Posted in My Blogs, Uncategorized

I answered Garden Questions on Quora

Today I spent a little time answering some gardening questions on the Quora site. I don’t usually do this, simply because I tend to forget about the site and the fact that I belong to it!

Just too many irons in the fire usually. But I do find it fun to answer queries like this, and would do more on the Facebook page for Ilona’s Garden, if only people would ask.

As an example I am embedding one of the more cut and dried answers I’ve given here:
Read Ilona EE‘s answer to What do I need to know before I plant a tree? on Quora

One thing I do notice is how broad the questions often are. I guess many of don’t realize how specialized gardening topics can be. Besides our climate zones, plants range from those who happy almost anywhere ( we often call them “weeds”) and those which are so highly particular that they grow only under the most careful and specific conditions.

Do you have favorite garden forums?

Posted in My Blogs

Updating All Sites

Just to let you know what’s happening on the sites and what I’m doing as a writer/webmaster. Some people might be curious.

To keep content safe I regularly update everything: wordpress, plugins, themes, everything. It takes time, although not nearly what it used to!


Latest updates include:

The regular platform ones and refreshing themes. I am refreshing the branding on Ilona’s Garden first, since that is my main website. I’ve been all over the place with fonts, look, taglines. Maybe because it is my oldest viable site, and the one I am most identified with, I feel I need to make the decision to use a certain look that works for giving readers a real idea about the site and my writing. Still using DIVI theme, which has some brand new page looks, etc!


Revamped Gallery Of Pages


I’ve been reducing the amount of ads, improving popular articles, improving navigation, adding better images.

Next will be Garden Librarian, then the Garden Journal, and the Reflecting Pool sites after that.

I just got through paying for my hosting for the coming year.


This year, 2016, I improved my output and that is where I am concentrating all my real efforts. I have written many more articles for the Garden site and the journal, and moved the hubpage articles there.

Wow, that was a lot of work. Besides adding more info, editing, and working on the images, hubpage formatting had to be completely revamped. Each article took hours of work before publishing on my own sites.

What has suffered the most is my newsletter, which I put on the backburner until I have more articles. I got tired of telling people what I was going to do, rather than doing it. I think my readers got tired of that, too.

I think the end of summer will be a good time to renew newsletter writing.


Yes, I am still writing on Hubpages, or maybe a better term is grooming and giving maintenance to the articles still there. I did branch out into a new topic… all the British TV I watch! Yes, that is what i do to relax.


I have a cute new theme that will help make the different types of posts more distinctive from each other. Percolating on the stove is more video, which requires a certain frame of mind to create. I hope the format on this page will highlight when I have a new type of article or media to share with you all.


Posted in Uncategorized

Spring 2016

While it’s true that I haven’t kept up with the newsletter schedule, I have been busy adding new pages. Along with the general gardening population my emphasis shifted to growing food in the past couple years. The new pages are related to tomato growing, which is the number one garden produce on my own person list.

You can get many delicious and high quality fruits and veggies from your local grocery store, but tomatoes is not one of them. I have yet to taste a tomato from a store that can compare with my homegrown fruits.

So for Central Ohio gardeners I listed my own favorite varieties in this post, along with Tomato growing info and hints for everyone in “The Complete Guide To How To Plant A Tomato“and “Grow Food Guide: How To Care For Tomato Plants“.

I hope all my readers find a tip or two, some inspiration to start (or as in my case, start back) growing their own homegrown tomatoes and produce.

Less Flowers

Because I lack manpower and energy to ready cultivated spaces, I have been growing less flowers than I used to in the past. Now, almost all my flowers are grown in containers which provide big impact and are easier to maintain.

If you are interested in the types of container plantings from the past, here are some pages that highlight my own and those of a public garden in my area:

5 Tips and 5 Ideas For Flowering Containers

Color Where You Want It

Summer Flower Containers


Posted in Uncategorized

What’s Up With Ilona’s Garden?

I was busy with traveling and helping out various members of my family all summer. The result is that my garden looks like crap (excuse the language, but it really looks worse than neglected and weedy). I swear if it was up to my husband we would be redneck, trailer trash. I mean the stereotype, not actual people who live in trailer parks, which often look quite nice and neat, or rednecks, which aren’t as silly as they are cracked up to be for comedians to mine for their routines 🙂

Let’s just say he would fit the stereotype if I let him. Or else shave everything down to the grass and 5 scraggled trees we started out with. Maybe. Because he doesn’t like to mow very much.

Anyway, besides the neglected garden, I also had neglected sites. I have no one to blame for that!

I did manage to write a post for Ilona’s Garden Journal, Reviewing 2014 Growing Season, already. Yes, it is the end of the season for me, I will be off again, unable to care for the garden.

I have lots of plans for garden writing during that time, however, so despite a single post of Ohio Fall Showcase being the sole fruit of the late summer there will be posts and pages on Ilona’s Garden. I blame the fact that I miscalculated how little time one has for writing when running after an active two year old! Especially when I no longer can run.

