GWA14 Garden Writers Blog

Outreach Blog of the Garden Writers 2014 Pittsburgh Symposium

“I learned to garden from my father who maintained an eight-acre gentleman’s farm. When I moved to Alaska, I wrote gardening letters to my dad and those became my first gardening column for the local newspaper.

“I always write a column even when I have time off because if I don’t, the newspaper runs my photo with a note that says I’m on vacation for two weeks. That identifies an easy target for burglars.”

Jeff writes the longest running garden column in the US for the Anchorage Daily News. He also hosts The Garden Party radio show and has published books about plant nutrition and soil.

“I’m here with my wife; she’s the garden writer. We go to bed and breakfast conferences all the time and they’re. boring. These Garden Writers conferences are much more fun and we learn a lot.”

Robert and Judy Hotchkiss operate Prospect Hill Bed & Breakfast Inn in Mountain City, Tennessee.

Why marketing and why specifically in the hort industry?

“I had worked in trucking and took a two week career-development course to learn what I wanted to do when I grow up. The trucking experience is useful. Turns out moving plants isn’t about the plants, it’s about the trucks. How many plants will fit in a particular truck? Do you need a thermal blanket for a shipment back east?

“The people I get to work with in horticulture really make a difference; I found my tribe.”

Dawn is a garden writer and speaker who provides marketing support at UpShoot, a horticulture marketing firm. She handles traditional marketing, event coordination, new media, and more.

Arriving before dawn at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens provided an opportunity for photographers to capture images of exotic plants in extraordinary lighting. The conservatory itself covers 2.5 acres, and there are further outdoor gardens. Inside, there are rooms dedicated to specific types of plants-ferns and cycads in one room, for example, and orchids in another. There are also rooms for themed exhibits that change from month-to-month. Phipps Conservatory hosts a weekly farm market and they offer educational programs for adults and children. The facility boasts a green roof, a food garden, and a children’s garden – all with emphasis on sustainability.

Honey? Did you leave the gate open? There are more of those pesky garden writers out near the hammock!

“I was about five years old on my grandmother’s property when I saw something fly into a hollyhock flower. I ran over, stuck in my finger, and the flower bit me! Then I saw something fly out of the flower. That got me interested in insects. Later, I learned what bit me had been a bumblebee.”

Bill maintains a stock library of nature photos with an emphasis on images of plants and insects. He is a columnist with Horticulture Magazine and he contributes to several others. He recently published the children’s book “Minnesota Bug Hunt” with the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

“It’s satisfying to draw ideas from a customer and translate them into a design that represents what the customer wanted-even if they couldn’t express it themselves.

“Being involved with garden communicators through GWA helps sharpen my skills as a landscape designer.”

Jan Lowery is a landscape designer whose company, Second Nature, is in Springfield, Virginia.

“Despite all else in our lives, the beauty of nature prevails and we need to continue to take refuge there. I strive to bring honor and attention to the efforts of gardeners and the beauty of nature. It’s restorative”

Ellen has been using a flatbed scanner to create photos since 1997. She collaborated with Ken Druse on the book Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)

Why did you become a publisher in the garden industry?

“That was accidental. I used to write about women and politics. When I moved to Florida and went to write for the Orlando Sun, they offered me freelance work as a travel or garden writer. I have always gardened even as a child. I can’t remember not gardening.”

Are you prepared to handle a crush of garden book proposals?

“I already get that.”

Betty is publisher of B. B. Mackey Books. She is also a writer, photographer, lecturer, and editor.

The riverboat cruise at the 2014 GWA Symposium in Pittsburgh ended near a
lighted stadium where a professional baseball game was in progress. It was a
short walk back to the conference center.

Header image by Filipe Fortes

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