DG: About the origins of Dave's Garden

Grove City, OH(Zone 6a)

Out of sheer nosiness, how did you first come up with this site? And I mean the first blinding flash :)

Did you plan for it to be just for you and your family? Or did you plan all the areas (PDB, Watchdog, Forums, etc)? Did you know it would be such a huge success?

Enquiring minds want to know :)

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

Dave started with a trade page on GardenWeb. It was a cool lookin page, formatted with links to pictures ... like the trade lists we have here now. So many people liked his list that he made it available to anyone that wanted to use his format. DG evolved from there. Pretty neat, huh?

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Check this out: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://davesgarden.com

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

thats how i got here-i was at garden web and daves member #13 told me to check out her list here-i did and i became memeber
#15 and ive been here ever since. Thanks dave for whatever put the spark in your.........mind!

This question does get brought up from time to time, and I don't think I've ever given the full story, so here it is for the archive. :)

In summer of 1999, I discovered the "seed trading community" via GardenWeb and I dove right in with my usual 110%. In no time I was astonished at my impressively diverse collection of seeds that I had accumulated over the months. In typical Dave-fashion, I wondered how to take this to the next level and use technology to solve the problems that I was starting to run against.

At the beginning of trade season, 2000, I had a big inventory of seeds (probably close to 200 varieties) and had no way to catalog them to let folks know what I had, and what I wanted. Of course, my experience in database-backed websites came to mind as the obvious solution to this quandry. So I got to work setting up an automated system for the cataloging of my seeds (want, have, will-have), and when it was done, I told everyone at GardenWeb that they can view my seedlist on my website, which was hosted at my domain.

Within a few days, someone told me my tradelist was "chic" and asked if she could set one up, too. So, I setup a username-based system and extended my application to support multiple users. August 17th, 2000 I finished that, and signed myself up as the first member of "Dave's Gardening site".

So folks started coming in and setting up their tradelists and all were having fun, and that would have been the end of the story except that on September 26th, 2000 I created the first edition of the forums, and setup the forum (now known as the Dave's Garden forum). It was our only forum for a few months. I didn't set it up to create a community, but rather it was created as an area where we can talk about the site and our tradelists. (My inbox was getting flooded, and, like today, I wasn't replying to my mail). This way the members can help each other out and suggest ideas for improvements.

But I wasn't expected that people would jump on the opportunity to have this area for discussing more than just the site, and within a couple months I had increased the forums to 4 (Mail Call, Gen Dis, DG, and, of course, a Seed Trading forum for those who didn't want to go to GardenWeb anymore.) We had around 200 members by December, 2000 and we were all having a good time.

Also I changed the name from "Dave's Gardening Site" to "Dave's Garden" and we held a contest for a logo and a slogan. If memory serves me, SMSpear1 and mom2cats made the logo, and jody came up with the ultra-descriptive "For Gardeners... By Gardeners" slogan.

Around that same time I started thinking about other cool things that I can do for these gardeners, and the Plants Database was a no-brainer. So, in the midst of a little controversy (why do we need a PDB when there are already so many out there?) we launched the PDB with little fanfair.

In January of 2001 things kind of exploded with a flurry of new members, mostly taken away from GardenWeb in a big van driven by justmeLisa in response to the creation of the Farm Life forum. We had an explosion of population, and as a result dozens of new forums were created to accomodate the members.

January was a turning point for DG, from a simple little thing to an actual thriving community. Also in January, a critical happening occurred: vols joined up and immediately started pestering me with ideas, suggestions, and offers of help for improvements all over the place. :)

With vols' assistance, we really cleaned up the site and made it more professional, and looking back, I see that almost every feature of DG was originally suggested by her (in full or in part). Almost every piece of data on this site has passed over her eyes, and just about every change I've made has been discussed with her, and, following her recommended changes, implemented in a successful manner.

Well, then we're here, I guess. Between then and now, of course, we've made a lot of huge changes (moving to subscriptions on October 2nd, 2001) and added a lot of great features (Garden Watchdog, Botanary, Garden Terms, Brugmansias.com, etc) and today I guess we're something of a gardening juggernaut, all thanks to the members who made this.

What was I thinking when I made it? I just wanted my seeds to be properly organized. :) Then I wanted to help others organize their seeds.

What am I thinking today? I don't know. With subscriptions, the potential for the site to financially support me is there, but I don't know if we'll ever realize that potential. DG is a fantastic springboard from which I practice my programming skills on a very large (and forgiving) user base, and is an enormous help to me in my consulting practice, which represents 98% of my time these days. Additionally, the subscriptions completely pay for the hosting of the site ($2,160 per year) plus hardware, plus business expenses, with money left over for the bank. So, DG is profitable and should continue to be for the foreseeable future.


