Posted by: lialeendertz | December 2, 2010

I won!

I got an award! Photo by Mike Wyatt/GMG

I have had one of those days where you find yourself staring at a spot on the floor, with a silly smile on your face. One of those days where you have a feeling of rosiness, and things being all fine with the world, when you have that constant sense – even if you temporarily forget what – that something really, really good has happened. Yesterday was the Garden Media Guild awards lunch. I have been attending this shindig for a very long time, about ten years I reckon, and always loved it for the glamour it sprinkles on the gardening world. But I have never won or even been shortlisted for a thing, and have always gone home lightly pissed but empty-handed. But this year I entered this blog, and it won.

I was thrilled enough at being on the shortlist, which included three of my absolute favourite blogs in the world, Mark Diacono’s Otter Farm blog, James Alexander-Sinclair’s Blogging from Blackpitts and Dawn Isaac’s Little Green Fingers. But the moment Alan Gray said ‘And the winner is… Lia Leendertz’ ranks up there with the real crackers, career-wise (these are the two others: being called to my neighbour’s phone in the depths of the Italian countryside to take a call from Ian Hodgson, editor of The Garden, telling me to set off for home because he was giving me my first garden journalist job; and getting the phonecall on Lyme Regis seafront from Susie Steiner at The Guardian giving me my regular slot at Weekend. The feeling is almost precisely the same; glee combined with wonder at having actually reached a longed-for milestone, against all expectations).

So I wobbled my way to the front, thinking ‘Am I making a fool of myself here? Did they really just call my name?’, and Alan Gray read out lovely things the judges had said about the blog, and they took a picture in which I tried not to grin like an idiot and they gave me a certificate and £250. And when I got back to the table I was shaking.

This blog is almost exactly a year old and I love writing it. I love the comments and the sense of community, and the fact that I can write what I want when i want and, wonderfully, people seem to be interested and want to join in. I love the fact that it is the most political of posts that have attracted the most comments, and how that gives lie to the cosy, inward-looking image that many people have of gardeners. And on a more personal level I rely on the support I get from fellow bloggers and twitterers. So I know I’m being gushy and uncool and over-emotional – I am a little tired and more than a little hung over – but I think this is a perfect opportunity to say thanks to all those who encouraged me to set this up in the first place, gave me advice or answered my annoying questions when I was struggling with the technical side of things, and to everyone who has left comments, or even just visited quietly. No blog works in a vacuum, so thank you.

I will be sitting, staring, smiling in slight disbelief for a little while yet.



  1. Congratulations. Make sure the grin doesn’t make your muscles ache!


  2. Congratulations I am really glad you won – enjoy the glow

  3. Congratulations – very well deserved.

  4. Congratulations on winning and on a lovely blog post about it. Well done.

  5. Fabulous, congratulations! Enjoy the glow!!

  6. Really chuffed for you Lia. You write so beautifully. Enjoy the afterglow…

  7. So brilliant you won it – it is a wonderful blog. And very lovely to see you so proper chuffed about it – I’m not even going to be rude, sneaky or sign off with a little cheeky barb. Honest. See. Really deserved. Just don’t win it next year. Knickers. Sorry. I tried. Hurrah for you. There, that’s better.

  8. Huge congratulations Lia – very well deserved.
    I love the way that you don’t just present personal experiences but are prepared to be opinionated (BTW that’s meant to be a compliment) especially when your opinions are not necessarily aligned with mine 🙂

    So next year will we see “Twilight Gardens” in the book awards or is that tempting fate ?

  9. Enjoy your winning feelings Lia, they’re much deserved! Big warm, fuzzy congrats xxx

  10. You were grinning from ear to ear and in such a lovely bubble of happiness on Wednesday, you positively glowed just like the kid in the Ready Brek advert.

    Warmest congratulations and here’s to a more shorter wait for your next accolade 😀

  11. Truly well-deserved. Of course, I had a premonition you would win whilst I was exiting the tube at Barbican (some have crystal balls, I prefer public transport) so was not at all surprised. Hurrah!

