Checking in on GardenWeb


When I first starting looking online for garden advice in the early 2ks, the first places I visited were and the mail order ratings (Garden Watchdog) on Dave’s Garden. For a brief period, I considered using the garden journal option on DG, but then I found Blogger, which seemed better for writers. Over time, I stopped checking GardenWeb, and moved to the discussions I found in the blogosphere—but GW was instrumental in first helping me identify other garden blogs. GW was purchased by iVillage in 2005, and seemed to putter along, although its “voices” blog directory faltered. In 2015, the GardenWeb forums were purchased by the Houzz home design site; you can find them here.


I took a quick tour of the forums recently, and, overall, I’d have to say it’s a pretty quiet scene, with some hot spots. One poster, lamenting the lack of activity on many forums, states “I wish Facebook didn’t exist,” correctly identifying social media as the preoccupation that has decimated forums and, to a lesser extent, blogs, as online meeting places. Another poster forlornly notes, “I stopped by because I was looking for help turning fire extinguishers into chimes.” I hope he or she finds this information; I feel confident it is out there.


However, I did find some viable and recent discussions in landscape design, antique roses, and permaculture forums, which had been among my favorites, though some categories, like compost/mulch, seem to have disappeared. You’re also bothered by a repetitive popup asking you to join Houzz and the navigation is annoying. Visitors to Houzz will not see the GW forums unless they click on the “stories and advice” tab, and the back arrow is nonfunctional most of the time. On the other hand, Houzz does host full articles on gardening topics, most written by knowledgeable professionals, as far as I can tell, and there are links to these in the forums.


In the end, this is a story of survival. In spite of Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, the GardenWeb forums are still here, and, in some areas, still lively. I hope they stay that way.


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