Monday, February 9, 2009

Kim Smith on "New England Grows"

I recently spent several days exploring New England Grows, the trade show event supported by area educational institutions and landscape industry professionals. The Garden Writers Association's annual meeting and luncheon for the region was held there; it was a great way to make new acquaintances and reconnect with old friends. The booths sponsored by the Arnold Arboretum's Landscape Institute and NELDHA provided a wealth of information and, whenever I happened by, were packed and generating much interest in their programs. My butterfly garden photos from Willowdale Estate were part of the "before and after" slide show, one of the many landscape designs presented by NELDHA members. Several people inquired as to how to grow such great batches of morning glories: moon vine and morning glories benefit from twice-weekly doses of Neptune’s Harvest fish emulsion. (Willowdale Estate is a special events venue; watering with fish emulsion was done at least twenty-four hours prior to any event.)

I stopped at the New England Grows bookshop to sign copies of my new book, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Unfortunately, Oh Garden! was situated at the table labeled "Business Books," sandwiched between Small Business Grants and Discipline of Market Leaders. Highly doubtful that any sold. One of the other writers from Garden Writers Association said she had seen my book there, but passed it by because she thought it “was just another marketing book.” When a display problem such as this is completely out of my control, I really don’t know how to fix it, but I would be interested to hear from readers who may have encountered similar problems of this nature.

The GWA event was well attended and the guest speaker, JP Faiella of Image Unlimited Communications, led an informal talk on improving business communication skills. I especially enjoyed meeting Thomas Mickey, professor of communications at Bridgewater State and garden writer for the Patriot Ledger. His book-in-progress sounds fascinating — The Seduction of the English Garden: The Nineteenth Century Seed Merchants Sold More than Plants — and is based on his year-long work at the Smithsonian, where he researched the public relations materials of the nineteenth century seed industry.

I only had a brief moment to meet and speak with Hilda Morrill; her website is brimming with articles and informative listings of upcoming New England gardening events. Debra Strick, the former communications director from New England Wild Flower Society was seated at our table. She has recently launched Damera Communications, a green marketing and public relations firm. Best wishes to Debra! I hope you have as much success for yourself as you helped to create for NEWFS.

Jennifer Masiello, a representative from Droll Yankees bird feeders was also present at our table. I love Droll Yankees bird feeders for their streamlined designs and because they last for years and years. Jennifer is a treasure trove of backyard bird feeding tips. I had been looking for an alternative way to clean bird feeders, typically scrubbing with a ten percent solution of bleach. We are trying to avoid chlorine bleach as much as possible. Droll Yankees is now recommending a fifty / fifty white vinegar to water solution to sanitize bird feeders. Their recently launched line of tubular feeders, designed with a simple-to-remove base, allows a clean, fresh fill every time, which will also help to prevent the growth of mold and toxins.

Photo credits: 1. Morning glory embowered doorway at Willowdale; 2. Pine Siskins

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