what you fancied: 2010’s top 15 stories

IT’S NOT VERY ‘IN THE MOMENT’ TO LOOK BACK, but let’s do it anyhow. Can you guess what the favorite A Way to Garden posts of 2010 were? (Hint: Not even one was about Jack the Demon Cat, above, whom I fancy more with every passing day together.) Think a moment—then see how good your answer was in this top-15 hit list:

Note on things I didn’t include: the monthly garden chores (always a big hit), or posts from previous years that are still top-performing thanks to Google search (like my refrigerator-pickle recipe, truly the little engine that could). All the big green headline links below are 2010 vintage, and apparently met with your approval. Thanks for your visits and encouragement this year.

1. Vintage WPA Posters

These 1936-1943 beauties bear timely messages: of conservation, hard work, simplicity, rich with phrases like “preserve food” and “spare our trees.” A slideshow.

2. What Weed Is It?

Stop wondering and use one of the handy guides I rounded up to ID and manage your invaders.

3. 2010 Resolution: a No-Work Garden

An homage to beloved Ruth Stout, no-nonsense queen of mulch. Sadly, the videos I was able to show in the original post were subsequently taken off YouTube, so I’ve updated this one.

4. Growing Fancy-Leaf Begonias

I don’t know what my favorite plant is among all the possibilities, but these foliage beauties for use indoors and out certainly come close.

5. Garden Open Day Slideshow

The virtual tour proved the next-best thing to actually coming to visit me on Open Days.

6. Grow Your Own 2010 (Seed Shopping)

In which I confess my seed order for the year.  Scary. (Can’t wait to dig in to the 2011 offerings and do some shopping, however.)

7. Summer and Fall Food Fest Posts

The annual collaborative recipe-swap with food-blogging friends was extremely popular, and technically the intro page to the series was the Number 7 new post on my site…but it isn’t very juicy (just a list of what was to come). Week by week I covered:

8. Hellebore Porn

Hey, good looking: a slideshow of some of my many Helleborus orientalis hybrids in the early spring garden.

9. The Best Tomato Cages

Not cheap, but super heavy-duty and they fold flat to boot.

10. My Woo-Woo Garden Video

My first video explains what my “horticultural how-to and woo-woo” mission statement is all about.

11. How to Ripen a Tomato

Who knew which green ones will and won’t turn red? The scoop.

12. Healthy Tomato Harvest

After a blight-stricken 2009 for many growers, I outlined steps to help you try for better outcomes in 2010.

13. Garden Design 101

“Look out the window” was my best advice. Making a garden plan begins indoors, or at least to my eye it does.

14. Tomato Growing Tips and Tricks

I rounded up all my tomato knowledge in this popular post.

15. Mulch FAQs

What makes good mulch (and doesn’t), and how to use it–a topic on which I am very opinionated.

Again, my many thanks for your visits, comments, and good energy. Onward into another year together, shall we?

  1. Terryk says:

    Even though I did not contribute other than maybe some comments I would have to guess that Summer Fall Fest were the biggest hit.

    But my vote would have been for the cutie in the photo above. He just reminds me so much of the two black cats that Jerry took in. They were outdoor cats and the one that would run away if I looked at him coming in the door became my boy when he became an indoor cat.

    We now have adopted Gravy and she is my little girl. They do grow on you Margaret. I’m glad to see that you two are becomeing best of buds.

  2. Linda Secrist says:

    Jack looks like my Mickey- a 15 yr old guy i adopted 8 yrs ago. he still loves a good tussel with me or the other resident cat. Gota love them -life would be so boring without them

  3. patricia says:

    Jack the demon cat is a very fine cat and to think no one bothered to say what a fine boy he is to be sure. We had a ‘Golly’ cat much like Jack who was a resident stray and most feral when we arrived on the bluff in our home that is surrounded by forest. Much love, attention and food erased much of his bad manners and became my good friend although never a house cat, only if the back door was left open no matter the temperature winter, summer or fall. I had the most awful time with winter worry with Golly, his name came from any who know what an English Golliwog was as an emblem used years gone by in the UK. jam pots. We had Golly with us for 8 years and his home was a brand spanking dog house wrapped in tarps and insulation filled with furs and a heated flat bed for him warm during the cold winter days and there he was quite happy but off he would roam many times in deep snow, but after two bouts of cancer surgery and another reoccurred cancer, I knew it was not fair to hang on to my old boy any longer so we finally took him from pain and laid him to rest nearby our home. I am confident he shadows me often and will be there one day to greet me over the bridge of divide.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome to Linda and Patricia, who both appreciate a good cat when they see one. :)

      I am charmed by your tales of adopted felines you have loved. Hard to imagine life without Jack now — even though I was never, ever a pet person before this good boy. See you both soon again.

  4. Judy says:

    Yes, all of those were my favorites too. And recently on a visit to the local used book store, I was able to get my very own copy of Ruth Stout’s book. And the bookseller filled me in on her brother, another passionate gardener it seems. Looking to 2011 and more great gardening essentials. =^..^=

  5. Margi says:

    ….just to remind you, Margaret, that you are indeed a ‘pet person’. You are Jack’s
    pet person. (forgive me for playing with the words)

    What a serious, deep thinker, that Jack. I love any pictures of him.

  6. Terryk says:

    What a great story of your relationship with your Golly Patricia. They sure can give you much to worry about when they go out in those storms (they boys did that too). We have all five of our cats and one of my daughters burried in the back part of the garden. Not long after one of the boys passed away, out of the cat nip came a cat that looked exactly like out Connie (Jerry has always named the cats the name that he thinks fits them even if it’s a girl name and the cat is a boy).

    Now how is it that that Jack was not up there in the top 10 stories, when we are all commenting about that handsome young man.

  7. virginia morningstar says:

    Once again I am reminded that I march to a different drummer. NONE of my favorite posts (except the mulch, #10) were in the top 10. Don’t stop posting about Jack! Guess I’m just a feline voyeur . . . was worried when you tweeted about his lost battle/subsequent injury recently. . . and I NEVER check tweets . . . waiting for a post as to his progress . . . nothing. I have a tuxedo cat myself. Rock on, Jack! Happy new year!

  8. shashe says:

    I am so thankful for your blog which has not only taught but also inspired me. Thank you, thank you, Margaret. I look forward to a 2011 filled with more of your soulful musings, voluminous knowledge, gorgeous photos, hellebore porn, Andre’s witty cartoons, missives of Jack the Demon Cat and all that makes this one of my favorite places to hang out. Happy New Year!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Shashe — as in you are always welcome. And thank you for such a sweet New Year’s message. I should use it as my advertising campaign — very well-put! See you very soon, yes?

  9. Oddly, some of my favorite of all favorites weren’t in the top…why??? Am I falling out of synch with my gardening compatriots?

    Happy new year to you and yours, including your demon cat.

    (My gardens in California are under about 2″ of water. Here’s hoping that the citrus, figs, and herbs don’t topple in the winds)

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    1. Margaret says:

      @Sharon: So sorry to hear about the flooding. Oh, my. As for “favorites,” the internet is funny that way. Things that the smaller core audience of “regulars” to the blog might like best can get eclipsed stats-wise by things that somehow get “Stumbled Upon” or otherwise recommended in some kind of social or search tool. So first-time (and often one-time) visitors coming from such places can push up the total clicks (like with the WPA posters).

  10. shashe says:

    Thank you, yes— not as soon as I wanted, but here nonetheless. And, now (if you’ll excuse me) I must catch up on my reading here! Margaret, have a peaceful week.

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