It’s always interesting to check the stats on the Paddock Plants website just to see what’s going on behind the scenes, and we tend to do so on a regular basis. Visitor, numbers, visitor origins, page views, search terms, that kind of thing. And particularly interesting to do a check at the year’s end just to see how the previous twelve months have been out on the wonderful world-wide web. So how was 2013?
Well, visitor-wise, the website attracted in excess of 25000 visitors, which is an attractively big number. Now, of course, a significant proportion of those visits will be web bots and other assorted oddities, but there must be quite a few real people and, hopefully, real gardeners included in that figure. Which is nice. And how did they find us? The real people, that is. Well, it has to be said that most of them were searching for us directly, ie using the search term Paddock Plants, or for a nursery or garden centre in the Southampton area. But a lot of people got to us by searching for a particular plant. So we thought it would be fun to see what the top ten plants were that instigated a visit to our website. Admittedly in some cases they must have been pretty determined, as we did not always feature on the first page of a Google search result. But get to us they did, and here is the top ten plants that achieved that.
1. Scabiosa Clive Greaves
2. Kniphofia Vanilla Orange Popsicle
3. Spiraea Joseph’s Coat
4. Drimys Lanceolata
5. Beschorneria Septentrionalis
6. Sidalcea Purpetta
7. Hypericum Golden Beacon
8. Centaurea Cara Mia
9. Alcalthaea Parkrondell
10. Heuchera Emperor’s Cloak
What an interesting list that is, containing a seemingly random mix of old and newer varieties, of common and less common plants. Clive Greaves is a plant that always does well for us and we sell a lot of it – not sure why, other than the possibility that fewer nurseries grow it these days but gardeners still want to plant it. The Kniphofia and the Centaurea are relatively recent introductions, of course – in the case of the latter, we insist on using two words for the varietal name, as making it a single word doesn’t make sense to us, except perhaps as a given name. Drimys Lanceolata saw a surge in its popularity this year, largely thanks to James Wong extolling its merits in his book James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution, which clearly inspired people. The Spiraea is a long-standing favourite: we use the rather charming Joseph’s Coat moniker rather than call it Shirobana or Shiburi, which may explain why we got those hits. Great shrub, whatever you call it.
Why Sidalcea Purpetta should be such a popular search eludes us, but it’s a puzzling fact and a pretty plant. The Beschorneria is a bit of an oddball plant, as is the Hypericum Golden Beacon – we were pleased to sell some of those to Hilliers, who are putting it forward in trials. The newish Alcea x Althaea crosses are lovely things and looked especially wonderful at the end of last season, when they just sold on sight when we took them to shows. And isn’t it nice to see a good old-fashioned seed strain of Heuchera make the top ten, swimming against the tide of all those fancy new varieties which have arrived on the scene in recent years?
So there it is – our top ten most searched plants of 2013. It will be interesting to see how different the list might look in twelve months’ time and whether Clive retains his position at the top of the charts.
Rob & Joanna – January 2014