Six Things Every Speaker Should Know

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By Ann McCormick

Some people view public speaking as a cushy job – lots of perks for not much work. All you have to do is smile, talk for an hour, and bask in the applause. But a good speaker does more than show up and talk. If you are just starting out or are considering becoming a speaker, here are six things you should know.

Maintain an Upbeat Attitude, No Matter What –Like it or not, you are a public figure the moment you step out of your car at the speaking location. All eyes will be on you. It doesn’t matter if the traffic was dreadful or the cat did something unmentionable on the carpet just before you left. The attendees expect you to be happy to be there because they want to enjoy themselves.

Expect Problems With the Location – The old phrase “there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip” certainly applies to speaking. It never fails – I get to the location where I’ll be speaking and discover something isn’t there, is there and shouldn’t be, or doesn’t work. Once I found myself speaking at a Home & Garden show where attendees had to locate an elevator hidden behind a display, go up two floors and down a hall usually used for exhibit staff to find the room where I was speaking. And don’t get me started about securing a decent place to sell books before and after the talk.

When you talk to the program director or event organizer, do not assume that they know what you will need. Ask about the layout of the room. If you’re one of several speakers, ask how much time is allotted between talks. Be prepared for the person ahead of you to go beyond his allowed time. If you are selling books, emphasize to the program organizer the need for a good location to setup before you start talking. If possible, sweet talk them into securing a sales assistant who can be paid with an autographed copy of your book.

It’s a Business, Not a Privilege – When I began speaking over a decade ago I felt awkward about asking for a fee and tended to undervalue my worth. I soon found that some of the organizers felt the same way about my value. They thought I should be happy with a $50 honorarium and a free lunch. Well, think again.

Like most garden speakers, I spend hours gathering materials and planning the talk. I also set aside the time out of my life to travel to a meeting. The years I spent learning about herbs (my specialty) is almost as long as it took to get my college degree. And just like that college degree, I want it to pay off.  You should too.

When talking to program directors, be friendly but confident. Never apologize about the fee. You will be earning it, believe me. When you arrive for the event, be confident you can do the job. Don’t behave shy or self effacing. If that sounds too aggressive or not your style, get over it. This is not a social even. It’s a business engagement.

Always Have a Contract on Paper – This is one of the first bits of sage advice I received when starting out as a speaker. Having all the pertinent information down in one place reduces the risk of mis-communication. Do this every time, even if the organizer is a personal friend.

So what should go on your contract? First of all, contact information for the organizer and yourself – email, home and cell phones, websites, mailing addresses. Next comes the critical information such as date and time of talk, location (with a street address), name of contact at the event (which is not always the same person you are talking to), and the topic of your talk. Last but not least, spell out your compensation. If publicity is part of the deal mention that too. Include travel costs but guess high. People are always happier if the final bill is lower rather than higher than they expected.

The Bigger the Fee, the Greater the Respect – One of the toughest lessons I have learned is that your fee is a reflection of how valuable you are perceived to be. If they think they are getting a bargain (translation: something cheap), they are not likely to treat you like anything more than an incidental. It comes down to the connection between cost and perceived value.

Recently while reevaluating my fee structure, I spoke to other well-known garden speakers in my region about their experiences with fees and results. The bottom line for both of them was that the more you charge, the greater respect you get.

Speaking is Hard Work – Before I started speaking, I wondered why Christian ministers usually take Mondays off. Now I know. Sunday sermons plus being “up” all day dealing with the congregation is exhausting. The same is true with speaking to a public audience.

You don’t realize it at the time but your adrenaline is flowing when you’re on stage. Even experienced speakers will find themselves drained after a performance. And that’s what it is – a performance. A good speaker engages in high-energy real-time multi-tasking. You are focused simultaneously on your topic, the reaction of the audience, and how much time you have left – to say nothing of suppressing the nagging fear that you’ll drop your notes or develop an uncontrollable cough.

