Garden Writer, Broadcaster, Media Work

These are the communication jobs in this industry. Maintaining relationships with advertisers, employers and patrons is critical to the continuation and success of this role and doing this takes time.
Some people who are already established entertainers or work in media, for example journalists, decide to take on garden communication. Often media personalities who work in presenting gardening material are known more by name and for their writing, than for broadcasting. Magazine and newspaper articles, as well as blogs and books are constantly being produced by an army of garden writers and photographers. These people, like the broadcasters, need to maintain relationships with colleagues and stake-holders, and remain up to date with the latest ideas and products in the industry.
A garden writer will spend a lot of time alone, behind a computer, but will also need to spend time meeting and talking with people, sometimes face to face, sometimes through emails, social media or on the phone. They need to be both reclusive (when writing), and sociable (when interacting with others). The same applies to illustrators, who write or draw to produce horticultural illustrations, and also garden photographers. They need to visit horticultural sites to take photos or do drawings and interact with other people, but a significant amount of their time may still be spent alone (behind a desk), cataloging images, perhaps processing them through programs like Adobe Photoshop or In Design as well as dealing with clients and agents to sell their work.

Where Do They Work?

Many garden writers and broadcasters are largely self-employed. They may work under contract to a publisher, TV station, radio station or some other media body but contracts typically do not last forever and generally only offer casual or part time employment, for a limited time and can stop instantly for some change in fashion or fickleness of media groups. Beyond the contract, the rest of their work may be freelance work. This might involve writing occasional articles, making guest appearances, or being the figure that launches a program or product. Larger broadcasters and publishers may employ horticulturists on staff in a full time capacity, perhaps as a writer/editor or a publication or show.

What is Needed?

There are three things you need:  good communication skills, a broad and up to date knowledge of horticulture, and finally strong networking skills.



Most garden writers and broadcasters don’t come to that position intentionally, only a few do. People who communicate well and have an interesting story to tell, will tend to get noticed and often get asked to write something for a publication, or make a guest appearance on a show. When the written article or guest appearance is successful, they will be in a prime position to be asked to do “more of the same”.  It is rare that jobs like 'garden writer' or 'TV presenter' get advertised. It is far more common for people to be offered work at first and once they have established a reputation, to get ongoing work by networking and negotiating opportunities with colleagues involved in horticultural media.



Comments from others in the Horticultural Media


Timothy Walker:

"Gone are the days when people were able to become gardeners and to spend their days avoiding human contact.  Successful gardeners in the 21st century are expected to be able to communicate with visitors or all ages, clients and costumers.  While some of this happens through the magic of broadcasting and the Internet (see Broadcasters, bloggers, and Internet work) there is still an insatiable demand in many countries for people to speak about plants and gardening and to write about their skill and to share their ideas and knowledge in books and magazines.

A good speaker & writer must first and foremost be a skillful and knowledgeable gardener.  However, a knowledgeable gardener can easily also be an engaging and educational speaker with the correct training and guidance.  Nurseries often run workshops on topics such as propagation or they send staff to talk to local clubs and societies to talk about and promote new plants and services.

For some people the idea of talking to a small crowd of strangers fills them with abject horror.  This seems to be very common in horticulture, perhaps because plants never talk back!  However, the ability to deliver an informative, educational, and entertaining talk, or to write an informative, educational, and entertaining article will add greatly to the employment prospects and earning power of a horticulturalist".



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