Sunday, September 20, 2009

Decisions, Decisions


So I do a photo shoot back in June in a glorious local garden. The owner is a wonderful artist and gardener. She shares with me an essay she wrote about the garden and its enchanting story. We think this is perfect for our "MyGardenStory" column in the magazine. Fast forward three months.
   I'm now laying out the issue. I open up the daily paper. Wham, bam. All across the front of the Home section is a photo spread on this garden along with an indepth interview with the gardener. I cringe and set it aside for a few days. Mulling it over. Her personal essay is much different than the interview she gave, but still would that make us look like the copycats for using it so soon? Should I set the story aside and hold it for a future issue?
   The added wrinkle, this gardener is 97. If I hold it, I'm afraid it may turn into an In Memoriam piece and I'd rather this gardener get to see and enjoy it with her family while she lives.
    The upshot is, I'm going to roll with it. I hate to look like those news organizations I always mock for not doing any original reporting and just reading off the stack of daily papers or linking online to others stories, but I think this feature is different enough and complementary to the other piece that our readers will really enjoy it.
   Pictured here is the gardener in question, Kathleen Williams of Chevy Chase, MD, in her front yard explaining her preferred pruning technique for the Harry Lauder's Walking Stick.

6 comments:

Cyndy said...

That's a shame that the Post beat you to the punch, especially since you interviewed her first. But what can you do? Maybe incorporate "June" a lot into the story of the interview?

I was very amused by your sentence "The added wrinkle, this gardener is 97." HaHaHa! Although if she looks that good at 97, she's likely to live to 115.

WashingtonGardener said...

Cyndy - I'm not good at guessing ages but I'd have thought KW was about 70-75, if she had not told me different! Think she is fully determined to hit 115 and I think she just may.

Jarmaine | Brochure Printing said...

Oh that's too bad, but if your's has a different slant and is acutally complementing the post by the newspaper, then there shouldn't be an issue :)
Considering she's 97, she sure does look younger in the photo! Maybe all the fresh air from gardening and all the beautiful plants and flowers kept her young :)

Crystal said...

I look forward to the Washington Post every Thursday, as this is the day we get the "Home and Garden" section. Of course, I read the profile on this gardener/sculptor and so that's interesting that you'd also interviewed her first, and yes it's a good idea to go ahead and feature her in your magazine too. The WP aricle focused a lot on her garden-sculptures, not so much on the garden per se.

Wendy said...

What a delightful (not) surprise for you! I personally think it'd be very interesting to read both the interview, but particularly her own personal narrative. Definiely would give another glimpse. Even in the garden, there's the - what other see - versus the personal story behind the design, plant, location, etc.

Thanks for stopping by my blog btw! Looking forward to reading up on apples - my new obsession. My goal is to plant 2 dwarfs this spring and espalier them in side yard. Scott's mentioned you and the mag for years! I've actually e-mailed a couple times but not sure if it bounced back... either way, enjoying the blog!! :)

WashingtonGardener said...

Thanks so much for all of your input.
Jarmaine, fresh air and supportive family plus good genes -- may we all be so blessed!
Crystal, I too await that Thurs WaPo with baited breath. Let's hope it survives this recession and newspaper downturn intact (I hear depressing rumors).
Wendy, I have the same ambitions to add esapliered apples and wait until you see the hilarious cartoon we have in this issue on just that tioic.