All this may sound like a cautionary tale designed to discourage potential speakers. But I must admit I love public speaking. I get a kick out of engaging an audience as I teach them about herbs. There’s a real satisfaction in hearing afterwards how attendees learned something new and can’t wait to try it out. Yes, speaking is hard work (if you do it right) but the rewards are worth it.

 

Meet the Author

Ann McCormickAnn McCormick, the Herb ‘n Cowgirl has devoted her time for the last 20 years to writing and speaking about herbs. Ann is a columnist for Herb Quarterly where she pens the ‘Herbalist Notebook’ and a feature writer for The Dallas Morning News. The Herb ‘n Cowgirl also shares her love of herbs and her gardening techniques as a speaker and media guest. To find out more about the Herb ‘n Cowgirl visit her at www.herbncowgirl.com.

Getting Set to Grow: New Ideas and Tools From Canada Blooms

Bannister City of Toronto at Canada Blooms

By Andrea Bannister

With snow swirling in the bitter wind, it was a perfect day for Canadian garden writers to connect, learn, and dream of summer days at the annual GWA Region VII gathering held at Canada Blooms.  As a first-timer, I was warmed by the friendly welcome of GWA members, lush gardens and generous plant, tool, and other giveaways from sponsors (rookie mistake – I took the bus to the meeting!)

Canada Blooms Red and White

The show hall was quiet when Helen Battersby from Toronto Gardens gave us an early morning tour of Canada’s largest flower and garden show.  Many Canada Blooms show gardens were bigger than my urban yard with drool-worthy patios, paths, and pools, softened with an abundance of bright plants and surprisingly large, healthy trees.

As 2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday, it was no surprise many gardens were decked out in patriotic red and white combined with whimsical touches like Tim Horton cups as planters and hockey sticks as décor. Other exhibits celebrated the Canadian outdoors with Ontario stone water features, native trees and plants, and of course the iconic maple leaf.

One of my personal highlights was The Secret Path exhibit, inspired by a shameful Bannister Secret path Canada Blooms.jpg
chapter in Canada’s history. For generations, thousands of indigenous kids were forcibly sent away to schools that shunned their culture and beliefs. The garden’s winding,  woodland path represented the heartbreaking journey of a boy named Chanie, who ran away from one of these schools and died from hypothermia on his desperate 650 km journey home.

Canadian Insights and Innovations

The Canadian theme continued with the morning presentations and updates. Mark Cullen, one of the country’s best known gardeners and a recent recipient of the Order of Canada, shared his insights from his book, The New Canadian Garden. He’s seen a huge, welcome shift during his career as a gardener and media personality away from “perfect lawn and impatiens” to a naturalistic, sustainable style. His best-selling book dives into Canadians’ growing interest in pollinators, community gardens, edible gardening, and gardening with children.

His son, Ben Cullen, showed off his millennial chops
with wisdom on top social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. He urged us to use Bannister Hockey sticks eh Canada Bloomsour words, photos, videos – whatever our medium  – to position gardening as an amazing, engaging experience, similar to how travel and food is often packaged.

Next, Dr. Amy Bowen unveiled the first rose, ‘Canadian Shield’ from Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Recognized as Canada Blooms’ Plant of the Year, this hardy red shrub rose kicks off Vineland’s new 49th Parallel rose collection. As part of the selection process, Vineland extensively researched Canadian consumers’ rose and plant buying preferences. There were lots of “oohs” and “aahs” over the beautiful ‘Canadian Shield’ rose and an upcoming blush stunner called ‘Chinook Sunrise.’

