A Blogday and a Giveaway

It's my blog's first birthday today! Hurrah - let's break out the balloons, wobbly jelly, orange squash, squishy cake and have ourselves a celebration! Many thanks to those of you who've visited and commented this past year - almost 25,000. A number of you I count amongst my friends now, which is marvellous. And to think I almost didn't make it past the first week, never mind the first year.

I've already given my blog some presents - a tweaked new layout, a new header and a few shiny badges to wear. I'd love your feedback on the new layout - I've tested it out in a few browsers (Internet Explorer, AOL and Firefox), but don't have access to them all. If you have any problems or even plaudits, do let me know. You'll see that one of the badges to the left is for something called NaBloPoMo. I came across this via Flighty and I've signed up to their challenge to write a post a day for the whole of November. I know some of you are thinking that's not much of a stretch for me, so I'm additionally having a go at Your Messages - a 30 or 300 word response to a daily theme posed here. The Garden Monkey sent me the link last night. It's extremely good timing as I've just started on a creative writing course where I'm well outside my comfort zone - that's putting it mildly. Hopefully these daily challenges will help me overcome my panic.

I also have a pressie for someone. Victoria's sent me her review copy of the pictured book and she suggested I could use it as prize for my Open Garden fundraiser. You may know I've extended its opening until February with a revised goal of raising £1,300, so a new prize is most welcome. I'm not setting a quiz or having a random draw this time. Instead you have up to three chances to win:
  • If you've visited my open garden, made a donation, but not won a prize yet - your name's in the hat already
  • If you visit my open garden between now and before 8am GMT next Sunday morning (9th November) and make a donation (new or additional) - your name will also go into the hat
  • If you're my 25,000th visitor on here, I'll add your name too. It should happen within the next few days, so keep watching!

If you've visited my garden already, you may not have seen the additional content I've been putting on there over the past couple of months. I've added some illustrated plant lists for each of the flower beds, plus I've archived all my monthly slideshow contributions to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. So there should be plenty for new or returning visitors alike.


  1. Congratulations on your birthday! Very spiffy new look. Also good luck with all the writing :-)
    I have adblock Plus as an addon in Firefox so when I click on the Black Box pic a pop up is blocked at the top of the page. Thought I'd mention it.

  2. I really like the new layout! There's so much on your blog, but somehow the new arrangement makes it easy to see everything at once. It works really well.

  3. Congrats on the first blogging anniversary - your blog is always interesting to read. I like the new layout :-)

  4. Happy blogaversary! You blog does indeed look good!
    You may inspire me to do some rearranging on my blog; you have already inspired me to think about water issues around the world!

    May the muses be with you this month and always!


  5. I've only recently found your blog, but it is so beautiful!

    Congratulations! I'll take a tour of your "extras" that you've added.


  6. Happy blogday to you, happyblog day to you, happy blog day near blog...........

    I like the new layout putting me to shame again as I havent even sorted out my tags or categories yet!!

    I like the idea of writing a blog a day but I dont think I will be able to find the time to write something every day and read others blogs. Good luck though.

  7. Happy Blogday to you! The new layout looks great. I'm thinking o f updating my layout, too.

    Look forward to another great year of Veg Plotting.

    (We don't have wobbly jelly or squishy cake here in the U.S. They sound interesting, whatever they are.)

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  8. Happy blog-a-versary Veg Plotting!! What an achievement ~ I never knew the work involved in a blog until I started one myself. Now I can totally appreciate all the efforts put forth by bloggers around the world. I'm a recent reader of your blog too so I'm not sure what was different ~ it looks great now tho! The give-away book looks grand too.

  9. Happy blogday, and I like the new look!
    Many thanks for the linked mention, which is always welcome.
    I always enjoy coming here and rest assured that although you're at the bottom of my Lawn loungers list that is only because it's alpabetical. As far as I'm concerned you're one of my favourite favourites! xx

  10. Happy Blogday!

    I always enjoy and frequently learn from your blog, here's to the next year.

    Deborah x

  11. Happy birthday to your blog, VP! :-D I'm very glad I found it - I enjoy reading it (not to mention the lovely Jekka McVicar book from your Open Garden giveaways!).

    Easygardener - I have adblock Plus too - but if you click on preferences when the box comes up to say the pop up is blocked, you can choose to allow pop ups from this blog only.

  12. Congratulations on your blogaversary! I am so amazed at the number of us who started blogging last year. It's been a fun ride, watching your garden wax & wane with the seasons, listening to choral concerts & just getting silly. (I really loved the garden gnome post.) I admire bloggers such as yourself who can manage to post so often. A post a day may not seem like much to you, but sometimes I have difficulty posting more than once a week. The new look is great! I think I'll pass on the wobbly jelly.

  13. Very brave to change your layout like that. Maybe when I reach my anniversary I might know enough to do the same without losing everything!

  14. A most happy first birthday to your blog VP and here's to many more ! I like the new look especially the rainbow :) I am using Safari as my browser and all seems fine.

  15. Hooray. Congratulations VP. Always good to visit.
    (PS New Blog looks delightful on Safari - the browser: I don't want you to think I am swanning around the veldt chasing Thompson's gazelles and wearing short sleeved leisure wear.)

  16. Guess what!?!?! your birthday made me go back and see when I started doing A Nice Green Leaf... only 23rd October! I've missed my own blog's birthday! Pafetic. Many happy returns Mrs, and looking forward to next year seeing you and other bloggers in the flesh much more xxx

  17. Hooray, happy first blogaversary VP, well done!

    The new layout looks great, another well done here. ;-)

    Last week we had a few sunny days, a few drizzly ones and 2 nights of frost but no snow. It's very seldom that we have snow here, even a sprinkling is a rare sight.

  18. Congratulations on your blog anniversary, VP! I like your new layout, but especially the photo in the header. I'm going to have to re-visit the open garden to see those plant lists now!

  19. many happy returns VP - looking good...
    oh - good luck with the daily post challenge - I'll be reading...
    well done again! x
    (ps - just got the word eggie as my word for verification - hahaha)

  20. Hi VP - I love the new layout too which works well for me on Safari too. Like JAS I'm not swanning around in short sleeved leisure wear either - yet!

    Good luck with the creative writing course - I'm sure you'll do well. My brother - in - law took one a couple of years ago and has now done an Open University degree and is probably going on to do a Masters. What clever people there are about.

    As some one else said - I struggle to do a post a week on my blog, but I hope to put on an update later on today (or maybe tomorrow)! You'll have no trouble doing a post a day! Just think how much there will be for me to read when I get home. What fun.

  21. Hi everyone - thanks so much for your congratulations plus the positive comments about the new layout :D

    Juliet - thanks for the tip for EG, I'll make sure it gets passed along...

    James - but wouldn't it be great to be on safari, especially in a grey, dreary November like we're having at the moment. And then there's the delights of all that South African native flora to explore in Springtime at this time of year...

  22. PS I forgot to add - I'll come over to your places for a visit if I haven't left a specific comment for you here, OK?


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