Networking Saves the Day: How One Author Located Hard-to-Find Ingredients


by Ellen Zachos

Writing is a solitary profession. Gardening often is too. That’s one of the reasons I love GWA and the friends and colleagues I’ve met as a member. Not only does GWA provide a network of accomplished professionals, but it’s also a social group, full of friendly, interesting people who are willing to go the extra mile to help out a fellow member.

Zachos Purslane
The fresh purslane for this cocktail was shipped from Indiana to New Mexico

This past fall, as I worked on my most recent book, I had reason to appreciate this aspect of the vast network that is GWA. Because the subject of my book is intensely seasonal (The Wildcrafted Cocktail) there were several instances in which I needed to test a recipe with a plant that was no longer available where I lived.

When I needed to distill rose water from fresh, organic rose petals in November, I figured I was out of luck. Then I thought, hey, I know some garden communicators who live in warmer parts of the country…maybe their roses are still blooming. Within a half hour of posting my request on Facebook, Ann McCormick answered and said she thought she could gather enough for me before an impending storm touched ground in Fort Worth. I gave her my FedEx number and the next day I had a ziplock bag full of lovely pink ‘Old Blush’ rose petals, fragrant, fresh, and ready to be distilled. Ann refused compensation for her time and effort; all she asked was that I write this blog post! Continue reading “Networking Saves the Day: How One Author Located Hard-to-Find Ingredients”

Let Me Introduce…Making an Introduction Work For You


By C.L. Fornari

If you’re a speaker, you’ve been introduced to many audiences. Some of those introductions have undoubtedly been short and sweet while others have been long and rambling, non-existent, or (worst of all) inaccurate.

Sadly, program chairs might take information off your website that appeals to them personally. In doing so they might be ignoring your credentials, the audience’s interests, or the topic you’re presenting. Others might read your entire resume, so that the audience is on the edge of slumber when you take the stage. Yet these incidents can be avoided. Continue reading “Let Me Introduce…Making an Introduction Work For You”

Live Networking: Making the Connection in Person

By Kate Copsey

Not too long ago being social and networking involved getting out of the chair and meeting people. Face to face meetings in coffee houses, restaurants, and other venues sealed business deals and were a pleasant distraction for solitary writers. Then the 21st century brought high-speed internet, Twitter, and Facebook into our lives. The art of face-to-face networking was replaced by constant communication in the virtual world.

Penny O’Sullivan chats with a fellow garden writer during the Tucson GWA Convention

The GWA Annual Conference is one of the few places where you can brush off your skills at networking in the real world with real conversations that are not limited to 64 character thoughts and hashtags. This networking bonanza begins with a round of meeting and greeting those friends in the industry that you may have only known in the virtual world from Facebook and Twitter or even email. Face-to-face meetings are subtly different from virtual conversations. The non-verbal cues we get from voice inflections or facial expressions are just two of these differences.

Continue reading “Live Networking: Making the Connection in Person”

But What Do You Do? – Wearing the Many Hats of a Freelancer

Sterman Many Hats.jpg

by Nan Sterman

I recently met with a local visionary who dreams of creating a world-class garden attraction at a local retail property he manages. He envisions a month long exposition that features speakers, workshops, elaborate garden displays, children’s activities, and more.

The man reached out to me at the suggestion of our mutual friend, the travel agent I partner with for garden tours. Our meeting included one of his consultants, a woman who knows me from my garden writing and from my television show, A Growing Passion.

Sterman Office Desk.jpgHe was on fire as he described the event.  When he finished, he turned to me, a bit breathless, and asked if and how I could help make his dream come true. I chuckled. Nearly every aspect of what he described I have done and/or could do – design gardens, work with growers, organize events, assemble a roster of renowned speakers (that’s you guys) and designers, speak to the audiences myself, coordinate with vendors, promote the event to my own audiences and to the wider public using traditional and social media, and more.

Continue reading “But What Do You Do? – Wearing the Many Hats of a Freelancer”

Happy Anniversary to Me! Celebrating Membership in GWA

Soule LOVE Sculpture
I LOVE the chance to go on behind-the-scenes tours of public gardens.

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.  Continue reading “Happy Anniversary to Me! Celebrating Membership in GWA”

The Power of Snippets: Finding Pockets of Time and Making them Productive

Snippets Writing.jpg

By Shelley S. Cramm

“How do you find the time?” And so the banter begins when I tell a friend about my new writing career wedged in the middle of my current one, that of a wife and mother of five. New…it still feels unfamiliar despite seven years of organizing, writing, and promoting my first book, and now creating a blog to help form and shape my next one. Then again I still consider myself a beginning gardener after 25 years working our land, from newlywed apartment patio pots to the suburban back yard of our married life. Both writing and gardening have built-in humility, making their practice frustrating yet beautiful, elusive and full of grace.

Snippets Woman SippingIt’s no wonder a career combining both leaves me wondering if there is a better way. I’m forever exploring efficiencies and best practices. I don’t have an answer, but I have observed that a small effort applied consistently over time – snippets, if you will – can yield much more elegant results than I feel worthy of. This is the beautiful, full of grace part that is a welcome balm in the bewilderment of how-will-this-ever-get-done??  Continue reading “The Power of Snippets: Finding Pockets of Time and Making them Productive”

Collaboration in Cincinnati: GWA Connects at “Cincinnati Blooms”

Cincinnati Group Shot
GWA members gathered in Cincinnati for the Cincinnati Flower & Garden Show
Cincinnati BotGar Tulips
The Cincinnati Botanic Garden was awash with tulips

By Teresa Woodard

The Queen City gave GWA members a royal welcome at the April 13 Connect event with an abundance of blooms and hospitality at the Cincinnati Flower Show and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s impressive tulip show. Two other Columbus residents Diana Lockwood and Michael Leach carpooled with me to the Show’s lovely setting at Yeatman’s Cove Park, downtown along the Ohio River.

We were lucky to have the talented Kevin O’Dell, of Kendrick & O’Dell Landscaping, as our tour director on the opening day of this five-day show. He’s one of the show’s organizers and a long-time driving force in the area’s horticultural world. Kevin led us through landscapes from Cincinnati’s various sister cities which featured the show’s theme “An International Adventure.” We saw a vertical wall for Jordan, a forest of forced Japanese maples, a matchstick replica of a Chinese bridge, a gold-medal-winning French display with a flower-filled bicycle, a Taiwanese pool, and a cubist display from Munich. Other areas in the exhibits showcased trends in pollinator plants, upcycling elements in the garden, and container combinations, including a few in the emerging softer color palettes. Continue reading “Collaboration in Cincinnati: GWA Connects at “Cincinnati Blooms””