New Tools For Better Growing

After lunch sponsored by Fiskars and a few laughs offered by Region VII National Director and host, Ken Brown from Gardening-Enjoyed, the learning continued with presentations from other passionate gardeners:

  • With worldwide horticultural and agricultural projects under his garden tool belt, Robert Patterson’s latest focus is “permaculture in a box” through The Growing Connection. Their lightweight planters with a built-in water reservoir are 50% recycled plastic and frost proof. Already used by organizations and home gardeners globally, his goal is to make healthy, tasty homegrown vegetables accessible for everyone.
  • Bob Reeves shared Root Rescue, which helps transplanted trees and plants by adding beneficial Mycorrhizae fungi to the soil. His talk focused on the cozy relationship between tree roots and these soil fungi, which aid plants in absorbing water and nutrients.
  • Finally, Fiskars (in business since 1649!) spotlighted some of their new gardening tools including watering products from recent acquisition, Gilmour.

As we left Canada Blooms, the March snow fell harder in the icy air. But we writers, photographers and, above all, gardeners, were warmed by the promise and excitement of another growing season just ahead.

Meet the Author

Andrea BannisterA lifelong gardener, Andrea Bannister is a freelance communicator who lives in Toronto with her husband and three nature-loving children. She is finishing a Horticulturist certificate this spring and is excited to bring her love of gardening and writing together. You can reach her at andreakbannister@gmail.com.

 

Holland at the Philadelphia Flower Show

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Attendees loved the orchid promenade, with orchids overhead and on either side.

By Denise Schreiber

I always block off some time in March for the Philadelphia Flower Show. I have been going to the show for twenty-eight straight years even though I live on the other side of

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This custom iron gate was part of the display by Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens.

the state. For me it is a signal that spring is around the corner and I will soon smell the intoxicating fragrance of flowers again. A couple of friends and I always make the journey, excited to see what the new theme displays will look like, discover ideas that we can steal for home (because that is the point of these displays) and of course shop at the marketplace.

The Philadelphia Flower Show has several components: major landscapes, educational displays, juried exhibits, floral displays, the Gardener’s Studio, the design gardens, exhibits from plant societies, and the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society Gold Medal Plants. This year’s theme was “Holland, Flowering the World.” Bulbs, bulbs and more bulbs were to be found in the major landscape displays as well as used in other venues.

When we think of Holland, we think of tulips, wooden shoes, and windmills but Holland is the world’s largest supplier of not only tulips but cut flowers too! So there were

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Bicycles painted white combined with flowers in this stunning display.

displays by Studio Toop of a magnificent, natural landscape filled with early blooming bulbs and spring ephemerals and Michael Petrie’s Handmade Gardens that featured a custom iron gate to die for. There is a collection of bonsai pieces, carefully tended for several years as well as juried exhibits of begonias, cactus, rock gardens, orchids and more. There was even a nod to Holland’s notorious red light district in one of the exhibits.

One of my favorite displays each year is the pressed flower pictures. The only thing that is allowed is the flowers themselves with a

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Closeup of a scene in Holland composed completely of plant material.

background and frame. No coloring of any kind. When you look at the pictures you have to remember that every detail in the picture is made from pressed flowers and grasses cut into intricate detail.

The Eco-Dome from Holland made its North American debut at the show. It is a showcase of the innovative green technologies from the Netherlands. Think of it as a very large geodesic dome that is open. It features new ideas such as converting rainwater into drinking water, recycled concrete, solar power, special lighting – a glimpse into the future of sustainability. The Eco-Dome has been host to a meeting for the ministers of the European Union and now we have the opportunity to experience that as well.

A common sight at the show is large bouquets of forced pussy willows that you see in people’s arms as they wander through the show’s marketplace. While it seems perfectly

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This bonsai was in display in the horticultural exhibit.

 

natural to us northerners, it does raise a question of why from those who are not from the cold north. For us, the appearance of pussy willows with their soft, gray catkins reminiscent of a kitten is a sign that spring is around the corner. They delight us with these long stalks of spring that we take home and place in a vase to enjoy for several months because sometimes spring takes its good old time getting here!

Next year’s Philadelphia Flower Show theme is “Wonders of Water” from March 3 – 11th, 2018. Plan on being there…I will.

