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    The beauty of social media! Looks like you had a blast at GWA. Thanks for sharing here.

    I did have a blast! Probably similar to your experience at the Spring Fling in Chicago last year. Only wish I had the time and money to go to everything.


    Sounds like a really fun time. The garden tours sound and look like they were great. I still don't get tweeting :) Guess I'm behind the times.

    You're not behind the times - lots of folks don't see any value in tweeting. It's really very similar to blogging (the people I follow and communicate are all involved in gardening in some way) but I like it because it allows me to drop in and communicate in short bursts, which is perfect for someone like me who spends a lot of the work day alone at the computer. I'm way more intimidated by bloggers like you who share such in-depth posts on a regular basis. I could never manage that!

    Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence

    Hey Susan, If I didn't know your were shy of hugs through your tweets, I would have never sure seemed like a natural born hugger!

    I have been to 2 other GWA conferences, in addition to Raleigh, and this was the best - by far. Twitter made that way. What an icebreaker. In the past, it was hard to connect. I knew some people, but it was mainly by reputation, not daily (or weekly) convo like Twitter offers. Or worse, it was through local association...I can see them anytime...I wanted to meet like minded folks from all over. It has changed my world in so many ways.

    Twitter is how I got to be your friend. If we both arrived to a meeting of 600+ people, how would we have found each other in the middle of all that...and then what would have kept to convo going.

    Dallas is a no brainer. I will be there to see you again, I hope, and that whole bunch of Texan who blog and tweet. Power to the Texans, Go Dallas! H,

    I agree completely! In fact, I wouldn't have even gone if you hadn't organized the tweet-up (guess you're stuck with the tradition now!)

    Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence

    P.S. I mighta gotten a little gushy there...I'm celebrating my new Mac with a nice Cab...H.

    Sounds like a perfect evening to me!

    Theresa Loe/GardenFreshLiving

    Excellent post Susan. I agree with Helen, you seemed like a natural born hugger to me! You never flinched once!

    I have been to several GWA conferences and this was by far the best for me too. Twitter made more connections for me than all the years before. It was brilliant of Helen and Elizabeth to make the tweetup at the beginning of the conference. What wonderful connections!! I had BFF on every bus ride and in every session. What fun we had!

    It will be fun to see each other again in Dallas. See you all there!

    Considering I'd never been to a conference before and am a garden writer only in the loosest sense of the word, I can't believe the way I felt a part of things right from the beginning. In fact, there were so many people I wanted to spend time with, the biggest disappointment was that I didn't get to spend as much time with everyone as I would have liked. I'm so happy Helen set this up for us!

    Town Mouse

    Hey, makes me wish I were a garden writer. Well, I mean, enough of a garden writer to merit a tax-deductible trip to a conference...

    Great photos! Too bad about the swag; surprising, too....

    TM, you're as much a garden writer as I am, so if you can swing it, I say go for it!

    Regarding the plants, I think the swag has a bit of a regional flavor to it. Had the conference been based in the west, I imagine I would have seen more relevant products. On the other hand, I think the emphasis on chemical companies is always there, which shows the dilemma garden organizations that rely on sponsorship have, as the chemical companies are the ones with the money and the willingness to participate.


    Sounds like a great gathering with lots of great ideas flying around--Conferences and meetings are the original social media! I'm not surprised it took you a month to decompress and figure out what was really important to you. Montrose looks cool, sort of like what Californians were trying to create when the dream of endless water supplies was still alive in our heads...

    No question touring gardens in moist, humid Raleigh gave me a keen case of water envy! Of course, we do grow some of the same plants, and one thing I found interesting was the subtle differences in appearances, I think primarily due to the humidity. It was no surprise to see Japanese Maples with unburned leaves, but I was surprised at how much glossier the leaves were on the Magnolia trees and similar plants.


    Ah, this is the post that had it all! and all that hugging.

    I had a good look 'round Rob Cardillos photography. I'm now motivated to progress beyond page three of the camera manual, possibly to page 4 and beyond, though it's less of a manual, more of a maze.

    Please send me a copy of Garden Design each month, thanks!

    I really enjoyed reading all this. It seems that GWA got it all covered.

    Have a good weekend

    After you slog through page 4, can you email me your tips? Have to be honest, I don't even understand my camera's manual. Improving my photography skills seems to be permanently on my to-do list.

    A few weeks ago, one of my long time clients who is an amateur photographer was so disgusted with my photography skills, she offered to photograph some of my gardens in exchange for free design time. I'll have to post some of her photos.

