romantic image of a garden visited by monkeys and peacocks. But I suppose, like deer, they’re quite pesky for the gardener. —Pam

  45. Nancy says:

    Congratulations Pam. I started reading your blog because I needed inspiration in dealing with deer and our hot Texas sun and you’ve certainly provided that. Love your photos and visits to interesting places too. I enjoyed your first book and have pre-ordered the second! To sum it up, I’m definitely a fan. :)

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Nancy, I’m honored! Deer and the hot Texas climate are two major gardening challenges, and I’m happy to share my successes and mistakes with both. Thanks so much for your comment. —Pam

  46. Laura says:

    Congratulations on 10 years! What a journey it’s been.

  47. Congratulations on a decade of blogging! I have been a reader of yours for for quite some time and have been following your monthly meme Foliage Follow-Up for a couple of years now. Your posts have been both inspiring and informative, as well as your books, which I have enjoyed reading. Ten years of blogging is quite the accomplishment and I look forward to many more of your wonderful posts. Happy Gardening!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Lee, thanks for your kind comment. I always appreciate your participation in Foliage Follow-Up, and, man, do you share some gorgeous examples with us each time! Let’s keep celebrating foliage and our love of gardening! —Pam

  48. Les says:

    Congratulations, Pam! Your blog was one of the first I started to follow when I began in 2008. I have always enjoyed your garden posts, but I have perhaps enjoyed the posts more where you have hit the road and done a bit of travelling, even if it is just to the other side of Austin. I have also appreciated your photography. Here’s to another decade, if not more.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I’ll keep traveling, Les, because I learn so much by seeing other gardens. I always enjoy your travel/exploration posts too. Let’s keep blogging! —Pam