Meet the Author

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Denise Schreiber is a professional greenhouse grower and horticulturist, an ISA Certified Arborist, speaker, teacher, freelance writer, and wild-eyed plant lover. She is Mrs. Know It All™ for “The Organic Gardeners” radio show on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and as “Ask the Expert” for Pennsylvania Gardener. Her most recent book is “Eat Your Roses:…Pansies, Lavender and 49 other Delicious Flowers. She is currently serving as the GWA National Director for Region II.

Defuse Those Photobombs: 10 Tips for Photographing Gardens Full of People

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By Helen Battersby

You can’t always get what you want – especially if you’re a photographer in a garden packed with people. If it’s a GWA garden tour, it’s likely those people are other garden writers who want the same shots as you. But don’t fret. Defuse those photo bombs, and you might just get what you need.

 

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Timing makes all the difference when you’re touring with a group 

Be First off the Bus – To be first in a garden, be first on the bus before it leaves the hotel. Arrive early and claim a front seat when it loads. Queuing to exit is good etiquette, so ensure you’re near the front of the line.

 

…Or Be Last On – When it’s time to reload, I confess I’m a straggler, taking advantage of the thinning crowds. Being a fast walker helps so I don’t get left behind. But mind your manners and don’t keep people waiting, or worse. One of my photo files is called, “Missed-the-bus garden.” Not a good idea, as I learned the hard way.

When They Zig, You Zag – Don’t go with the flow. If the crowd heads east, go west. If

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Detail can set the tone

 

they’re all looking ahead, turn and look behind. Return to the main attraction after everyone has moved on.

Look Up – Sometimes you just gotta go over people’s heads. Try an establishing shot of rooftops and trees, or the leafy top of an arbor. A bee’s-eye view of flowers framed against the sky can also bee a great focus in a people-filled space.

Look Down – When people are all around, what’s interesting underfoot? Almost every photo shoot of mine has an artsy close-up of paving or groundcover that I can use in a story later. Don’t always go for the eye’s-eye view.

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Look for humor in the garden setting

Focus on Details – In crowded spaces, zoom in. Go for flowers, foliage, pollinators in action, or architectural details. Open your aperture to blur backgrounds with depth of field. Close-ups add context to illustrate stories.

Focus on the People – If you can’t beat ’em, take their portraits. When you’re stacked up near a money shot like aircraft awaiting takeoff, or hiding behind hedges to stay out of someone’s way, use that time to take pictures of each other. We’re all darned good looking, right?

Use People for Scale – Capture people experiencing the garden for perspective, depth or

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You may be surrounded by others but you can still get a shot if you look up 

scale. A finger on the shutter with camera set in burst mode (for continuous shooting) gives you a number of shots – in case someone blinks.

Use People to Tell Stories – You don’t always want pretty pictures of empty gardens. If there’s a story going on, why not document it? Or put someone wearing a contrasting color right in the sweet spot.

Be Patient – Line up your shot and take it. It may be all you’ll get. Then wait patiently in position for a second chance, when feet or hands or head disappear from the frame. Or keep your eyes on the prize as you move around shooting other things. Then rush in to grab your moment.

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Sometimes a person in the shot makes all the difference

Finally, always remember if you choose a larger image size, you have pixel-space to crop out that itinerant elbow or zoom in a little closer “in post.” You can get what you need – if you try sometime.

 

Meet the Author

Helen Battersby (2).jpgToronto garden writer and photographer Helen Battersby blogs with her sister Sarah at Toronto Gardens.

 

A Garden Writer’s Identity Crisis—I was embarrassed to say what I did

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By Mary-Kate Mackey

“So, what kind of writing do you do?”

A few years ago, I was attending my first American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) conference in New York. My fellow journalist had just asked the question I dreaded. She and I were sorting through a box of colorful ribbons that could be added to our name tags, describing various types of writing. Mine was not among them. I looked down at the patterned hotel carpet and mumbled, “I’m a garden writer.”