New York City, NY(Zone 6b)

I just love it when someone deserves their success.


Durango, CO(Zone 6a)

Wow, what a saga! I love it. Thank you Dave, Trish, Go_Vols, and all the people here who make this such a great site.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I think Dave has a blindspot on his side where Trish sits ;)

I've heard a slightly different version of the events from her (not too different), and I know first-hand that she does a tremendous amount of work "behind the scenes" - being a "beta tester" (read: guinea pig and sounding board) for a lot of the ideas Dave tries out...organizing many of the endeavors that everyone thinks is a GREAT IDEA (but few show up to exert the elbow grease and mental pain necessary to see them through)... And in her spare time (grin) helps keep the helpdesk queue cleaned out - she's ruthless :)

Hope Dave doesn't mind, but I'm moving the spotlight over a smidgen, so that Trish can share in it, too - she deserves as much recognition and praise as anyone. (If you don't think so, find the photo of Dave decked out in his love-lies-bleeding "wig" and tell me she doesn't deserve a pat on the back!!!!)

I just can't believe I'm coming up on two years here. Gosh, that means the dust bunnies under my beds are now TODDLERS!!!!

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I can't believe it either - February 2001 and it will soon be two years for me. This is the first time I have heard the whole behind the scenes story - what a great success all of you have created. I had no idea on 2/21/02 I was joining such a new invention. The site looked so good then compared to the one I had been using I thought it was much older. If memory serves me, which it often doesn't, I believe I followed Zany over here.
At any rate, glad I came, saw and stayed with such an innovative "team" behind the scenes at DG's.

I didn't intentionally leave Trish out of the story; I was actually just telling the story of the first 6 months of DG. Trish didn't become active in the site until sometime after the site really took off.

Today, I guarantee that she spends more time working with DG than I do! As Vols said, she manages a whole slew of activities on this site and we'd be really suffering without her assistance.

If I started the site, she and Vols together keep it running!


Hanover, PA(Zone 6a)

wow and now it is home "away from/within a" home

'Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.'

I for one, have made many great friends here. I was going through some difficult times before I found Dave's Garden, and I must say, it truely has been a life saver for me.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone involved with this site, for it is the best around.

North Vancouver, BC(Zone 8b)

What a great story! I wasn't here from day 1 but I found daves pretty early. I was getting bored with the other site, there seemed to be no sense of humor there. I googled garden sites and found daves - still here and loving it. I can't even fathom the amount of work that went into it. My day starts and ends on daves - you're my home page.
Thank you all.

Crossville, TN

Dave, Trish, and Go-vols...I think you all three know how much this site has ment to me...and what it has done for me...Thanks you from the bottom of my heart!! Jo

Hanover, PA(Zone 6a)

yea anyway Liz garden web is to "stuffy" no fun, it has to be just this way and just that way there. and i also find it hard to find my way around the site . It is much friendlyer here

Grove City, OH(Zone 6a)

I started to reply to this a few days ago but had to get off-line quick.

So now: Thanks, Dave, Trish and Go_Vols, for all you do. Please don't give up on this site, whatever would we do without you?

I am in more of a dilemma than ever, though, about the real reason I posted this query. I will post a general thread about it, get some thoughts from my friends :)

Selma, IA(Zone 5a)

Just think what we would of missed if this site wasn't here. All the nice friends we would of missed knowing. All the great information. I could just go on and on. Linda

North Vancouver, BC(Zone 8b)

I'm glad you brought this one back up LindaKay. It's amazing how much a part of our daily lives Daves has become. Good friends, good times and good information.

Bensenville, IL(Zone 5a)

Dave, Your truly inspiring and so giving Thanks

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Dave, what a great story about the infancy of DG.

From the first, I have loved it for the gardening information. Bur more and more it is coming to be 'family' for me, for the friends I have made here, especially (but not limited to) with some I have met at Roundups.

We get to know who has the best ID brain, who has the best sense of humor, who cries 'poor me' the most, and who's there to send plants when ours get wiped out. What a Family!

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

"We get to know who has the best ID brain, who has the best sense of humor, who cries 'poor me' the most, and who's there to send plants when ours get wiped out. What a Family!"

Love THAT bit of wisdom, darius! This place is definitely "Family"! Thanks!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

'Shoe, glad someone else appreciates my sense of humor, LOL!

Buffalo, NY(Zone 6a)

I found this old thread and thoroughly enjoyed reading it tonight! I'd been wondering the exact same thing since I joined Dave's Garden. Now my curiosity has been satisfied. I'm glad you saved it!

