Friday, February 4, 2011

Two Buffalo frontyard gardens in Great Backyards magazine

Part of the benefit of doing the marketing & PR for Garden Walk Buffalo is being able to add photos of my own house when story producers or editors ask for any garden stories that have good-quality, high-resolution photography. I don't choose what gets published, but I offer up many properties of which we have photos.

My front yard - from a five-year-old photo.
This current issue (2011 issue) of Great Backyards, Expert Solutions for all Landscapes has 50 garden getaways, two of which are gardens here in Buffalo, NY. One is mine.

The other published garden belongs to Ashland Avenue resident Lynn Widger (seen above). Like my article, Lynn's is a two-page spread with an interview and some "Behind the Scenes" info – like main plants used, zone info, specific challenges, solutions and favorite outcomes.

We start with a finite number of gardens that can even be chosen to be used for publicity's sake (the ones that have been photographed). From there, I choose gardens that fit the editorial needs of the publication. They narrow it down more to use only stories & photos that will appeal to, or be of interest to their readers.


Of the 350+ gardens on the Walk, there are around 25 that have multiple photos, of professional quality, in high resolution. Depending on what an editor is looking for, I send five to twelve gardens for consideration. And they narrow it down to two. There's also the desire to spread the "wealth" between the gardens of which we do have photos. We also try to be sensitive to gardens that have been published often. And for some magazines there may be an exclusivity agreement -- no one garden can go into competing magazines, if that's the agreed upon before hand.

I only mention this because I've been getting some heat from a couple Garden Walk gardeners that feel their garden should be in a magazine. If we have the quality photos in high resolution, that's just a start -- it's no guarantee of publication. Then it has to fit an editorial direction, then narrowed down by editors to the best images and compelling story. 

Don Zinteck is the photographer that has generously donated the use of his photos for publications promoting Garden Walk and its gardens. Though for his sake, we've mutually decided that is coming to an end. He's literally given away tens of thousands of dollars in usage fees to publications using his Garden Walk photos. We'll be managing that process better from now on, trying to make sure Don is adequately compensated when possible. Don's extremely civic-minded, but it's hard to make a living when you're giving what you sell away for free. I limit my pro bono work too.

I guess I'm hoping more gardeners will provide us with photos of their gardens so we can pitch them to publications. Or, better yet, hire Don t take photos of their gardens that we can use to pitch to magazines. That way everyone wins!

Great Backyards magazine is on store shelves now, sold wherever you find a good selection of magazines (grocery stores, shelter stores  as well as bookstores). It's published by Harris Publications and edited by Barbara Ballinger. Barbara's planning on coming up for Garden Walk this year. Hopefully she can scout some gardens!

2 comments:

  1. Buffalo gardeners defy conventional wisdom.
    Most front yard gardens, with as much flowers packed into them as Buffalo gardens have, usually look messy and crowded. Buffalonian gardens are attractive. I wonder what their secret might be.

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  2. Allan,
    I think you've already found their secret - defying conventional wisdom. With nary a professional landscaper or gardener on our tour of 350+ gardens, there aren't any hard and fast rules anyone follows. They might if they knew them, but most gardeners plant what they like where they like, only satisfying themselves -- not consulting master gardeners, nurserymen, gardening books, magazines, plant labels or even the plants.

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