And the inevitable question came back, “What’s that?”

Even as I explained that I write for national magazines, her attention faded, and she looked over my shoulder.

Sigh.

Journalists derive a certain stature from the importance of their subject matter. War correspondents, health reporters, financial wizards, political pundits. Even at the university school of journalism where I taught writing, the subject of gardens was regarded as a bit fluffy, a bit optional—not the real stuff. A leftover prejudice linked it to the content of “women’s magazines.” And it didn’t help my ego that my words were secondary to the photographs in most publications. As my writing career was building, I bought into this attitude.

Until I didn’t.

The penny dropped when I discovered that even top writers cannot always write cogently about horticulture. A major magazine sent an important East Coast writer to cover a Northwest garden I knew well. Now I’m aware, many writers feel they can hold forth on any subject—and why not? They know they’re good researchers and excellent reporters. When the article appeared, I studied it because I wanted to learn from the best.

Total disappointment. This writer didn’t understand the genius he was seeing in the garden. He didn’t know what questions to ask. The photographs were great but the story missed by a mile.

That’s when it occurred to me. It’s not just banging the words together. Garden writing is a finely honed niche. Good garden writing digs deeper. The knowledge I had accumulated was out of sight, like the condition of the soil under my feet. I wasn’t giving myself credit for what I’d learned.

All those hours I’ve spent keeping up with ever-changing plant names—including how to punctuate the single-quotes—makes a difference. And how about the Latin and Greek Writing With Coffee.jpgdescriptors that go with them? Over the years, I’ve gained an understanding of climatology, different growing zones, basic botany, soil variations, geology and geography. I’ve studied the history of gardening—lucky enough to sit in on a three-semester university class that began with the four rivers pouring out of the Garden of Eden.

And, like all garden writers, if I don’t know something, I’m surrounded by a support system of knowledgeable people who do. I’ve been attending GWA conferences since 2002. I’ve met an extended network of fellow writers, photographers, editors, plant growers, and garden product developers—all of whom are happy to fill up the holes in my hort education. These are the folks I call on when I want to know which vegetables grow best in short-season climates, or what’s happening with soil biota, or how many hardy ferns to include in the Sunset Western Garden Book.

As a member of GWA, I’ve received a variety of unfamiliar plants to grow and learn from. Through the ever-changing GWA conference locations, I’ve also experienced gardens all over the U.S. and Canada—some places I didn’t want to visit, but I’m so glad I did. I’m now more aware of what grows in different climates. A noxious weed like ivy in the Pacific Northwest is beloved in upstate New York. Details like that give me the chops to write for a national audience.

Garden writers’ subjects are also tied to teaching about vital issues in the greater world—climate change, food security, scientific inquiry, ecological preservation, and our need to connect with nature. We might be covering what happens in one back yard, but what we say has an influence on the choices our readers make—whether it’s pesticide runoff or organic practices. And those choices affect us all.

So, thanks to GWA, I now have a green ribbon that proudly says in gold letters, “garden writer.” And I’m going to make sure that the ribbon box at the ASJA conference this year has a place for us. We count. Our profession is important.

But you probably knew that. It just took me a few years to catch up.

Meet the Author
Mary-Kate Mackey

Garden writer Mary-Kate Mackey will be offering a pre-symposium workshop at GWA2017 in Buffalo, “Write Better Right Now—Practical Tips and Techniques to Power up your Next Project.” The six-hour hands-on session is based on her newest book, Write Better Right NowThe Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Confident Communication and Self-Assured Style (Career Press). Learn more about her services at marykatemackey.com.

GWA at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

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By Pat Munts

The winter this year in Eastern Washington has been long and hard. The snow started early in December. As we approached the end of February, it was still here and still coming down. Beyond the semicircle of bare pavement in front of my garage is a foot of snow and slippery ice, burying everything. I am trapped in my little circle of bare concrete, desperately needing to get out in the garden and see green plants and warm dirt!

