Building a Primer

Before I jump into the actual building and planting of this digital garden project, I wanted to dig further into what others have done and learn more of the history.

So I started building a bit of a primer, mainly for my own reference as I build it out. But I figured it could also be a useful collection of links for anyone else out there who may be wandering down this same path.

The smart play will of course be to actually build this out into a proper primer at some point. And that will be a great garden project down the road! This really is the self-licking ice cream cone of website projects.

And so here are the links I’ve been collecting so far that I go back to as I get a handle on what I want this garden to be for me.

Maggie Appleton’s Brief History: this was my first big read on the history and concepts behind digital gardens, and I find myself coming back to it time and time again.

Daniel Singer’s take on digital gardens: another great read on the concept, with some excellent references and further reading that are absolutely worth exploring.

IndieWeb wiki article: Okay, this one is funny. I love the IndieWeb wiki. It’s a regular go-to resource whenever I’m working on something or looking for inspiration on a next project to tackle. So of course I would go to the wiki entry for digital gardens. And just now I’m reading it, and I get to the bottom, under the “See Also” section, and I read a quote that seems oddly familiar. Then I look at the source and I realize, holy shit that’s me! Folks, I’m trying not to laugh too hard and wake my family, because I just discovered that I’ve been quoted on the internet by a source I turn to all the time and it’s just the funniest thing I’ve ever accidentally come across.

There will be more. But these are some great places to get started. Happy reading!

Life Interrupted

And we’re back! A whole bunch of things hit at the same time last week and completely sidetracked me. I’ve also been struggling to regain some semblance of organization on both my physical and digital desktops, with only mixed success. Basically, life happened.

But I’m back now, and I’ve been having thoughts regarding how I want this digital garden project to go for me. It’s taking longer than I’d like, but I feel like that’s also always the case for me whenever I’ve tried actual gardening, so I guess this is just par for the course.

Here’s the concept I’m imagining so far.

The main digital garden page will essentially provide a garden overview. The garden itself can be broken into “plots”. This could be a simple way to break up the list of entries into subcategories. Sky’s the limit, here. The goal is to provide some form of organization.

The entries themselves, the “plants”, will likely each link to their own pages. Every page would essentially be a project page, or a page of potential if nothing else. It would be an area where development can occur, and thoughts can be jotted down along the way.

And there will be icons! Okay, too excited there. But I am thinking about having some kind of graphically identifiable quick indicator of the status of each entry. And I think this is where the garden metaphor gets to have some fun.

So this is what I’m thinking. Every entry link will have an icon at the front to serve as a status indicator of the “plant”. Right now I’m imagining new entries will be seedlings, which makes sense. Things in development and actively getting attention could be watering cans (getting some water to help the idea grow). A sunshine icon could serve to represent those entries that are waiting for their next phase or for some further development, but aren’t being addressed just yet (just letting nature do its thing). And then finally, a tree would represent something that has made it to fruition (maybe a fruit tree!). This would be the ultimate end state for a garden entry, I think. Something that made it all the way through to the end, and may even lead to new garden entries inspired (or grown) from it.

Of course, there would also be dead leaves/dead plant icons for those things that just died on the vine for whatever reason. And maybe there could be tilled soil to show a new area of interest or preparation for a new plot. Clearly I’m having too much fun with the gardening metaphors.

These are just some initial concepts on how I could make this work for me. So that’s what I’ll start drafting up this week. I’m still stumbling upon awesome sites on a daily basis that continue to inspire, so I’m sure I’ll be coming across even more ways to make this fun along the way!

So. Many. Gardens.

Okay, this will be quick.

I spent the day going through so many awesome examples of digital gardens. In fact, I ended up collecting more examples than I had the time to fully check out.

So I’m going to give myself an extra research day. I want to make sure to not only see as many excellent sites as possible, but to also give my favorite examples a proper highlight and hat tip.

Tomorrow I’ll put together a proper listing of some of the digital gardens I came across that I found most interesting. I know that there are of course more out there than I’ve found already, and more new ones are being planted every day. But that’s okay. I’m just going to write up what I’ve uncovered, and look forward to discovering more in time.