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I'm with nap.....just found it.....What a story....a true labor of love, for the both of you. pardon, three of you. I bet you never thought what a "Family" you would bring together from ALL over the world.



Lexington, VA(Zone 6a)

nap, thanks for bumping this thread - I had never seen it before and really enjoyed reading a little piece of DG history. My first intro to DG was in the summer of 2004 when I was doing a Google search for plants and this site kept coming up in all my searches. After awhile I got curious about the site and was amazed with what DG offers. It didn't take me long to subscribe and enjoy the full benefits. It's the first place I go every morning with my coffee :) My only problem is trying to catch up when I've been away for more than a few days!

Englishtown, NJ(Zone 6b)

I love these kind of success stories - the true American Dream.

Kylertown, PA(Zone 5b)

When I joined, there wasn't even a DAYLILY forum yet! Imagine that! LOL!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

And when I joined there wasn't a Dahlia forum not to mention all that's been added in the last few months!

Pleasureville, KY(Zone 6a)

Well, compared to others, I am just a babe (membership wise), but have come to love and depend on Dave's as a daily "what's happening" thing. Can't imagine starting the morning any other way than with a cup of good coffee, and Dave's. Thanks for the idea and execution.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I'm with you DCat....


Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I'm with rcn - I was actually annoyed that the same site kept coming up when I googled completely different things, lol. One day I went ahead and clicked through, and felt like Alice in Wonderland, everything was so different and so friendly and so easy to use! I'd certainly seen web-sites with threads, but I could never figure out how to navigate them before.

And didn't we all forget to mention (((Terry)))? I'm sure that if it weren't for her, DG would be totally different, and so would Dave!

xxxx, Carrie

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I had the same reaction as you. Whenever I googled some plant I was interested in, I kept coming to DG with a picture and a description. At first I thought it was annoying because I wasn't a member and couldn't get to everything. Then I said oh, what the hey, and I became a member, months later, I was an addict and had to subscribe. I have been having much fun ever since. And so many on-line friends. The rules about no politics and religion were hard at first, but I now see the wisdom in them. Those are problems that tend to tear up all kinds of otherwise good groups of people. We all care about plants and the things that surround our gardens. Why not stick to those and leave politics and religion at the door.

Tolleson, AZ(Zone 9a)

Wow just found this thread. Thanks for filling in a good amount of the questions about how this all started!! I too just love being a part of this and being able to talk with other people and share experiences and learn new stuff.

Crossville, TN

Marie....just think...if it wasn't for DG I would never have met you. Jo

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Ummmm, for the newer members, I guess I should 'fess up: I had a name change several years ago. When I signed up here in 2001, I registered as "go_vols" (if you're a football fan or from any southeastern state, you know what that refers to.)

After the admin duties started, I decided I should probably use my "real" name, so Dave changed it for me. Hence the early posts' references to someone named "vols" making a pest of herself ;o)

Davenport, IA(Zone 5a)

I think it's time to bump this again.

I just ran across this old thread, and even tho I've been here (on DG) for close to 5 years, it's the first time I read about the real beginnings.

Thank God...we are still a family, just a much bigger one, now than then.

I love this place!


Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

I love this story!! Never did I know the beginnings of DG. This is really a 'God send' for Dave to set out to organize seeds and come up with the most popular gardening site on the internet.
I guess the moral is to follow your passion and something wonderful will come out of the effort.

I certainly would be lost without access to DG. Friends galore and learning something new every day are to be expected when Dave, Trish, Terry and all the rest of administration are working so hard.

Thanks again for bringing so much joy to so many people, Dave.
Growing plants is fun when I am isolated but 100 times over the fun when it can be shared with people who love to grow plants as I do.

Thanks for bumping this thread up, Sashagirl.

Dandridge, TN(Zone 6a)

This would make a good sticky!

Sebastian, FL(Zone 9b)

Please add my Thanks! to the long list of appreciative people! If not for the incredible amount of stuff I have learned here in just the few mos. since finding it, I would still be in the Dark Ages of nothing but Marigolds and Petunias!

While I'm here, I keep seeing mention of the word 'sticky' as lakesidecallas just posted.....would someone be so kind as to tell me what a sticky is?

Thanks, and this site really IS a family, as well as being lots of fun!

Happy gardening to all :-) Becky

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Sticky means the thread will always show up at the top of the forum. Normally, the threads that have been posted to most recently will be at the top and threads that nobody's posted on in a while gradually slip down the page, but sometimes there's a thread with particularly great information that may not get posted to all the time but has info that is valuable for that forum, so the admins can make those threads "sticky" so they will always be at the top and people can always find them easily.

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