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October flowers

Following a very mild, dry September I have noticed a wide selection of  wild and garden flowers still in bloom (or not completely over) in October.  I began my list towards the beginning of the month, but have been adding to it as I have walked around the local area.

Wild flowers I have noticed are dandelion, daisy, pink campion, heartsease (wild pansy), foxglove, and feverfew.  The last three on the list grow in my garden.  The first two are not welcome here!  Pink campion seems to know its place in the hedgerows.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Fuchsia, geranium, pelargonium, begonia, rudbeckia, campanula, potentilla, clematis, hebe, sweet peas, winter jasmine, roses, Californian poppies, hydrangea, honeysuckle, perennial cornflower, pansies, peppermint, heuchera, phlox, gladioli, white alyssum and poppies have all continued to show their blooms into this autumn.  I noticed that the seed heads of pelargonium are similar to those of the cranesbill (true geranium) family.  Perhaps that is why pelargoniums are commonly known as geraniums.  From the car I spotted a lovely yucca in flower.

sweet peas after gales

Sweet peas after gales

The leaves have also stayed on the trees longer than in some years.  The weather has included the gales following hurricane Gonzalo.  Some damage to trees has occurred locally.

Flower

Forgotten name

There have also been butterflies and bees, midges and other insects due to the mild weather.  I mentioned in my post Michaelmas Day how late the swallows had stayed this year.

How are the seasons where you are?  (I find it hard to remember it is spring in the Southern Hemisphere.)   A blogger I follow has a related post.

The last photo here is of a flower in our garden.  I cannot remember its name and have failed to find it in a book.  The flowers grow of the end of very flat stems. The seed pods are knobbly.  I know it grows well near water.  Do you know what it is called?

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Blogging news

Blog Action Day involved thousands of bloggers from over one hundred countries.  It was the second time I had taken part.  My post was the result of a great deal of thought and a certain amount of writing and editing over at least two months.

I was nervous about writing about the topic I had chosen.  There is still stigma attached to mental health, although as I wrote in my post, there are campaigns to reduce this.

My post stimulated some interest.  I had encouraging comments from new readers.  These were some of the best comments I have ever received.  I also gained two new followers.  I hope they will not be disappointed by my future posts.  The number of 5-star votes will ensure that this post is easily accessible for some time.

I was so excited by the quality of the comments that I tweeted about them and Blog Action Day featured my tweet on their rebel-mouse (new to me!)

WordPress used the Blog Action Day topic (inequality) for their Daily Prompt, so once that was published I linked to it for extra exposure.  (They expect posts to be written as a response, but more than once their prompt has coincided with something I had already planned.)  The Daily Prompt is a good means of attracting readers.  It is a good idea to use the category “Daily Prompt” and to link to the page where it was published.  In most cases, copying the text of the prompt gives context to a response.

Recently I have been interacting with bloggers and writers on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of these are new to blogging and are learning as they blog (just as I did when I started my first blog in July 2012).  For their benefit, I’d like to point out a few ways of improving blogs and pitfalls to avoid.  Categories and tags help people find what they are interested in.  Copyright is a tricky issue.  There was recently some discussion on Facebook about it.  Both words and pictures are protected.  It is a good idea to check what is permitted.

If pictures are included in blogs, formatting posts so that the text appears around the pictures is pleasing to the eye.  The first time I took part in Blogging from A to Z in April I suspect one reader did not scroll down to find my text.  There was a complaint that my blog was not loading properly.

For new bloggers on WordPress there are support documents and forums containing lots of useful information.  I am a bit of a techie and enjoy reading about problems and solutions, but many people just want to write and publish their posts.  Presentation is important.  I do not often use photos, but many readers are attracted by them.  Setting out paragraphs with enough white space matters to me.  I sometimes use colour for particular purposes and bold or italic print.  For poetry I use single spacing, which is not the default.  (Shift and enter is required.)  Uploading files from Word, I find that I have to use Control +V to paste the content in the New Post box.  A poem then has to be reformatted.

It is not a bad idea to look through all the headings on the WordPress dashboard (or its equivalent on other platforms) and find out what they do.  There are lots of ways that we bloggers can choose how we interact with others.  The appearance of a blog is something I looked at in my post 20 widgets explained.

 

If you are a new blogger, what have you found most difficult in getting started and in attracting readers?

And if you read blogs, do you know how to find older/newer posts?  I have a page explaining how to find posts on this blog.

 

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Blanket crocheted in four shades

In an earlier post, I showed a work in progress.  It has now been completed!  The first photograph shows a detail of the corner with the edging of one round double crochet in lemon and one round in half treble crochet using each of the other shades.

Detail of edging

Detail of edging

The materials used were Wendy Peter Pan Double Knit. One ball (100g) of each colour was required. The pattern for the motifs was in a book about crocheted and knitted motifs.The blanket consists of six rows and six columns of the motif, which is not quite square. I am still rather a newcomer to the craft of crochet. The yarn cannot be ironed and the blanket does not lie completely flat. If I ever use this design again I have a few ideas for improvements, which I could experiment with.

The finished blanket measures approximately 34 ins by 34 ins.

Blanket in four shades

Blanket in four shades

The photos were taken using my tablet and I uploaded them to a new post, which I accidentally published rather than scheduling.  Before I managed to delete it and produce a draft version, it had two views.  Another time I’ll see if I can just upload the photos to the media library first.  I had not even cropped the extraneous surroundings from the edges of the pictures!  I’m sure the trigger-happy blog readers will have noticed that something was not quite right.