Friday, March 30, 2007

Free Worm Tea!

The latest Washington Examiner is now out with week #3 of "The List." We are providing the "Home & Garden Top 5" list for this every week. Read the Examiner article online (March 29 edition - page 34), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the List is on page 34.

Our #1 pick for this week's List is the brand new Montgomery County Home Show. We are having a booth there near the speaker's stage (#148) and hope to see many of you there. Feature speakers include WTOP garden expert, Mike McGrath. This week's Gazette has a pull out of the schedule and floor plan as well as a $2 off coupon to the event off the $8 admission. You can also print out $2 off coupons from the MoCoHomeShow web site.

In addition, the MoCoHomeShow organizer says they will honor coupons and passes from any other home show! That is a really great deal - especially if, like me, you spied some free home show passes at various other recent events.

For our part, Chip at GlobalWorming (see last blog post below) just gave us a case of very fresh Worm Tea to give out with new subscriptions placed at the MoCoHomeShow. So while supplies last, every new subscriber who signs up at the event will get a bottle of worm tea, the current issue of our Washington Gardener Magazine, and a pack of native wildflower seeds.

I planted a bunch of pansies from Safeway yesterday - do they look they the photo here? No, but they should fill in my planting boxes by the front door and out back until the summer annuals are ready.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You don't believe in networking!?!

Friend of Washington Gardener Magazine, Chip Py of Global Worming will be on Channel 4 (WRC-NBC) at 5:00 pm today as part of Wendy Rieger's ongoing "Going Green" series of reports. I think the segment will be repeated a few times in the next few days and should also be posted on their site soon.

I first met Chip at an event at Brookside Gardens last year. Then again at the GreenFest and at various other green/garden events in the DC area. He donated bottles of his worm tea for Washington Gardener Seed Exchange and will be bringing more by for me to use as a booth giveaway at an upcoming garden show where we'll be exhibiting. We are both of the Guerilla Marketing mindset and always looking out for cross-promotional ideas.

Which brings me to a subject near and dear to me: networking. Last week a small business person I know said, "I don't believe in networking," when I asked for his business card as I way of explaining why he had known. Barring the fact that is no excuse for no biz cards (get them FREE at http://www.vistaprint.com/), this remark really irked me. I wanted to bonk him on the forehead and yell, "Wake up!" IMHO, without unlimited cash-flow resources, networking is the ONLY way to get anything accomplished in this world.

Believe me, when I graduated college and took business seminars extolling the virtues of networking. It went in one ear and right out the other. Despite outward appearances, I'm an introvert and am a writer for a reason. But I quickly learned over the years working for various professional and trade associations that there was a reason people paid hundreds of dollars a year to be members of these group. The smart ones join up as soon as they can, attend every event possible, and chat up everyone.

When starting this magazine I had to overcome my discomfort and put myself out there as well. And guess what? The more I do it, the easier it becomes. Sure, it is not fun to walk into a room of strangers and just walk up to someone and introduce myself. Ten years ago I'd rather get a splinter in the eye than attempt something like that. As you mature and become more comfortable with your self, the less effort it takes. And if you believe in your product, networking comes almost naturally.

One member of an association I worked for years ago wrote on her event evaluation that is was "poor," while it got high marks from everyone else. Her reason, "No one talked to me or introduced themselves." Mind you this person paid over $1,000 to fly to this location, get a hotel room, join the group, and sign up for the event. What a moron! Everyone at this event had a name badge and was there to meet new contacts, why was it anybody else's responsibility to make the first move with her? So you are shy? Get over it! If you made a serious investment in your time and money to attend a business event, make sure you at least get some valid contacts out of it. It helps to keep in mind as well that you are certainly not the only one at any given event who wants to crawl into a hole. Just plaster a smile on and pretend your confident -- and you soon will be for real.

At the opening reception for our Washington Gardener Photo Contest Exhibit last Friday, I was pleased to see a great turnout and how the conservation flowed along with the wine. I had asked all the winning photographers to bring their business cards/brochures. Many made special ones just for the exhibit and others had wonderful brochures on hand. One winner, Yoma Ullman, commented afterwards, "I did a huge amount of networking and thoroughly enjoyed myself into the bargain. Great idea, and splendidly carried out." One of our regular contributing photographers, Dan Weil, said, "I think the reception went exceedingly well. I don't know if anyone will sell anything, but it sure got photographers and your mag some good attention, and it was enjoyable. Good networking, too. You must be real proud of it."

I am proud of it and of the caliber of photographs on display there. I hope it inspires a whole new crop of entries into next year's competition as well. Moreover, I know the connections the photographers and all those who attended the event made will pay off in untold and myriad ways in years to come.

