Sunday, July 28, 2019

July was Amazing: Honors for My Garden and an Incredible Award for my Writing

This month in the garden surpassed all others. First, a photoshoot for a national magazine; then filming for a television show. But that's not all: GardenComm awarded me their silver medal of achievement for my 'Gardening in the Poconos' newspaper articles.  I am humbled and honored by these events -- I was actually speechless for a while, a rare occurrence (as those who know me will tell you.)

Country Gardens Magazine -- a Better Homes and Gardens quarterly publication -- sent renowned photographer, Rob Cardillo, to take pictures for their Summer 2020 edition. Rob was accompanied by stylist, Samantha Thorpe, who helped him set up for each shot. Samantha and I had been in touch for some weeks discussing suitable props for the photographs. She arranged for my local garden center, Chestnuthill Nursery, to supply large pots of plants. (You can see them each side of the Kitchen Garden arbor in the picture above. I was sorry to see the pots go after the shoot!) The owner of Chestnuthill Nursery, Jim Scocozza, has a TV program called Pocono Landscape Challenge. He asked if they could film me and my garden for an episode. They filmed Rob and Sam first, then returned with the film crew a few days later.

I was fascinated to watch Rob and Samantha at work. I'll never look at a garden magazine in the same way again; so much effort goes into each shot. They were particularly interested in my potting shed; they said it has potential for the magazine's cover. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

I found that lovely cushion for the rocking chair in a hospital gift shop. Perfect!
The celosia in the shed window box looks striking against the corn in our field beyond
The Kitchen Garden strutted its stuff for the photoshoot

Samantha used flowers from my garden in the sitting areas. She supplied simple, white country-looking vases. I was sorry to see them go too. I think all the other props they used were mine.

Top: the cutting garden is on the right of the picket fence and Abundance Garden on the left. Bottom: Abundance with one of grandson Jon's miniatures in the old bathtub that was his Pappy's when he was a baby.

I liked some of the changes that Samantha made and have kept them in place. For example, she moved the birdcage with the curly ivy into the herbaceous border.

The cottage garden peaked for the photo shoot.
I placed a bistro set as a 'destination' at the end of the hollyhock walk
The hollyhocks are not good this year with lots of rust. But an essential plant for cottage garden style. I like this black one.
My favorite seat by the pond
Samatha found an abandoned bird bath behind the barn and placed annuals in it. I love it.
The Serenity Garden. There are major problems here with the catalpa tree -- I'll elaborate next posting.
Leading up to the front door, the white SunPatiens® impatiens (chosen by Jon) work well. Victor painted the shutters black.
Thank you dear friend, Janet, for gifting me the flat basket, for all the trips to the nursery to choose plants, and for weeding!
Some of my favorite flowers this month

I am happy to say that the gardens looked their best for the photoshoot and for the filming. The amount of work to achieve near-perfection was enormous. I found it challenging, especially as I am facing some health issues. My husband, Duane was so supportive -- he spent many hours working with me although he's not a gardener. My sister-in-law helped, too. Then as the big day approached and panic set in, gardeners from the local Women's Club arrived to give the gardens a final grooming: they weeded, deadheaded, and touched up the mulch. I would not have been ready without them. A big thank you to Pat Mackes for organizing this errand of mercy. It takes a village ....

My dear friends from the Women's Club (I'm the one with the big grin under the blue hat)

I was glad that Rob included my pets in the photo-shoot; they are an important part of my garden story. We went into the pasture for portraits with them.

Rob Cardillo taking pics in the pasture. Photograph Samantha Thorpe.

