It has been great fun! I’d like to say a massive heartfelt thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my postings, comment on them, added my links and sent emails. When I started this blog back on 19th November 2006, I had absolutely no idea that I would enjoy the social aspect of blogging so much. At that time I wasn’t even reading blogs.
Is it really time to say goodbye then? LOL… the new blog revamp for Year 4 tells you definitely not! If I ever get bored of posting/blogging it will be time to call it a day. I feel a sense of honesty when I post… I make it my rule not to post just for the sake of it. At the moment I am just bursting full of ideas for this next blogging year… watch out I’m going to get a bit more techy this year!
Before moving on I’d like to take a moment to say a quick goodbye to my blog style for Year 3 with the keepsake screen grab photo above. For readers like my parents and their neighbours who read printed copies at the end of each month it shows what it has looked like.
Tissues away, now I’d now like to give you all a tour around my new layout….
We’ll start with my new banner. I wanted it to show an instant snapshot of what you’ll find inside my blog when you arrived. Just like looking into the window of a shop. However each photo has been carefully selected too.
The purple allium flower represents the photo that I have cropped for previous banners and the profile image I use for both Blogger and Blotanical. It has a bit of history. Representing a profile, this image also heads a new menu below that will include more background info about my garden and blog.
The name panel with the wisteria bud that will open into a flower represents a few things. Firstly, this is one of the most popular searches that find their way to my blog. Wisterias can take so long to flower and the expectation of them from the gardener is huge. Like me a few years ago, everyone who has one wants to know if the buds on their plant this year will yield its first flowers. This one is for all gardeners who love and care for plants. This panel also represents a new beginning.
This name panel also caused some deliberation regarding my blog’s name. When I chose shirls gardenwatch I planned for it to be slightly quirky. I didn’t pick it, as often thought, as a copy of BBC Spring or Autumnwatch.
For visual reasons alone I deliberately chose to have no punctuation or capital letters. I like the short, then long word which probably sounds crazy to many. However, pre children I was a graphic designer and the layout of letters on a page is something that I instinctively want to rearrange and control. LOL… it causes me no end of trouble when I try to alter this template and in many cases blogger wins!
The hedgehog image in my banner represents all the wildlife that wanders around our gardens that we don’t know about. This secretive favourite is also one that sends many searches to my blog for information about everything from what it eats to the droppings that it leaves behind!
The partial albino blackbird represents the more unusual and occasional visitors that arrive in our gardens. It represents the searches I, and others, have through books and the internet to ID a new species of bird arriving in the garden. The apple it is feeding from also represents all the different foods birds and wildlife will eat in our gardens and the fun I have had experimenting with them.
Finally to the dotting parents! This represents the privilege it has been to share precious wildlife moments in this blog like blue tits building a nest, laying eggs and feeding their young. Sadly we have yet to see a successful brood fledge through our nestbox that has a camera in it. I am very fortunate to have a selection of cameras that I can use to watch and record what visits my garden. It would be a sin not to share.
Banner introduction over… let’s now take a brief look at a couple of drop down menus. Before I show the newest one let me share you one that I have thoroughly enjoyed using. Yep… I’ll be honest in saying that many of the links are to websites that I enjoy looking at as well as ones that I think will be of interest to any visitors popping by.
You might guess which one of the menus is my favourite. Yep… the NEST & NATURE CAMS! I particularly enjoy sitting in the evening when it’s late and dark outside being able to see what’s going on at a feeder cam at SWT Loch of the Lowes. I have been lucky enough to see pine martens and deer! I find this opportunity to watch wildlife brilliant and absolutely fascinating.
However, this feeding cam is relatively local. It is a bit more mind blowing that I can select a link from this menu to a feeder cam in a rainforest in Ecuador where I am able to watch humming birds at a feeding station… live!! Is that not something?
Last but by no means least, I’d like to introduce my newest menu… the MY GARDEN & BLOG one. This menu has been set up with links to past postings based in my garden and will be updated with future ones. In time I will add further categories too. My plan behind this one is for it to be more info/personal based.
Oops… I forgot to add this. Just one last thing about reading my blog…
The main post column width has always been something I have wanted to widen as I have felt the balance of the page was wrong for my eye. With that balance in mind I have also increased the text size for my posting a little too so it is noticeable larger than the text in my right sidebar. Now, I’d say the two columns don’t compete for attention when you read through them. I do feel the slightly larger text on my postings also makes it an easier read on the eye although not just because it is bigger. I see it more open now with more background colour coming through therefore a cleaner read. I hope it you find that too.
So that’s it… tour over. All that’s left to say now is that if you have joined me today I’d like to say a huge thank-you and invite you to share in my 3rd Blogoversary… without you I wouldn’t be considering another year of blogging 🙂