What is a digital garden?

To quote Maggie Appleton’s “A Brief History & Ethos of the Digital Garden”,

They’re not following the conventions of the “personal blog,” as we’ve come to know it. Rather than presenting a set of polished articles, displayed in reverse chronological order, these sites act more like free form, work-in-progress wikis.

A garden is a collection of evolving ideas that aren’t strictly organised by their publication date. They’re inherently exploratory – notes are linked through contextual associations. They aren’t refined or complete - notes are published as half-finished thoughts that will grow and evolve over time. They’re less rigid, less performative, and less perfect than the personal websites we’re used to seeing.

A digital garden allows me to find connections between my thoughts and the things I’m interested in. I tend to my garden when I can. I can also see how my ideas grow over time. Because I make it public, you can witness all this. This is called [[learning in public]].

Stages of growth

It is important to note that, during the growth process, all notes remain atomic.

  • 🌱 seedling notes aren’t quite the very start of an idea, but the note has enough in it that I can link it to other things and have it make sense to people who aren’t me (otherwise I wouldn’t make it public)

  • 🌿 budding notes are cleaned up and have gone through a bit of distillation; maybe I’ve linked more things to them

  • 🌳 evergreen notes are at a stage when I can move them into my 🗃 Zettelkasten; they are mature enough to serve as building blocks for things I might write or otherwise express.

Digital garden terms of service

Because a digital garden exposes my ideas to the world, it puts me in a vulnerable position. Therefore, I ask that you follow the Digital Garden Terms of Service, and I promise to do the same.