Charm, the miniature horse, and Doodles, the dwarf, Nigerian pigmy goat. (You can see Billy Goat in the previous picture near Rob's knee.) Photographs Samantha Thorpe

Rob (center) with the film crew from Pocono Landscape Challenge (left), and Samantha, Duane, and me (right). Photograph: George Roberts

This posting is far too long. I've tried to condense it by making collages, and I left out a lot of pictures that I would like to show you.  I can't end, however, without explaining a little about the enormous honor of receiving a silver medal from Garden Communicators International (GardenComm): 

GardenComm is a highly respected organization for book authors, bloggers, photographers, speakers, newspaper columnists, and all types of communicators in the green industry. I've been a member for several years. Annually, they recognize individuals and companies who have displayed the highest level of talent in their area. I am overwhelmed and humbled by receiving this honor for my newspaper articles and thank Dee Nash, Carol Michel, and the awards committee. I am in my fifth year writing a monthly garden column for our local newspaper, The Pocono Record. I write on all aspects of gardening in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Click HERE for an example.  I will be going to Salt Lake City, Utah, to receive my award at GardenComm's Annual Conference in September.

I love garden writing as much as gardening, so this achievement makes me very, very happy. This year, July in my garden was awesome.

I'm linking with Sarah at Down by the Sea. She has hollyhocks to die for! 
Wishing you a wonderful August,
Pamela x


I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! 
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. What a fabulous month you've had, and so well deserved, you put such a lot of effort into your garden, it's only right that it should be recognised with these honours. I know how panic can set in when you're working to a deadline so how lovely that the Womens Club should come and help you out. Now time to sit back, enjoy the magazine, television show and award ceremony.

  2. Wow this is amazing Pam but I am not surprised that a national magazine would want to shoot your is gorgeous. What a fabulous experience and honor. And as for the Silver Medal I am so glad you were given this award. So richly deserved. I hope the health issues are not too serious and that you will be back in the pink. Enjoy the conference and the award ceremony. Wish I could be there in the cheering section!! Safe travels to Utah.

  3. I love your garden pictures. You really have a heavenly green thumb.

  4. Pam, that's just so awesome! I've always enjoyed your gardens, so I'm happy for this much deserved attention. Joanna

  5. Wow, congrats to you!! Beautiful gardens.

  6. Wow, that really is a month to remember and celebrate! And all the honors are richly deserved I'm sure. Congratulations!

  7. I am so happy for you! I've read your blog forever, and no one deserves these honors more. See you in Salt Lake City!~~Dee

  8. Wow Pamela congratulations on everything! What a month for you, it must have been such hard work, I glad your had friendsa nd family to help.Your garden looks even more amazing and I am delighted that you have been able to share it 'Through the Garden Gate'. It was very interesting reading about the photo shoot, I suppose it must be normal practice to borrow pots and other props. Your potting shed looks fantastic - I need to make mine look more attractive I might keep it tidier then! I hope you will cover your trip to Utah in September to pick up your award. Well done hope you have a more restful August. Sarah x

  9. Oh. My. Goodness. Congratulations, Pam!! What a month - one celebration worthy event after another. And might I say, VERY well deserved...your garden is an inspiration to us all. I'm glad that you detailed the amount of work needed to get a garden ready for "viewing" - it's a good reality check for those of us with less than perfect gardens.

    I'm SO happy that you will be going to Salt Lake City and really looking forward to chatting with you in person...and, of course, cheering you on when you receive your award :)

  10. What an exciting time you’ve had. Your garden looks glorious and I’m glad all went well. B x

  11. Your Potting Shed is a little corner of heaven, (functional and) inviting!
    Congratulations on all the respect your garden and writing have garnered.

  12. Wow, Pam -- that is *so* cool -- Many Congratulations to you for all your hard work! I've subscribed to Country Gardens for a decade now, and have always dreamed of having my garden included in it (especially since it's an Iowa magazine). Some day perhaps.... Your "inside scoop" on how the process works is truly inspiring (as are your wonderful friends who worked so hard to help prepare your garden for the big day -- friends indeed).

    And I'm so happy to read about your writing award too. It's obvious to all of us who have been reading your blog that you deserve this accolade! I hope your health problems will resolve well, and soon. Be sure to take especially good care of yourself, and rest up after all the excitement.

    Best Regards, -Beth

  13. I am so excited for you! Congratulations on a fabulous month of being recognized for your gardens. Your garden brings so much joy and is an inspiration to all who visit and you are so deserving of this honor. Again...Congratulations!!!

  14. Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments. It's truly been a wonderful month. I am grateful for all your support.