    Kathy J, Washington Gardener Mag

    I missed Rob's session, but am now regretting it! Thanks for putting this wrap-up post together - mine is also long overdue and may never come at this rate ;-)

    Hi Kathy - Whenever I go somewhere with concurrent breakouts, it always seems like all the ones I want to see are at the same time, and all the ones I don't want to see are at the same time. Rob's was definitely one of the best sessions there. I thought about getting a copy of the session as I'm already getting fuzzy on what I learned, but I wonder how effective it would be without the photos to go with it


    I wish Garden Design would get a bit more funky. it's really boring lately, with all the straight-line high end furniture picture perfect gardens. Yawn.

    Must admit I'm only an occasional reader myself - precisely for the reason you just gave. But he really is a wonderful photographer - I'd love to have him shoot one of my designs.

    Doug Green

    Hey - it was great to meet you in NC and we did have a great time. Not only are you a great hugger - you are a great sympathizer when I had to sit and elevate my ankle all night. Never saw myself as a "garden media guru" LOL - rather a plantsguy who got stranded on the Net. Good times and thanks for making my conference a good one.

    Uh oh, are you saying we had such a lengthy conversation because your bum ankle kept you from leaving? It was great meeting you in person and hearing your thoughts on the future of garden media. No question, the times they are a changin'.


    Thanks for the recap and the photos! I was stranded in California during the conference so stayed glued to Twitter #GWA for the live reports.

    Is organic swag an oxymoron? Forty pound bags of aged steer manure? Or five-pounders in cute totes?

    You know, you're making a good point. I'm not sure WHAT kind of swag I would have wanted. But must admit I like the idea of anything that comes in a cute tote!


    That sounds like great fun, Susan. The photo tips from Rob would have been sweet.
    RE Garden Design magazine - I get the old copies from my dad's reception area or I wouldn't pay to subscribe. They do have nice photography, but the magazines's attitude is kind of hoity-toity. I understood the magazine better when I realized it was directed to rich people who are looking for trendy, uber-expensive garden ornaments and a glamourous landscape architect for their mansion or penthouse roof garden. No wonder it didn't seem very helpful for my life . . . though the eye candy is fun.

    I don't think you're alone in your point of view. I do purchase this magazine occasionally but stopped keeping back issues as the gardens featured all tend to look the same after a while. Having said that, I would of course be thrilled to have one of my gardens featured in their magazine!

    Alice Joyce

    Thanks, Susan,
    for the virtual diary of hobnobbing & garden touring for those of us who were otherwise occupied (yearly sojourn to Chicago!).
    I'm awaiting my copy of American Meadow Garden, after reviewing it for a library journal. Aren't we lucky campers to get our hands on it! Alice

    I was so excited to get an advance copy! I'm not a professional reviewer like you, so an opportunity like this is rare. I took it to my APLD district meeting last week and some of the designers went nuts paging through it and admiring the photos.

    rebecca sweet

    What a great post - I SO regret not being able to go, but really appreciate all of the detailed information you've a small way, I feel like I was there (very small way...sigh...)

    Rebecca, you would have had such a good time - with so many tweeters there I felt instantly at home. And contrary to all the FaceBook photos, which give the impression attendees spent the entire symposium in the hotel bar, we DID spend attend seminars and garden tours as well!

    the inadvertent farmer

    Love garden tours! Our daughter was born in Raleigh, what a beautiful area! Thanks for sharing, I haven't been on a tour in years! Kim

    The gardens were so beautiful, even a non-photographer like myself could get great photos. I can't imagine the pictures someone with your photography chops could manage!


    SO jealous. I'm with Rebecca, thanks to your's and everyone else's great coverage I feel like I didn't miss - oh hell, who am I trying to kid? I missed it all. I am desolated. Maybe next year!!


    I'm still mad I didn't get to go and meet all my twitter friends. I'm crossing my fingers for Dallas!
    About Garden Design - I used to write for it in the late 90's, and I have to say, it was a great read back then. The secret was Senior Editor Sarah Gray Miller, who now works as Editor-In-Chief for Country Living. She was the power and energy behind the magazine back then- and i have ALL the back issues. They really DID used to be way cool. Now it's just ... snooze!
    It's up to bloggers to be the new cool garden magazines ... does that even make sense?

    Thanks for the GWA recap, Susan! I wish I could have hugged you!

    Seasonal Wisdom

    I very much enjoyed your GWA recap, Susan. It was such a pleasure meeting you and the other participants. Especially enjoyed our chat on the way back from Duke University. The first of many, I hope.

    The Tweetup really was the ideal way to start off the conference, especially for this first-timer. Thanks again to Helen Yoest, Elizabeth Licata and Proven Winners for organizing such a fun way to break the ice.
    Cheers! Teresa

    I loved meeting you in person too! Wasn't the tweet-up great? Kicking things off with such a great even made me feel at home for the rest of the conference.

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