By Jacqueline Soule
This year marks the thirty-first year anniversary of my continuing membership in GWA. Gosh it doesn’t seem at all possible that it has been that long!
Thirty one years ago, way back in 1985, I somehow heard about a group that was offering an award for students who had published articles about gardening. At that time I had a few articles published, thanks to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona and the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. I even had some I was paid for, one in a local newspaper and one for Greenhouse Manager magazine.
I was still a student I sent off my submission to the Garden Writers Association of America (GWAA back in the day) and danged if I didn’t win! What a supremely validating experience for me!
Thus began my long and very fruitful relationship with GWA. Thirty-one years later, I am again involved with the GWA awards process, this time serving as the Chair of the Awards Committee.
Simply belonging to GWA is pretty nifty all by itself. But then there is the Annual Conference. Every year 400 to 600 or so of my fellow garden communicators gather in a different city for a four-day conference. What an event! What a crew!
During the conference there are garden tours, garden talks, a garden trade show, and ample time visiting with fellow garden geeks. I love it but I confess that each night of the conference I retreat to my room entirely exhausted. I say I retreat to my room, because it is a retreat. Writing and gardening are, by their very nature, solitary occupations. Yes, we do interview people and visit gardens. But then the process of writing – of creating – is intense and requires (at least for me) solitude.
Four happy days of chattering with a horde of other writers, seeing new sights, meeting new people, seeing new plant materials and garden tools, and visiting new gardens is enough for me. After a while I long to get home to my quiet garden and peaceful keyboard again. Then months will pass and I’ll be ready for another conference, this time in Atlanta. See you there!
Meet the Author
Dr. Jacqueline Soule is a long-time Southwestern garden writer. Of her eleven books, nine are on gardening in that unique climate. She has been a popular columnist for many years with weekly and monthly columns in a number of national, regional, and local publications, including Southwest Trees & Turf, The Explorer Newspaper, and Angie’s List magazine. Jacqueline has given numerous presentations, workshops, and classes for the community and for professional organizations. Learn more about Jacqueline at www.gardeningwithsoule.com.