by Teresa Speight
If you garden, scouting your greenspace for that near perfect spot for your special plant to thrive can be difficult. Having a passion for beautiful gardens, plants, garden books and…well, all things garden or garden related can sometimes make finding your place in a community difficult. When you want to write, teach, or just share your vision of gardening so that it reaches the masses, you want to find the most practical place to do so. As I asked around, it was recommended that I join The Association of Garden Writers, currently known as GardenComm.
When my children were much younger, I took Master Gardener classes. I also acted as parent liaison for a butterfly garden at the elementary school and was known as the worm lady of Fredericksburg, Virginia. As one of the founding farmers at the Eitt CSA in Stafford County, I was picking bugs off of the crops, laying news print from the Freelance Star, and devouring the knowledge of growing organic vegetables and plants. I remember saving my money to buy Dr. Dirr’s Manual of Woody Ornamentals. As a part-time stay at home mom who just happened to garden part-time, it was a huge expense. The excitement of having the book in hand to read the words and identify ornamental plant material was epic. I was so thrilled to acquire this book for my growing library. The little girl whose dad said she could not get dirty in the garden ‘because I was a girl’, had been unleashed. I was learning Latin words and enjoying it. I also gave back to my community by volunteering as a Central Rappahannock Master Gardener.
Fast forward to a different life outside of Fredericksburg, I wanted to reach out to people who could only imagine gardening. I decided to start blogging as a way to share gardening, garden travels, and finding the beauty that surrounds us naturally. When I reflected on how much I gardened, read about gardening, visited garden centers, attended talks, and spoke with other like-minded people, I realized that my experiences, in my voice, just might be unique. So I wrote, traveled, spoke and shared in my own voice and it continues to be quite freeing. The opportunity to network with like-minded passionate plants people has opened up a whole new world for me. I look at the authors on my bookshelf and I realize that I am in GREAT company (including Dr.Dirr) as a garden communicator. I am even considering writing a book. Why? I have been inspired by this awesome community and feel I just might have something to say.
If you want to be YOU-nique in this wonderful word of horticulture, networking, and experience opportunities otherwise unheard of, GardenComm just might be what you are looking for. The sense of belonging, the camaraderie, the genuine support found in this garden of communicators is amazing. As with any organization, what you put into it can make the organization what you want it to be. I can proudly say…I am GARDENCOMM!
Meet the Author
A Native Washingtonian, garden communicator Teresa Speight has found a niche sharing the beauty of this earth via her blog https://www.cottageinthecourt.com, speaking engagements, Garden Experiences, and civic involvement. Former Sr. Gardener for the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Owner – Cottage In The Court Landscape Maintenance -specializing in Estate Gardens, Vice President/Communications Director of the Capitol Hill Garden Club as well as Region II Director for Gardencomm, finding and creating unique interpretations of all things beautiful is her passion.
2 thoughts on “Finding Community in Gardening”
Hi! I am wondering if you have any advice on how to prioritize or find time to be a garden communicator? I was going great writing my blog regularly, but now other things have gotten in the way.
Sarah – glad you replied to this post! I think if you asked every single member of GardenComm, and others who are not (yet) members, they would say that the biggest challenge is finding enough TIME. What I can tell you about my work is that if I want to “find time” I need to schedule it. I sometimes put 30 minutes of writing time at the start of my day, and at least a half hour of time once a week that is set aside as if it has the same weight and importance as all my other commitments. And once it’s on my calendar (in writing, not just in my thoughts) I then have for force myself not to go online and get sucked into email, Facebook, and Googling random stuff that captures my attention. So a combination of scheduling and strength to avoid distractions. Does this resonate at all with you?