A Grand Time in the Berkshires

Berkshires b6.jpg

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

Baggage Claim.jpg

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

FieldtoVase10

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

AndreaOverLA.jpg
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.

GardenInLA.jpg
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”

GWA at Cultivate ’16

Cultivate Group Shot McCormick.jpg
GWA members gather at Cultivate ’16 for a Connect Meeting

by Ann McCormick

Cultivate Flower Birthday Cake.jpg
A birthday cake made with ‘SunPatiens’ impatiens

Thanks to a generous offer by AmericanHort, over two dozen GWA members enjoyed free registration to Cultivate ’16 in Columbus, Ohio. I was delighted to be one of those able to attend this event, billed as “the largest all-industry trade show in North America.”

My first impression matched the descriptions I heard from others who had previously attended. Exhibitors covered every aspect of the horticultural world – from plant breeders, to greenhouse suppliers, to retail nurseries and everything imaginable in between. I was warned that they exhibit floor was large and I should be prepared for lots of walking. They were right. Wearing comfortable track shoes and sporting a just-purchased rolling briefcase stocked with a notepad and a thick stack of business cards, I hit the trade floor. Continue reading “GWA at Cultivate ’16”

Moving Yourself Forward: Garden Geeks, Communications Careers, and Masterminds

Mastermind MeetingTable.jpg

by C.L. Fornari

Recently I got an email from another GWA member who was lamenting that she wasn’t capitalizing on all available opportunities to share her work. I commiserated that we all feel like we could and should be doing more. I went on in my reply to say that one way we can do better at moving forward, is by being a part of a mastermind group.

Simply put, a mastermind group is a gathering of two or more people who share the same goals and agree to meet frequently to help each other out and spur each other on. You might band together with garden communicators who all need to update their websites or blogs. A group of photographers might form to explore new software or file sorting systems. A group of unpublished writers might unite with the goal of writing book proposals and sharing information about query letters or editorial contacts. Continue reading “Moving Yourself Forward: Garden Geeks, Communications Careers, and Masterminds”

Region VII Members Enjoy Oshawa Peony Festival

Ken Brown's front garden (2).JPG

by Lorraine Hunter

A plethora of peonies greeted Region VII members at the 12th Annual Oshawa Peony Festival on June 12. With more than 300 varieties in colors ranging from pure white to pink, yellow, coral, rose and deep red, the outdoor collection of herbaceous and Itoh hybrid peonies at the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden was truly impressive. The indoor judged display of hundreds of cut blooms was equally as charming. Continue reading “Region VII Members Enjoy Oshawa Peony Festival”