As every seasoned blogger knows, a blog is a two way process with an ever-growing network of links and connections.  Eighteen months ago, when Beyond the Window Box took its first tentative steps into the world, my idea of a blog was something much more static – write, add photos, post, wonder if anyone’s read the post, repeat.   How wrong I was!

My first links with other bloggers were made through the WordPress Reader.  The posts in the daily Discover listing looked dauntingly impressive but a search on ‘balcony garden’ and ‘window box’ brought me to some blogs with reassuringly modest ambitions.  Yes, it’s  OK to write about the snails that are eating your prized hosta or your balcony tomatoes that won’t ripen.  Someone out there might be interested and if not, there’s no harm done.



Discover also led me to the photos of Sheila Creighton – deceptively simple images of mostly natural subjects.  I couldn’t aspire to the professional quality of Sheila’s images but I could learn from them.  The title of her blog, Imagery of Light, is a giveaway.  These photos don’t just use light, they are brought to life by making light part of the image, in shadows and glints, contre-jour, silhouette and any number of effects I have no name for.  Sheila’s photos also show a painterly restraint in colour range – often only two or three main colours in an image.  I couldn’t be so restrained but I could start to be more selective.   My photos improved and started to take precedence over the words in my posts.

Four months on from the start of Beyond the Window Box I finally plucked up courage to add a ‘like’ button to my posts.  Did I really want to know whether anyone liked what I had written?  I soon discovered that ‘likes’ aren’t just a boost to a bloggers confidence, they start to transform blogging into a two way process.  I’d been wary of writing a Paris blog – surely that had been done a million times before? – but gradually expanded the horizons of my posts to include Paris parks, green space and street trees.  Was anyone interested?  Well, yes, a few people were.  Not only  did people stumble across the blog, they stayed a while, liked posts and even added thoughtful comments.

Return visits led me to discoveries across the globe from Debbie at Spaceship China (who happens to like nasturtiums) to Beatriz at gardeningB, who grows tropical fruit in Florida, Robyn in Australia with Big Dreams for a Tiny Garden and bythebriny at Salal Studio who posts wonderful landscape photos from the gulf islands of British Columbia.  Bythebriny’s usual subjects are the antithesis of city scenes but I could take inspiration from the sense of space and atmosphere in her photos.

So many different people have influenced the direction and development of this blog:   Scooj at Natural Adventures by his enthusiastic response to my posts on Paris street art and lesser known corners of the city; Marga at The Photographer Smiled by her celebration of the pattern and form of everyday objects; Norm at Norm 2.0 by his invention and hosting of Thursday Doors; Manja at The Mexi Movie by taking photos I wish I’d taken myself and telling me the same when she likes mine.  I hope some of these people recognise their influence in the pictures on this page.

The list grows as new connections develop.  If you like what you find on Beyond the Window Box, why not follow some of the highlighted links in this post and explore some new connections?

Unusually all the photos on this page are from my archives and the seasons are all mixed up. Click on any image for a closer view of that gallery and some information on the pictures.  The main picture is chalk art by Groove on a rainy day by the Seine.

This post was prompted by the weekly Discover Challenge Connection