Monday, July 31, 2006

Strength in Numbers

I have just started a Yahoo group (online discussion list serv) for fellow Regional Garden Magazines. I invited about 30 to join up, so far we number 5 including myself. I don't care if there is only a few of us, I think that any networking, sharing, or joint-projects we can do together is a bonus. So far the other members are from Illinois and Michigan. Their magazines are about the same age and size as ours, which is great for fellowship and support. If you are a regional garden publication publisher or staffer, please join us at:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A New Audience

The magazine was invited to join the local farmer's market in downtown Silver Spring, MD this Saturday. Details at
I love our local farmer's markets and get great plants at them, not to mention the yummy samples and fresh edibles. Are farmer's market shoppers garden magazine subscribers? I'll find out soon.
In fact the August 15 issue of our Enewsletter is a feature on DC-area farmer's markets, so this gives me a chance to take photos and experience it from the 'other side.'

Monday, July 24, 2006

Real Garden Journals Online

Fiskars ( sent a blank journal to me today (and probably 1,000s of other gardeners) and asked me to fill it out. Those returned and chosen will then be put up on their web site journal pages (
At first, I was like - WHY? would I take days to fill out a book just to send it away and probably never it again. My own garden journal (a three-ring binder) is bursting at the seams and is woefully been neglected this past year. As a new plant comes in, I'll take the plant tag and stuff it in the album - maybe I'll mark where it was planted. That is about all I have time for right now.
I went on the site and viewed the garden journals pages. I'm inspired! None from the MidAtlantic so far, though plenty of wonderfully creative and thoughtful entries. There is no way I'll pull out a set of watercolors and make anything close to a few of these masterpieces, but I think I can find my own creative way to fill this journal.
What is a little surreal to me about this is a former scrapbook like me now a confirmed blogger taking time to make a paper journal again and then having it posted online. Does this even make sense to do? Maybe not. But it should be fun.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

No AC in DC

The Wash Post interviewed me for a piece on living without AC in the DC summer swelter. Here is the link:
The reporter graciously mentioned the magazine and the photographer posed me with it (swiped and place here at left) it is more subliminal than a real view of it.

I've gotten about 50 messages so far today from people who saw the piece - great reactions. Hoping it comes through in new subscribers. Won't really know until I see the tallies for the next few weeks.

What is funny thing is there is a button to purchase the photo of myself - the price? Starting at $49.95 for an 8x10 print. Yikes! Even my mom and grandma will have to pass on that - Im imagining some rich perv out there ordering it now - LOL.

I was also interviewed yesterday on Washington Post Radio - a fun group of gals. We got to flush out the particulars on life without AC and I got to mention the magazine again.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Enews Is Better Than No News

Have I mentioned that we do (make that I do) a monthly enewsletter that comes out of the 15th of each month. Here is the most recent issue: It is free to anyone in the universe, but would only be of interest really to area gardeners. This is where I out the more timely things - like garden 'to do' list for the next 30 days as well as area garden event listings. Doing the event listings here, frees up space in the magazine as well as being more user-friendly since you can link directly to the full event information. Something I find frustrating in newspaper listing -- they give 3-5 words and you are luckily to get a URL to find out more information. That is IF the event has a web address! Can't believe how many organizations still are not online with just a simple page of basics. I'm thinking specifically of local area garden clubs. I know there are 100s out there, but if they are not online they may as well not exist as I'll never hear of them until one of their members volunteers the facts in passing conversation. Just today I found out about a club that meets at a local library - only because they contacted me as a potential speaker. Well, I'll do them a favor and at last list that one of event of theirs on the web ;-).

Friday, July 14, 2006


I have contracted with an online design firm to come up with a logo for Washington Gardener magazine. We have a nameplate and that is pretty much what I've been using for all of our logo needs, but I felt it was time to get a real logo that we can use on our web site, stationary, T-shirts, etc.

Here was the first round of choices posted at 1800logo. I've pasted mini versions at left. Logo #5 is the only one I found remotely passable.

To say I'm displeased with this first crop is a major understatement. I don't know what I was expecting, but I think I at least wanted designs that I could not have easily done myself!! When I pay a graphics pro I'm actually looking for a fresh perspective and some creativity. I'm #6 is just horrible and what is that blob in #2!

We are working now on getting #5 into some state that I'd see as useable. Let me know what you think of the choices.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bamboo For You

My latest article for the Washington Examiner is posted here: select the print editon from Thursday, July 13 and scroll to page 26.
Here is one of the photos I submittet that did not make it in print. I want to steal this idea myself. Here is the caption:
Yes, bamboo comes in many colors, but this adventurous paint treatment of Phyllostachys dulcis by Nancy Valk in the home garden of Paul Babikow is not found in nature. Babikow is a well-known wholesale plant seller located just outside of Baltimore, MD.

Also here is the link to the American Bamboo Society that got cut for space and this final paragraph:
The following sources are highly regarded by bamboo enthusiasts: Bamboo for Gardens by Ted Meredith (Timber Press), The Journal of Japanese Gardening (, and Bamboo in Japan by Nancy Moore Bess.
More news coming soon...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Red, White, & Blooming

Been a good holiday week - I saw the fireworks in Baltimore on Federal Hill, along with some very nice red, white, and blue window box flower displays in that neighborhood. Wish I had taken a camera with me, but check out page 26 of our current issue (July/Ayg 2006) for lots of patriotic plant designs.
Got a lot of irons in the fire now keeping me busy. Had a Washington Post reporter stop by this morning to chat fir an article on those who live in DC's muggy summers WITHOUT air-conditioning. That's right, eccentric people like me get to be featured for our earth-friendly and thrifty ways ;-). Truthfully, I think AC is way overused. For instance a perfect day like today calls for flinging all the windows open.
I've got to get out to the garden to plant some melon, pumpkin, and squash seeds. Yes, I'm way late, but I did the same last year and still had some nice specimens to display at Halloween. BTW, I'm also having our weekly Open Garden this afternoon from 3-6 PM -- come on over. I'm having a sale of the last of my tomato plants and a bunch of potted up perennials, aside from the current and back issues of the magazine.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

July/August Issue Now Out

The July/August 2006 is now mailing and I have the advance copies to peruse. Here is the cover photo - a mophead hydrangea - which is one of my new favorites. This old-fashioned flower took a while to grow on me, but I've been converted. The issue contains a profile of Hydrangeas as well as articles on Victory Gardens, Desert Plants in DC's Climate, Attracting Butterflies with Native Blooms, The Old Stone House's English Garden, Create Room by Growing UP, Theme Gardens, Red, White & Bloom America's Garden, and Weed Watch: Canada Thistle. Have a great Independence Day holiday weekend! (No, it is NOT called "the 4th of July" - my latest pet peeve - I think I'm fighting a losing battle though - just need to let it go...)

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