This past weekend, I was honored to be named a GardenComm Fellow at GardenComm’s virtual conference.
“GardenComm fellows recognizes a member in good standing who has demonstrated exceptionally high degrees of skill, professional ethics, and dedication to the GardenComm mission and values.”
If we had been together in person instead of virtual, I would have been invited up to the stage to say a few words of thanks.
In lieu of a few spoken words, I thought I’d post some thanks here on my blog. I hope I don’t leave anyone out, though I know I will.
How did I end up joining GardenComm? I blame Mary Ann Newcomer and Dee Nash who told me in those early blogging days that even though I just had a garden blog, I was a garden writer and I should join GardenComm, then known as Garden Writers Association. “Okay,” I said. Thank you Mary Ann and Dee!
(Ha! I make it sound like they asked me once, and I accepted immediately without another thought about it. It might have taken a little more asking on their part to convince me.)
And from there, the connections I made in GardenComm have lead to all kinds of exciting opportunities. I met member Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp who at the time had a weekly gardening column in The Indianapolis Star. She wrote a column about my blog back in the day and that put my name in front of the editor of a weekly newspaper who asked me to write a weekly gardening column for them. I suspect Jo Ellen has mentioned my name for other opportunities to speak and write that I don’t even know about. Thank you, Jo Ellen!
Katie Elzer-Peters and Deb Wiley sat in the seats in front of me on a GardenComm bus tour in Atlanta in 2016 and told me they would help me publish my first book which won a gold media award from GardenComm in 2018. Hopefully, Deb doesn’t regret that first offer because she’s now edited six books for me! Well, actually eight if you count those two children’s stories I haven’t published, yet. Thank you, Katie and Deb.
Through GardenComm, I’ve met so many people who’ve given me advice, insight, nudges, support, and more. Shall I list some? How about every person I’ve come into contact with through this organization. Yes, everyone. Thank you Ellen, Debra, Kathy, Maria, Susan, Teresa, Shelley, Marianne, Kate, Becky, and so many others!
I’ve been to every conference since 2009 and came away from each one with ideas, insights, and inspirations to write, speak, and do more to spread the word about this great thing called gardening. I’ve learned from outstanding garden communicators including C.L. Fornari, Mary-Kate Mackey, and Kirk Brown. Thank you!
I’ve been inspired by countless other GardenComm members I’ve met, sometimes because we ended up sitting by one another on a bus heading to a fabulous garden—the mantra of sit by someone you don’t know is true—and sometimes because I sought them out in later years as my courage grew with each conference and positive interaction.
I remember the stars in my eyes when I met garden communicators that I had long admired—Jim Wilson, Rosalind Creasy, Erica Glasener, and many more— at annual conferences. Those were thrilling moments.
In conclusion, and with apologies for leaving out way too many people, I’m honored to be a Fellow of GardenComm and grateful for all I’ve learned and received through my membership.
(At this point, let me just say that if you are writing, speaking, YouTubing, blogging, TikToking, Instagramming, Facebooking, podcasting, or otherwise communicating about gardening, please remember what the southern garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence once wrote… “no one gardens alone.” And no one communicates about gardening alone. I encourage you to join GardenComm today and surround yourself with great garden communicators who can help you grow to the next level, no matter whether you are just getting started or believe you are already at the top of your compost heap. Join! And one day you’ll look back and thank yourself for making the wise decision to become a GardenComm member.)