Botanical Tales Turns One
Well, what a whirlwind the last year has been! I’ve changed and grown in ways I didn’t even know I could or that I needed too. And it’s all thanks to Botanical Tales who turned one today.
In celebration of the special day and also to capture my learnings on virtual paper, I thought I would share with you a little of my journey. Maybe it will inspire or serve as a reassurance that you are heading in the right direction with your chosen path, or maybe it’ll simply pass 5 minutes with a cup of tea and a biscuit preferably a chocolate one please. Either way, here goes!
So I think I am probably one of the few of us who start something with no clue what the end destination is and if I’m honest not even caring! Botanical Tales was born on 2nd June 2016 when I posted the above photo of the gorgeous roses that had started to bloom in my garden. I had said to my husband a few days before, that I had this idea of an Instagram account to capture all the comings and goings of the seasons in our new garden. At that point in time, I had thought that my space would be an educating one, sharing information on flowers and their origins, uses etc. and the comment linked to this photo reflects that.
My vision or purpose was simply to share pretty photos of the flowers growing in my garden. An antidote to the madness that is my house with two young boys and two crazy mutts. Actually, I didn’t realise it at the time but it was an outlet of my creativity, which somewhere along the way had got stifled by life comings and goings.
And then people started to like my photos and my followers and engagement steadily grew, unexpectedly. The photo below was my first taste of a photo getting to the top of # and onto peoples explore pages – I posted it late one Saturday night after being at the pub and woke in the morning to turn my phone on and think “what on earth”. I think at that point in time I had only a handful of followers, so get likes in the 100’s seemed so unbelievable.
It gave me a confidence boost that was much needed and I started to get a bit more adventurous with my photos. It was also around this time that I decided to take Cristina Colli’s storytelling course (read my interview here), that helped me get clear in my mind the visual direction of Botanical Tales. It was always there but it was invaluable to structure my thoughts!
It was like something had awoken in me, beyond taking photos of flowers but a more fundamental love of gardening and growing things. And as friends and family started to find out about Botanical tales, it made me remember that I am a creative, to hear that people weren’t surprised by what I was doing was enlightening. I have to be honest with you though, I still find it hard to talk about what I am doing. I have a tendency to shrug people off and belittle it. I wonder, do you do the same?
Here’s a few things that I have learnt since starting this:
1. Community over competition: there is a # for this on Instagram and rightly so. I have worked in an incredibly competitive environment for the past 8 years and it had made me selfish. It now dumbfounds me as to why people wouldn’t want to help each other and has fundamentally changed my outlook on life. I am a nicer person, fact.
2. Small gestures go a long way: I have run a few give aways on Insta, with my first wreath being won (chosen randomly by Arlo) by Tracey Hunter at a time in her life when she needed a boost. She is now a firm Insta buddy and I felt so happy to have gifted her a small token at such a poignant moment
3. Whilst a picture speaks volumes, it can be so much more with words: I like to tell a story alongside my images when I can. I love nothing more than when I spark conversation through a photo and that is what makes me happy over a ton of likes.
4. Quality over quantity: yes I have a nice number of followers for which I am so grateful. However, when I look back at my old photos I see so many familiar faces who were taking the time out of their day to encourage me from the start. To name but a few Niki, Helga, Jenny and the girls who run CaughtFlowerHanded were there on my early posts and I’m honoured that they have stuck with me.
5. It is OK to not know where you are heading: I am a firm believer in going with your gut instinct and I would urge any one thinking of doing something new, to just start it, figure out where you’re heading later. "What’s the worst that can happen" as the wonderful Gemma (also found through Instagram) @wattleanddaubehome once said to me
So, now all that remains to say is a big thank you for all your support over the past year, it’s been amazing and I’m so excited for the years to come, my head is full to the brim with ideas (I just need to find some time).
Don’t forget to use my hashtag #botanicaltales for your chance to be featured here. There are already over 500 images in the gallery and I am now taking the chance to formalise the #, each month I will choose 5 of my favourite images and feature them here. There aren’t any hard and fast rules, just remember my point above, tell me a little about your flowers or what inspires you to enrich your images.