Sorry for all the shame and blame, it is indicative of the differential between my well intentioned plans and the realities of my choices. I shouldn’t call these reasons “blame”, they are simply explanations. Old verbal habits that I probably should remedy from my conversation!

But I intend to write LOTS in early October. Then piece out the publishing of it, so there is less of the feat and famine which tends to characterize my blogging schedule (hoped for scheduling, instead of the writing when the muse hits me, or I can carve time away from an avalanche of demands!)

So, that is the update. Thankfully I wrote a newsletter for this month and can resume the monthly schedule here on out. Read this month’s chat, here. Or better yet sign up… I should put a link to that somewhere on here….

Posted in Squidoo

Heard The News About Squidoo?

copywritingIn August it was announced that Squidoo had sold its content to Hubpages, a similar type of site (but with significant differences).

Squids were in a hubbub, and given opportunity to choose an early opt-in or take their content elsewhere, the remainder of the members work gets transferred automatically, and the whole process is slated to be finalized by October 2014.

I decided to do early opt-in since I had already opened an account, see Ilona1 on Hubpages. That allowed me to buffer the shock a bit, since I had become aware of the difference in writing between the two sites. Still, the actual changes and work involved are more than anticipated.

Hubpages was faring better than Squidoo in its relationship with Google changes, and its traffic was better. I’d say not everyone in the HP community is completely happy with absorbing Squidoo writers into their midst.

I had not been as active a member at Hubpages, and still feeling my way. Money-wise, it is unclear whether the lenses will continue to make the income that they did on Squidoo. I am trying to adjust to the style changes of Hubpages, although at this point I might say I like it better than I did and might even now prefer the format to the old Squidoo.

After the initial spurt of work at recreating and customizing the old writing into the new format of HP, I do think I will concentrate on writing for and building my own sites. It was to aid my sites that I first forayed into Squidoo, and then got totally sucked in and neglected my own patch of the web.

Hoping I learned my lesson!


Posted in Uncategorized

Long, Cold Winter Ahead?

My blogger friends have noticed ants working extra hard this summer, the early onset of wintery weather has already been arriving in parts of the USA (South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado).

I personally am expecting a more severe than usual winter, although I hope it doesn’t hang on as long as the 13/14 winter did.
In my area, the Ohio valley, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts

Winter will be much colder than normal, with the coldest periods in mid-December, from late December through early January, and in mid- and late January

It looks like we need to get ready for it, possibly getting winter preparation chores done earlier than usual and making sure there is plenty of firewood and generators are in order.

Posted in Uncategorized

That Magic Moment

Fairegarden outdid herself today.


Sierra Exif JPEG
It is easy to see on a day like this how early humans would believe in the sun as a deity. Imagine a fear that the darkness of night, even when the stars and moon are visible to provide illumination, might last forever. How welcome the first light of morning would seem then. It is my favorite time of day, as the color switch is flipped to the on position.

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I like to go outside at dawn, when it is light enough to not trip and fall on the steep slope and slippery paths but the great golden orb has not yet risen high enough to wash over the garden.

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Sometimes I have the camera along to enjoy and record the magic show, as the flower colors begin to brighten.

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There are spider webs everywhere, many stretching across the pathways right at the level of my head, the better to…

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Posted in Uncategorized

The Facebook Page for Ilona’s Garden

I’ve had some very positive feedback from my Facebook page ( Join in if you haven’t yet @ Ilona’s Garden )

I started posting more of my photos, sharing from the homepage and generally trying to participate more. I had two relatives who said that my garden posts “made their day”, and that is incredibly encouraging to hear that. I think they access my site from Facebook.

I have about 206 likes at this time which is an improvement, but not nearly equal to what many other garden sites have. Of course I recently started a newsletter and I hope that gives people the extra benefits of my writing. So, besides tat many rainstorms things are looking brighter for Ilona’s Garden.

Changing Your URL

They say you shouldn’t change your url, especially for an established blog. Well, I did that. In the hopes of creating a better reader experience I signed up for the Google Pagespeed beta. It is a free service while they experiment with it, and then it is unsure how much it will cost. I had been using the free Cloudflare, which I liked, but it kept getting hit with attacks from the spammers and I had outages because of that and sometimes the site was very slow.

The Pagespeed service needs the “www.” in from of the url address and I didn’t have it set up that way. It was a real hassle changing it. Finally the host technicians got it to point to the database, but there were still residual problems. Of course, now I have less cred with Google with a different url which redirects, etc. I hope changing was worth it.

There did seem to be a small benefit from changing, and I hope in the long run that this will prove true.

I have been busy correcting all the linking urls on my site, and related sites (like here). That is a lot of work!

On the whole I think it is advice well taken to think twice before changing an established url. It can be a long climb back.