Update
Chip's on air segment is now uploaded at: http://video.nbc4.com/player/?id=85823

Friday, March 23, 2007

Year of the Tree

Our latest Examiner article is now out. It is about the urban tree and largely based on the "Green Matters" symposium I attended at Brookside Gardens last month. This week I attended the debut of a documentary on the demise of the American Elm tree which was part of the DC Environmental Film Festival. It really touched on all the same themes as the speakers did at the Brookside talks. For instance, how the loss of the urban tree canopy directly affects global warming, crime rates, property value, etc. You'll be hearing much more on this in future months.
Read the Washington Examiner version of the article online here (March 23 edition - page 60), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the article is on R4 (Real Estate section - page 4).
Read the Baltimore Examiner article online here (March 23 edition - page 97), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the article is on R33 (Real Estate section - page 33).
The Hawthorn tree pictured here was at the recent Philadelphia Flower Show. Apparently the ribbons are an old Irish tradition for placing your wishes on a tree. The colors correspond to the kind of wish you are placing. Supposedly you see these all over the Irish countryside, though I can't find anyone who has actually witnessed this. The lighting and my "expert" photo skills make it look more romantic and colorful than it actually was. In person, this display looked more like the poor tree had been TPed. Many show attendees gave it a wide birth.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

On The Air

Thanks to all who watched us yesterday on NBC4 at 4 and who participated in the live web chat. That was definitely a first for me as "the expert," although I've done plenty of live online chats. (When AOL was just a few thousand members circa 1991, a bunch of us Prince fans used to gather online Sunday night to talk into the wee hours, those were the "good ole days" of the Net for me. Give me a shout if you were part of that early adoption tribe.) NBC4 gave us a nice link from here. The transcript of the web chat is posted here. Apologies if any of my answers were incoherent or incomplete! You know that scene from Broadcast News where Joan Cusack is running around with the tape to get it live on-air? Well, my experience yesterday was pretty close to that -- between the live shot outside the studio digging in the dirt with Veronica Johnson, hustling to clean that up, running up to the studio, getting re-wired with a mike and answering the live chat questions while they set up lighting and cameras for a second live shot inside the studio with Veronica. For the outdoor shot I did not have a mike until literally two seconds before the segment started. I think we at least appeared calm and collected while on-air. The staff was great and, by the way, Veronica is a real gardener at heart. Read her last few blog entries here and you'll see she walks the talk. Word on the grapevine is she is also an excellent photographer so I'm hoping to talk her into entering the next Washington Gardener Photo Contest. We did get to discuss the opening reception details for this year's Washington Gardener Photo Contest Art Show on the air and we are expecting a big crowd for it tomorrow night. Now off to put the finishing touches on the show itself.

The latest Washington Examiner is now out with week #2 of "The List." We are providing the "Home & Garden Top 5" list for this every week. Read the Examiner article online (March 22 edition - page 29), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the List is on page 29.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Connect 4

Spring is here! Although still a bit of chill in the air, I'm ready to clear out and get the planting beds ready for season. No big planting plans this year other than to try out many of the seeds we traded at the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange in January and to take as many photos as possible this year to chronicle it. Here is a photo of some of my over 100 crocus blooms that are blooming by my back door this week.

An update on my Channel 4 appearance today, Wed. 3/21:
You can watch the broadcast starting at 4:00pm live online on your computer, here is the link. I'll be on-air about 4:15pm and then spend the rest of the show in a live web chat with NBC4 viewers. You can pre-send garden questions for the chat to: nbc4connected@nbc4.com or just join us live online for the actual web chat later today. I hope to get a log of the chat afterwards that we can link to or post ourselves.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

Okay, I'm no Mary Tyler Moore, but I think I do alright compared to the many wooden appearances I see on the local news. I did the Channel 9 Sunday 8am news broadcast this morning. My first garden segment of the year. All about waking up the garden for spring -- which is officially here Tuesday night -- yippee!!!

I'll be live on-air again this Wednesday on Channel 4 at 4pm with a similar story. You can watch it from any computer live via their wen site at: http://www.nbc4.com/news4at4/index.html. The Channel 4 segment will be focused more on my "A Season Of Renewal" story on page 18 of the March 07 issue of Washington Woman now out and available for free at area Whole Foods, Giants, libraries, etc.

