I love hanging out with other garden writers, and have done quite a bit of that this year – at several local and regional events and especially, the Garden Blogger Fling in Minneapolis and the Garden Writers conference in Atlanta. I caught up with old friends, made new ones, and had fun. But did I learn anything useful? Pick up any tips? Three take-aways come to mind.

Portable iphone charger with cat

On a tour-bus in Minneapolis I noticed several bloggers using a portable iPhone charger that’s surprisingly small, lightweight, and cheap – just 13 bucks. I bought one and now use it all the time. To illustrate how small it is for this post I asked one of my cats to pose with it – because we just don’t have enough cat pics here on the Rant.

In Atlanta I attended a talk by Seth Reed and Mason Day about social media in which we were told that the best way to reach gardeners these days is with Pinterest. My first reaction was along the lines of “Oh crap!” at the thought of doing yet another social media platform.


But then I calmed down, looked into it and discovered that videos can be easily pinned. So I created an account, started some boards, and pinned almost 200 of the videos featured on Good Gardening Videos. So easy! Check it out.

My third take-away may not be so simple to implement because I’m no graphic artist. But Kids Gardening.org has a terrific one in 23-year-old Andrea Warren, who designed both sides of this business card for Maree Gaetani, my seat-mate during an afternoon of garden touring in the Atlanta suburbs.

Most business cards I’m handed go directly into my purse, sometimes to never be seen again, but this one impressed the hell out of me for the amount of information packed into such a compelling design. So now I’m determined to have my assorted projects consolidated into one business card that does all that, or at least try.

By the way, how cool is the job title “Director of Mission and Garden Relations”?

Maree Gaetani, Susan Harris and David Ellis at River Farm

And speak of the devil, Maree was in D.C. this week for a meeting and had a whole afternoon to kill! So we met up and here we are on the turfgrass chair at River Farm, headquarters of the American Horticultural Society.  Magazine editor David Ellis, seen here peeking out of the children’s playhouse, gave us the grand tour.

Our next stop was the stunning National Arboretum (here’s what it looks like in October), and our visit ended with a tour of my garden and dinner at the New Deal Cafe.

Clearly, the best take-away from garden writer meet-ups is making connections with cool people.