What are digital gardens?

Digital gardens are a philosophy of sharing content. It’s similar to blogging, but instead of sharing isolated posts each time, you post unfinished ideas that you come back to, build on, connect, and eventually grow into more polished states. It emphasizes doing over getting done.

Imperfection and learning in public are key tenets of the digital garden.As defined by Maggie Appleton in her ethos doc. visit  This buys us a couple of things: first, it’s not only possible but encouraged to post and develop in-progress pieces. For someone like me – who has eight open projects at any given moment and bounces between them on a whim – that means it’s easy to share all of them in a structured way without the pressure of completing them beforehand.

Second, you get to see all your notes and polished pieces in one place, which helps you notice patterns and generate even more ideas. Instagram, Medium, and Twitter are great for specific types of content, but you’re forced to scatter your ideas across platforms. Digital gardens are more representative of your corpus and who you are.

What lives in a digital garden?

The fun thing about digital gardens is that they’re always tailored to the individual who creates it. Most digital gardens are generally filled with ideas, opinions, and notes, all of which are fleshed out and made sense of over time – and that looks different for everyone. Building my garden has helped me reflect on how I think and using those metacognitive moments to set up an environment that suits my thinking best.

For my garden, I also wanted to include more creative and personal content but in a way that would still allow me to think through ideas over time. I started with one kind of organization (Plants vs. Roots), but ended up changing it one year later to better match how I found myself actually using my garden. To that end, my content is organized into the following:

Essays are opinionated long(er)form writing. Each one has a growth stage that describe the fleshed-out-ness of that idea:

  • Freshly planted ideas that need more exploring.
  • Has a good foundation. More growth is expected.
  • Fairly established. Minor edits might still happen.

Notes are a collection of sources and information on random topics.

Journal entries consist of thoughts and visuals that are a bit more personal and freeform, like a diary – it houses an intentional [[ context|context collapse ]] so that it doesn’t happen elsewhere in the garden.

Digital gardens as expression

As a concept, digital gardens are interesting to me because it feels like a new form of blogging that is in line with some of the values underlying how [[ genz|Gen Z ]] are reclaiming personal expression as a response to the conformation and corporatized aesthetic created through social media sites of the 2010’s.

Digital gardens are idiosyncratic by definition – you can’t fake authenticity through ideas and topics that you find interesting, nor can an algorithm decide not to show that content to their friends anymore. Corporations can’t track your every moveI guess that's not true depending on how much data someone's site collects, but knock on wood. , and they can’t monetize your interests or values. Your digital garden is your little corner of the internet.

Further reading

If you’re interested in learning more about digital gardens and seeing examples, check out the following links:

To learn more about how I built this garden, head to meta.