Getting ready for the photo showing this Friday. Spent the day shopping for wine, cheese, picture hangers, etc. Now have to get all the framing finished, create the signage, print a guide, etc. I've sent out invites to everyone I can think of -- and if you're reading this YOU are invited as well. Very hard to predict how many people will show up for this first-ever event. Seeing as how it is free, very easy to get to, has food, and includes gorgeous garden photos, I'm thinking we could get a very big crowd. We will be drawing the 17 winning photographers themselves plus their friends and family, as well as garden lovers, photo/art patrons, community neighbors, etc. Hoping it will be in the 50-100 range and that everyone only stays for a portion of the two-hour reception time period.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Miss Attributed

Several months ago I answered a writer's request to suggest Earth-friendly practices in the garden, we corresponded via email and that was it. Until last week, when I picked up March/April 07 issue of Bethesda Magazine and saw I was quoted for a side-bar of the cover story on "live a greener life." The side-bar, "conserve water," on page 62 not only misquotes me, but attributes me as "president of the Washington Garden Club."

At least my name is spelled right! But what I'd have expected, with simple copy-and-paste from our email exchange, is that they get the Washington Gardener Magazine name and my title right or just use the fact that I'm current president of the Takoma Horticultural Club. Either attribution would work for me in getting needed publicity for either organization.

As it stands now, I think now that I'm named president of a group that does not exist -- I may just have to go ahead and start it! I've been ruminating for a year or so now about adding a membership component to the magazine and certainly with hosting recent events we are naturally moving in that direction.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Enews Out - Consult the Tulip Library

The March 15 issue of the Washington Gardener Enews was sent out yesterday. It is now archived here for all to read. The feature article is on the Tulip Library in downtown DC near the Tidal Basin. Also in the issue is our newest Washington Gardener Reader Contest -- you can win passes to the new MoCo Home Show.

Here is the direct link to the Tulip Library PDF featured in yesterday's Washington Gardener Enews. It seems to be very slow loading from the enewsletter host site due to lots of reader traffic.

We also listed on the Washington Gardener yahoo discussion group all the additional submitted event listings taking place from 3/15-4/15/07 that we could not fit into this issue of the Washington Gardener Enews. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The List Debuts Today

The latest Washington Examiner is now out with the debut of "The List." We are providing the "Home & Garden Top 5" list for this every week. Read the Examiner article online (March 15 edition - page 31), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the List is on page 31.

Our "@washingtongardener.com" email addresses have been on the fritz for the past two weeks. Since I was in Philadelphia and busy at other shows, I did not notice it for a few days and once I did, it took over a week to have the problem corrected by our email host. Worse still, none of the missing emails has been recovered NOR has it bounced back to the senders. That means whoever wrote to us may never know we did not get the email nor will we ever know we missed it. So, if you wrote to us at "@washingtongardener.com" in the past week or two and did not get a reply yet, please resend it. We apologize for any inconvenience. And yes, we are shopping around for a new email/web host.

A garden writer I know is holding a workshop next month at Brookside Gardens, looks very worthwhile for those new to DC-area gardening. We're going to provide a copy of the current issue of Washington Gardener Magazine to all her attendees.
Here is a description: "The Newcomers' Guide to Gardening" presented by Peggy Riccio, Freelance Garden Writer and Horticulturist. For people who are new to gardening and gardeners who are new to the DC Metropolitan area, learn the necessary stepping stones to a successful growing season and about our local gardening world and resources. You will receive a special reference handout listing local gardening classes, shows, public gardens, internet sites, books, and other horticultural media. Course number 29199. Tuesday, April 24, 10:00 - 11:30 am. Fee $11, registration required. Visitors Center Auditorium, Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902; (301) 962-145.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Photo Show A Go!

You are invited to view the winning images of the first annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest at an art show in downtown Silver Spring, MD. All 17 stunning photos were taken in DC-area gardens. Both inspirational and educational, this show represents the best of garden photography in the greater DC metropolitan region. (The grand prize winner by Iris Posner is shown at left.)

The opening reception is Friday, March 23 from 7-9pm at the Adams Bank Lobby in the World Building on Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring, MD. The reception is open to the public and is free to attend. After the opening, you may come by and view the photos any time during the normal bank lobby hours (M-F 9am-4pm, Sat 9am-12noon). The show runs through May 25.

Many of the winning images are on sale and are quite affordable with prices ranging from $50-$100. The winning photos are also published in the March/April 07 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine along with additional details on the entrants and their images. You can subscribe to the magazine for just $18 a year and start with this current issue. Or purchase the single issue at the opening reception on March 23. You may also buy the single issue at local Borders, Barnes & Noble, or B. Dalton book stores and several independent stores including Alchemy, Politics & Prose, and the USNA Arbor House.

Due to the success of this first contest, Washington Gardener Magazine is already announcing a 2nd Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest. Start gathering your images now and throughout this year. Most all of the entry rules will remain the same as this year with one new category to be added: Garden Creatures. We will again accept the entries during the first three weeks of January with the winners announced at the annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange, which next year will be held January 26, 2008.