    PS I also have a 100% hit rate on Strictly Come Dancing results this year. Think I may be a witch.

  12. Well done Lia!

    All fully deserved – them judges did good.

    Here’s to the second year of Midnight Brambling.

  13. Nice one, Lia. Congratulations and have another great year!

  14. Congrats! You deserve it, and enjoy the praise…. this time judges paid attention eh?!

  15. Congratulations,looking forward to many more award winning posts. *raising virtual glass to you*

  16. Bloody brilliant!! Very happy to see you win but very annoyed that I was there to cheer. x

  17. Congratulations. Your blog is definitely one of the most interesting ones around. Keep up the good work.

  18. Many congratulations on your award, Lia – hang onto that feeling of goofy joy for as long as you can! And you are right, no blog works in a vacuum.

  19. Congratulations. Like Mark I will not even try to be rude, this is a fabulous blog and deserving of great honours. I am delighted for you.

    Although you will notice that previous winners were not quite as brazenly flashy with their badges.
    Just slipped out.

  20. Lia, well done on a great achievement! The blog is great and you’ve lots to be proud of – and just how glam do you look in your picture?! Congratulations! Helen x

  21. Esther – Thank you, have had to stop grinning a little now. Ouch

    Patientgardener – thanks so much, Helen, and for all your lovely support and comments.

    Victoria – thank you – It has only just dawned on me that I have talked about me, me, me and no-one else’s award! How slack. Congratulations to you on yours. Wonderful.

    Gilly – thank you x

    Janet – thank you

    Sue – thank you

    Mark – Thank you, and also for your great restraint in almost just being nice. I’m sure you’ll win an award too, one of these days…

    Simon – That’s a GREAT compliment, kind of the point of the blog really. Thank you.

    Deb – Thank you

    VP – And there was me imagining I looked cool, calm and collected…

    Dawn – You are indeed Mystic Meg. Congratulations on your own award. Was so chuffed for you x

    Ben D – thanks lovely

    Nigel – How fabulous to hear from you Nigel. Thanks for that, it means a lot.

    Lovely Lyssa – Thank you darling xx

    Ursula – cheers!

    cw – Thank you. You were missed.

    Helle – Thank you. What a great thing to say. Yes, pressure’s on.

    nmj – thank you

    James – Thank you. I intend to milk this for all it is worth and the badge will be prominently displayed until they come round and demand it back. I’m only annoyed that they didnt provide the banner for the front of the house. THAT’s having to come out of my own pocket.

    Helen – Lovely to hear from you! (that’s my v clever cousin everyone! look at her website!) I was chanelling nana…

  22. Well done! That’s fantastic news – I follow you on Twitter but haven’t seen your blog yet until now. So shall add it to my RSS feed and read it 🙂

  23. There is no-one who can say what I want to say better than this

  24. Good Lord I didn’t expect it to embed the whole damn video on your blog! EEK

  25. girlwithaspade – Thank you, and welcome. Hope you like.

    Arabella – Eeek indeed! How did you even DO that?! but….er…thanks x

  26. Congrats Lia! Well deserved. I started following your blog a few months back and enjoy reading your posts. You even partly inspired me to start my own!

  27. Well done Lia, I hoped you’d win x x

  28. girlabout garden – Thank you. Really flattered to have been part inspiration.

    Kate – Thank you lovely Kate x

  29. So Cool, I can see why. well it is my first time to see your blog! and the way you write- I love it! and that is real something as I do not usually enjoy reading english.

    (Sorry second language, culture, not sure why I do not enjoy it, but read all day) but here I could really enjoy every bit. I think it is the fact you are honest and can explain yourself. ( I wish I could write anything clear)

    Anyway remember it all the time – you got it!!!

  30. Well done Lia, you make a blog truly readable

  31. Congratulations Lia,
    I am a long-time admirer of your passion and knowledge of gardening.
    I have used much of what I have learnt from you to create my own 13th floor balcony garden ( in Sydney Australia.

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