Monday, January 30, 2012


How many stitches?
            I like statistics. Which is to say, I like compiling statistics. I really enjoy counting things, writing down the results, and looking for patterns. The only education class I really got into at university (not including the practicum, which I loved) was Tests and Statistics. I’d have made a crackerjack actuary, except I only obsess over things that interest me.

One recent example: Tim innocently asked about how many stitches it takes to make a sweater-vest—such as the new one I’m knitting for him these days. I said I didn’t know, and immediately started counting. After an intense half-hour with the instructions, pencil and paper, I had an answer: 34,158. Specifically, that’s 17,079 knits and 17,079 purls.

4 November 2010-30 January 2012
            I mention all this by way of leading up to announcing that you are reading the 100th post of Gardening from the Ground Up since its inception. In honor of the occasion, I’ve compiled some blog-related statistics.

  • Total number of posts, including this one:  100
  • Average number of days between posts:  4.56
  • Shortest time between posts: 1 day
  • Longest time between posts: 16 days
  •  Total page views since debut (at time of publication):  13,124
  •  Average length of visit:  one minute and 15 seconds
  •  Average number of views per post:  131.24
            That last is a mathematical average, the result of dividing 13,124 by 100. The actual number of views per post varies widely, from two (one of whom was always Tim) to almost 400. Here’s a more refined breakdown:

  • Posts with 0 to 25 hits:  38
  •  Posts with 25 to 50 hits:  18
  •  Posts with 50 to 100 hits:  22
  •  Posts with 100 to 200 hits:  15
  •  Posts with 200 or more hits:  6
             The 12 most popular posts:

Ipheion uniflorum 'Jessie'
from Am I Blue Bonus
1.  Am I Blue Bonus (April 17, 2011)—392 hits. This is the one that is mostly pictures of plants with blue flowers. I’m very gratified it is such a favorite, because it took the longest amount of time to get in shape for publication of all posts so far. Pictures can be a bear to work with, especially when one is not entirely sure what one is doing.

2.  Winter Weeds (January 4, 2011)—298 hits. Y’all really responded to posts about weeds, because # 3 is…

3. Summer Weeds, Part 1 (July 11, 2011)—271 hits. Horticultural literature has let us all down in the weed identification department, as well as insects, because # 4 is…

4.     Bugs: The Good… (May 5, 2011)—245 hits. This brief profile of eight common beneficial insects also lists four ways to get help figuring out who’s who in the insect kingdom.

Clematis jackmanii x superba
from The Heartbreak of Clematis
5. The Heartbreak of Clematis (June 8, 2011)—218 hits. Your warm reception of the recounting of my lengthy and on-going struggle with getting members of the genus Clematis to grow in my yard helped alleviate some of the pain.

6. Food for Thought, Part 2 (February 24, 2011)—209 hits. In this post, we learn exactly the mechanism by which plants “eat,” and the paramount importance of improving your soil so that supplemental chemicals become unnecessary.

7.   Enter Field Notes (June 12, 2011)—174 hits. This was the first single plant profile, and it featured Lespedeza thunbergii.

8. Stuffing Stockings (December 10, 2010)—171 hits. The most looked-at post of 2010, it offers suggestions for gardening-related gifts small enough for Santa to slip in a stocking.

Grey garden slug

from Bugs: The Bad...
9.  Bugs: The Bad… (May 15, 2011)—171 hits. Pesky insects are in a dead heat with stocking stuffers for eighth place.

10. Regarding Rain and Rain Barrels (June 24, 2011)—160 hits. From saving rain to permeable paving to building bioretention areas for purifying runoff, thinking about how we use and abuse water comes under consideration.

11. Masters of Verticality (June 4, 2011)—160 hits. We look up at the idea of using vertical space in this post that tied with rain barrels.

12.  Bugs: the Boths and Neithers (May 19, 2011)—158 hits. The last of the bugs series ekes into the top 12.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, here are the 12 biggest bombs, in reverse order:
Boring pH table from The Dirt on Dirt

1.  November Wrap-Up (November 30, 2010)—10 hits. This one tied with…

2. Plants I’ve Loved and Lost (October 2, 2011)—also 10 hits. Nobody cared. The next three under-loved entries share identical amounts of lack of reader interest…

3.  The Dirt on Dirt (September 14, 2011)—9 hits. A surprise. I thought gardeners loved dirt.

4.  Staying Thankful (November 2, 2011)—9 hits. Must be a lot of ingrates out there.

5.  What’s in a Name? Part 2 (December 11, 2011)—9 hits. This I understand. Most folks, I’ve learned, fear botanical names. Huh. If they’d just read this, they wouldn’t.

6.  Curmudgeon’s Corner (October 6, 2011)—8 hits. Oh, come on. I’m kinda cute when I’m ranting. Ask Tim. Whining tied with...

7.   Bringing in the Plants 2 (October 31, 2011)—8 hits. …in driving away readers.

8.   Expectations (May 23, 2011)—7 hits. I expected better.

9.  What’s in a Name? Part 1 (December 6, 2011)—7 hits. This was expected.

10. Fresh Starts (January 14, 2012)—6 hits. I’d like to blame holiday burnout.

Kosteletzkya virginica
11. Hurricane Doggerel (August 29, 2011)—3 hits. Everyone’s a critic. And now for the worst of the worst…

12. Field Notes for the Weary (September 28, 2011)—2 hits. I must say, this one surprised me. What’s not to like about seashore mallow, Kosteletzkya virginica?

And what patterns have emerged from the wreckage? Three things. First, y’all seem to prefer hard facts above philosophy, as long as they're not too technical. I suppose that’s to be expected in our information-overloaded-but-science-and-math-skills-deficient society. (Ah, but "where is the wisdom in information?” T.S. Eliot famously queried in one of his “Four Quartets.”) Second, you like lots of pictures, another consequence, I imagine, of a world dominated by images—big-screen TVs, movies, YouTube, video games, advertising everywhere—to the detriment of the printed word. Third, I am not going to be drafted by popular acclaim into the Blog Hall of Fame any time soon.

But that’s okay. Although from a very young age I’ve rather fancied the idea of becoming a famous writer—you know, like Louisa May Alcott—the downsides of public adulation more and more outweigh any imagined benefit as I grow older and wiser (if not more informed). Harper Lee and J.D. Salinger, I salute you.

Harper Lee tells The Guardian to go to hell
The price of fame

            Thanks for dropping by. That is, if you did. And if you managed to get this far in that average one minute and 15 seconds.



  1. Congratulations on the centenarian blog post!

    1. Well, hey, Miss Billie!
      Thanks for checking in. How's tricks in West-By-God? Hope you and your orchard are well and prospering. I'm looking forward to a care-package of home-grown heirloom apples this fall. :-)

  2. Congrats on the Milestone, but a better word might be Kilometerstone. My fav article? The one with the history of fertilizer. You know, the one with the photo of the upside-down bag of Plant-tone. And, I did love the posts about names!
    keep 'em coming, karen

    1. Somehow, "kilometerstone," while indisputably more politically correct, doesn't quite have the same ring to it...
      Good to hear from you, Karen. How about this mild winter, eh? I'm lovin' it!