The complete the list of winners is posted to the Contest page of our web site: http://www.washingtongardener.com/. Congratulations to them all!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Home Sweet Home

In all the hectic activity of the last few weeks, I never formally announced it - but our March/April 07 issue IS out! The cover is pictured here. All subscribers should have it now or be getting it shortly. This cover shot was one of our photo contest winners.
Speaking of the last few busy weeks, both trips to Philadelphia Flower Show went very well. In addition, the Washington Home & Garden Show this past weekend started off slow, but ended on a real high note for us. On Sunday, we had our highest number of total subscriptions in one day. With the gorgeous weather that day, I had thought we'd not get a good crowd. Boy, was I wrong! They came out by the 100s. Spring is definitely in the air.
I've just been asked by the Washington Examiner to do there "Top 5" home & garden events list for them every week - it will start this Thursday in a new section of their paper that they are promoting -- similar to the Washington Post Weekend or Sunday Source sections. And hmmm, just guess what events I'll be featuring ;-) Hey, they are not paying me for this - so I might as well use it to promote my own causes and friends heavily! BTW, the Washington Post Home section will no longer be listing area home & garden events, so I guess we'll be taking up the slack there.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Show Me the Flowers!

Our latest Washington Examiner article is now out. It is about the spring home and garden show season. Something which I'm very familiar with just having gone up to the Philadelphia Flower Show twice this week! (An exhibit from that show is pictured here.) Read the Examiner article online (March 9 edition - page 62), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the article is on R14 (Real Estate section - page 14).

Washington Gardener Magazine is in Booth #920 at the Washington Home & Garden Show starting yesterday through Sunday at the DC Convention Center. Please come by our booth to subscribe, renew, purchase the current issue and back issues, and buy gift subscriptions. Our booth is right near Edible Landscaping, who has a great inventory of plants include trains of wintergreen that I'd been eyeing all yesterday and most likely will purchase by the time the show ensds Sunday night!

The show management has just given us 4 passes to the show worth $10 each. We will give out two sets of two passes each to Washington Gardener Magazine readers. If you would like to attend the show this weekend, send an email to Editor@WashingtonGardener.com by 7:00 pm tonight (Friday, 3/9). Please out "WH&G" in the subject line and include your full name in the body of the email. We will notify the winners tonight and have your passes waiting at the will-call box office for use on either this Saturday or Sunday.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Springtime in Washington

The first snowdrops (picture is a week old now) are out in my yard as are many crocuses (crocii?) and daffodils. Any day now for the forsythia...

My article, "Springtime in Washington: A Season of Renewal," is on page 15 of The 2007 Washington Home & Garden Show supplement in the Thursday, March 1 edition of The Washington Times newspaper. If you missed getting it yesterday, it is not linked online, but will be handed out to all attendees on-site at the show on March 8-11. Be sure to stop by our booth #920!

On Friday, March 9 at 2:00 PM I'll be giving a free talk at the show on "The Top 10 Trees for Small or Urban Gardens."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Links to Linger Over

Pictured here is my front garden during this past Sunday's snow. Hard to believe it now as the sun and warmth have moved in and it feels like spring is here.

While I may not be able to post much since I'll be away at events this coming week, I thought I'd leave you with some good sites to visit. These are ones I have not tipped you off to before and that I think you'll enjoy if you are interesting in gardening.

~ Doug Green's blog http://douggreensgarden.com/ is a great resource. He has made a real go of online publishing and you can explore his many downloadable Ebooks as well. When Doug tackles a subject, considered it fully explored! On his most recent blog post he talks about ants in the garden and dispels the Peony myth I always find it frustrating when veteran gardeners ask me how to get rid of ants on Peonies. They belong there and do no harm! If you want to cut a few blooms, just gently shake them out before bringing them inside.

~ Starla King, one of our more active Washington Gardener readers, has a nice new web site: http://www.signaturegardenscapes.com/. She does design, installation, and maintenance work and is based in Virginia. You may recall Starla's My Garden Story column in our Nov/Dec 06 issue.

~ If you missed the Takoma Park Green Building Conference events held in Council Chambers on Sunday, February 18, 2007. Five programs from this event will air during March on TP City TV. Details will beprovided on the City TV page of the website, http://takomaparkmd.gov/cable/, after March 1. It is Channel 13 on my cable system and should be available in Montgomery County and maybe parts of DC. I saw cameras pass by our table a few times, who knows what will end up on air, but if you see me on it - give me a heads up. I'd assume it will mostly be the great workshops and group talks they held there.