Desperation leads to desperate acts. And so it is this and every year since 2003. It’s time to pack up and head to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. It is a 300-mile journey from my home in Spokane along I-90, across the wide open Columbia Basin, and then over Snoqualmie Pass. At an elevation of 3,500 feet the Pass, as locals call it, is not forgiving this time of year. But such is the pull of green plants, the smell of flowers, and the sound of birds.

The past few years my friend Linda has joined me on this trek to the unfrozen side of the state. There are so many cool things happening at the show that it needs to be shared with a like-minded friend. We plan our escape so we arrive at the Snoqualmie Pass in the early Munts NW Flower Show04afternoon when the snow and ice on the road are likely to have melted. Then it’s into Seattle before the rush hour starts. We stocked up on water and snacks and made sure there is $50 in the tire chain box in case we had to pay the chain guy at the pass to put them on. We arrived in Seattle in time to enjoy the view of Elliot Bay and the sunset over the Olympic Mountains from my friend’s family’s house. Our long day ended with a fresh seafood dinner, wine and good conversation on the waterfront.

The next morning Linda and I were up early heading to the Washington State Convention Center. If you want a space in the parking garages, you have to be there before 10:00 AM. We found our way to the show entrance and there it was – the sweet smell of flowers and the sound of birds chirping as we walked into the exhibit hall. This is what we came for
even if the flowers are forced and the bird song is from a recording. There is hope that spring will return!

This year’s show featured twenty three display gardens designed and built by some the region’s best designers and landscape professionals. This year’s theme was “Taste of Spring.” The Garden Creators did an amazing job of blending together flowers, shrubs, trees, hardscape materials and artwork into little niches of spring glory. The Founder’s Cup for the best-in-show garden went to Jefferson Sustainable Landscape Management and Avid Landscape Design and Development for their Mochiwa Mochiya Garden. It was a marriage of “Asian and American cultures, with the ethos of the American barbecue
infused with a new level of opulence.” Beyond the beautiful display gardens, the show always features a full slate of educational and DIY seminars on a broad range of topics. This year the list included seminars that wove together lively visuals, illustrating cutting-edge advice and Munts NW Flower Show03experiences from garden designers, horticulturists, and authors from around the country. On the DIY Stage, experts presented practical demonstrations of container gardening, pruning, and home décor.

This year’s show saw the return of “Garden Wars: Season Three” hosted by Joe Lamp’l, producer and host of PBS’s Growing a Greener World. The competition pitted garden celebrities in a friendly but seriously dirty competition to create 10 by 10-foot gardens in a short span of time. This year the organizers expanded this with the new “Container Wars,” pitting garden celebrities against each other to see who could create the three best container gardens in an hour. Needless to say, the dirt and plants were flying in the Garden Wars Arena. The winners of each day’s competition were awarded $1,000 to donate to their favorite charity.

Last but not least was the shopping! After taking in the seminars and the gardens it was time to wander through the hundreds of booths looking for that perfect garden ornament, tool, plant, piece of jewelry or gourmet food you couldn’t live without. Our shopping list this year included ‘Grosso’ lavender, heathers, and mason bee nesting supplies. Never mind that after we got home the plants would have to live on the deck until the ground thaws. We seriously considered buying some funky clothing and art works but managed to keep the credit cards in our wallets. However I couldn’t pass up a painting of a breaching killer whale for my daughter who is stuck living in Texas far from her Northwest roots.

I capped the day off with our annual GWA Connect gathering. About 75 of us gathered in the media room for drinks and a lot of visiting. We had folks from as far away as Vermont and California which made the conversation that much more lively. Many thanks to Jeff Munts NW Flower Show02
Swenson and Barry Bartlett of the show management team for arranging for the bar and comfortable meeting space.

During our get-together the dean of our Northwest garden writers, Ed Hume asked for a round of introductions to put names and faces together and find out what people were
doing. We also celebrated two lives lost in the past few months from our Northwest gardening family: Dr. Sarah Reichard of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and Cass Turnbull of Plant Amnesty. They will be missed.

