GWA14 Garden Writers Blog

Outreach Blog of the Garden Writers 2014 Pittsburgh Symposium

Attendees of the 2014 GWA Symposium in Pittsburgh had the opportunity to
dine one evening on a riverboat. The boat cruised past the stadium where
fans were gathering for a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. Before dinner,
many members enjoyed sightseeing from the top deck of the boat.

“I’m a gardener and I like being part of a community of influencers.”

Tammy is the Marketing Director for BioSafe Systems. She won a Corona brand tool in a giveaway at GWA’s booth during the Cultivate ’14 conference in Columbus, Ohio.

“I was going to be an artist, but I switched to horticulture because I didn’t feel I’d be giving back enough with music.”

Mark is president of Organic Mechanics, a company that produces horticultural soils composed of compost and coconut fibers in place of peat moss.

“Working with dedicated garden communicators has taught me new ways of doing things. Their efforts help keep me up to date on news, products, and innovations I don’t have time to research and track myself.”

Tyler Johnson is a horticulturist at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

Derek Fell relaxes for a moment between bus rides during a tour at the Garden Writers Symposium in Pittsburgh.

Derek produces the online newsletter, The Avant Gardener. A GWA Fellow, Derek is a garden writer, photographer, and speaker. Learn more about him at

“I studied graphic design and art and I had no intention of going into marketing. What drives me is the art of visual story telling, and it turns out marketing combines art, graphic design, and writing.”

Why in the garden industry?

“My aunts and my grandmother all had beautiful gardens. There’s magic in gardening.”

Shannon is a PR and Marketing Specialist at Spring Meadow Nursery.

This started as a candid shot of Lloyd in a garden behind the house at the Newington Estate during a tour at the 2014 GWA Symposium in Pittsburgh.

Suzy McCoy of Garden Media Group in Kennett Square, PA, is a hort industry marketing and PR guru. Lloyd Traven is a plant breeder and technologist. He has written for several industry publications and is co-owner of Peace Tree Farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Jay Brooks, owner and gardener at The Newington Estate, graciously (and
enthusiastically) provided tractor service for GWA members from the buses up
the long driveway into his garden.

It was a bit of a climb to reach the Newington Estate at the Garden Writers
Symposium. Several attendees scored a stylish ride.

“Garden writing was the horse that came in. In a class titled ‘Magazine Writing that Sells,’ I queried magazines about Politics, Parenting, Travel, Home Décor, and Gardening. Sunset Magazine bit on my gardening article.

“Some advice to new writers: When your query gets rejected, don’t go down; go up. I’d been rejected by a local newspaper before I submitted the idea to Sunset.”

Mary-Kate has written for Sunset, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and Pacific Horticulture magazines. She authored the fern section for The Sunset Western Garden Book and she writes the monthly column, “Rooting For You” for Hartley Botanic. Find her at

Header image by Filipe Fortes

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