NextGen Summit: New Routes to Horticulture

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By Cheval Force Opp

NextGen – what the heck is NextGen? This is the question that LastGen’s like me had attending the Region II NextGen Summit. Organizer Brienne Gluvna Arthur, green diva and author of The Foodscape Revolution helped us answer that question and more by luring some of the NextGen voices in this rising horticulture wave to spend a day with us exploring new ideas.

The summit began with a presentation by Longwood Graduate Program Coordinator Brian Trader. He introduced us to Longwood’s support of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) “Seed Your Future” initiative. This multi-year effort is planned to combat declining awareness of horticulture among U.S. audiences and promote horticulture as a vital and viable career path for the nation’s youth. Continue reading “NextGen Summit: New Routes to Horticulture”

A Grand Time in the Berkshires

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By Thomas Christopher

Blue skies and superb gardens greeted the 40 attendees of the “Grand Cottages in the Berkshires” Region 1 meeting on July 22. The tour began with an early morning photo shoot at Naumkeag, Mabel Choate’s iconic early 20th century garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. These gardens on the “quintessential country estate of the Gilded Age” are considered to be landscape architect Fletcher Steele’s most famous work.

Several of the attendees (including this writer) remembered the decayed state of this garden from earlier visits. It was a very pleasurable surprise to see its pristine renovated state, thanks to a recently completed $3.5 million program of restoration by The Trustees of Reservations. Continue reading “A Grand Time in the Berkshires”

Flying by the Seat of Your Plants

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By Pam Penick

If you’re heading to Atlanta this fall to attend the GWA Annual Convention and Expo, chances are good you’ll acquire some plant swag from our generous exhibitors. If you’re flying home afterwards, you may be wondering how to get your floral stowaways home. Learning how to pack plants in a suitcase, rather than stuffing them into a carry-on, is a skill that’ll keep leaves out of your face, soil off your lap, and relieve strain on your back. To be plant-ready, all you need to do is pack an empty duffle bag, a few garbage bags, re-sealable plastic bags, clippers to prune your plants, and lots of rubber bands.

I became a plant-packer at the Tucson GWA symposium in 2012. I’d already picked up a half-dozen freebies when a nursery rep urged me to take a gorgeous 5-gallon Abutilon palmeri. Its velvety, silver-green leaves and cupped orange blossoms proved irresistible. I hauled it back to my room, grinning like a pirate. Continue reading “Flying by the Seat of Your Plants”

Monetizing Slow Flowers

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By Debra Prinzing

I’ve been riding a holiday high since the Fourth of July, and it’s not because of the fantastic fireworks displays. It is because when I logged into Keyhole, the social media tracking program I use, and checked the numbers for #americanflowersweek, I discovered that the hashtag had generated more than 1.3 million impressions in a 30-day period – all but a few hundred thousand of which appeared during the seven-day span of my Slowflowers.com campaign “American Flowers Week.” I’m pretty right-brained, but sometimes it’s nice that the metrics verify one’s “feelings” of success.

What began as the title of a book, Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm, has become a moneymaking “platform” and my “brand.” No one is more surprised by this turn of events than me. American Flowers Week, a social media and advocacy campaign coinciding with Independence Day, is one of three channels that I’ve begun to monetize. The other two include the Slow Flowers Podcast (launched in July 2013 at debraprinzing.com) and Slowflowers.com, the free nationwide directory of American (and now Canadian) flowers and the florists, farms, and studios who supply those blooms. Continue reading “Monetizing Slow Flowers”

Coming to America: An Aussie at the GWA Pasadena Symposium

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Andrea overlooking LA

by Andrea Whitely

It was a conversation I would have several times. “So how is it that you are here in Pasadena?” one lady asked me. “I’m here for this.” I replied. “Really?” she exclaimed, “All the way from Australia?!” And so it went. To be a First Timer at a GWA Symposium is one thing but to be a First Timer from Western Australia is quite another.

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GWA members strolling through a private garden in the Pasadena area

How hard could it be, right? I’ve had a successful radio program, I‘ve done loads of public speaking gigs, launched books, travelled the world, run multimillion dollar businesses. Get in there girl, I thought to myself. So after settling in at The Hilton I headed over to the Pasadena Conference Center where I received a bag of welcome goodies and a pocket badge with a large blue cloth sticker saying “First Timer.” There was no hiding the fact that I was the new kid on the block here. Continue reading “Coming to America: An Aussie at the GWA Pasadena Symposium”