Then it was time me to rejoin Linda and return to the snowy side of the state. We left behind the blooming camellias and green lawns and headed back over Snoqualmie Pass to my little patch of shoveled concrete.

As I write this nearly two weeks after the adventure, the snow is coming down once again only this time it’s not sticking to the ground! There is hope.

Meet the Author

Pat Munts
From her base in Spokane, Washington, Pat Munts writes about gardening and natural history east of the Cascade Mountains. Pat shares her gardening adventures in a weekly
column for the Spokesman-Review. She also writes for The Inlander and has served as Eastern Washington editor for Master Gardener Magazine. On the national level Pat has written for GreenPrints and The American Gardener. In 2015, she wrote the Northwest Gardeners Handbook (Cool Springs). In between writing Pat also serves as the small farm and urban agriculture coordinator for WSU Spokane County Extension. She served as GWA Region VI Regional Director from 2007 to 2016.

GWA at NYBG’s Orchid Show

By Kirk Brown

Reasons to join GWA are spread like a blanket of snow across the United States in January and February! Connect meetings are happening all over the country at a variety of venues and international events.

On Thursday February 16, 2017 the sun wasn’t out but the temperature was pushing into the middle 50’s as Sara and I drove across the George Washington Bridge to

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Moss-covered pachyderms were posed in tropical vignettes blazing with colorful orchids.

attend the press preview of “The Orchid Show: Thailand” at the New York Botanical Garden. This year’s theme was dedicated to the kaleidoscopic array of species native to and cultivated in Thailand.
Members of GWA were invited to attend under the banner of a Region I Connect Meeting. Welcoming us to the show was Karen Daubmann, Associate Vice President of Exhibitions and Public Engagement. She introduced the show’s designer, Christian Primeau, who oversees the tropical and subtropical plant collections in the conservatory’s eleven cultural environments. Next we heard from GWA member Marc Hachadourian, manager and curator for the orchid collection and the living plants from around the world housed in the Nolen Greenhouses. Marc explained that Thailand was selected as this year’s theme because of the combination of “iconic cultural images” from the area and the spectacular dendrobium and vanda orchid hybrids developed there in recent years.

Then we roamed through the four display areas. It was jungle-hot and humid in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Spirit houses were propped with food and small gifts. Elephants, dripping with moss and colorful arrangements of orchids, were trumpeting in crafted

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The steeply-pitched gable end of a classic Thai garden pavilion was the centerpiece in the grandest of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory’s many glass enclosed rooms.

landscapes. Authentic Thai lanterns hung from overhead branches, adding soft illumination to the floor displays. A steeply pitched Thai pavilion covered with hundreds of orchids created a centerpiece in the large conservatory.

Alexa Haller, GWA Membership Director, wason hand to provide staffing and member-benefit resources. New GWA member Matt McMillan made his first meeting appearance under the mentoring of Jan Johnson. Also seen in the crowd of more than thirty representatives from the credentialed press were author Judy Glattstein and photographer Carlo Balistrieri.

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Riotous color and tropical textures wowed the crowds touring the press preview at NYBG’s 15th annual orchid extravaganza.

GWA Connect meetings are designed to increase networking between members and sponsors as well as to provide awareness of the association and its goals. At a lunch included with the day’s program, all attendees gathered in the Pine Tree Cafe to update each other on industry events and personal news.

This fifteenth edition of “The Orchid Show: Thailand” at the New York Botanical Garden runs from February 18 to April 9, 2017. For more information and press access please contact Nick Leshi, Director of Public Relations (718.817.8658, nleshi@nybg.org) or Garrett Barziloski Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator (718.817.8634, gbarziloski@nybg.org).

Meet the Author

Kirk Brown

Kirk R. Brown, GWA President is a lecturer, author, designer, and garden tourist along with his wife Sara.