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Gardening Secrets

Report From PIA – July 23

The first disagreement I ever had with a publisher was over a subtitle. They wanted to put something like “Gardening Secrets You Can Use,” on one of my books, and I strongly objected. The publisher’s point was the people buy books that promise secrets will be divulged, and my position was that there is no mysterious, confidential or heretofore undisclosed gardening information.

This came to mind today when I was on Twitter and noticed a great many tweets contained links that promised to reveal the secrets of love, fundraising, composting and stock trading, to name just a few.

It’s my opinion that there is a vast pool of information, and for each individual that collection can be divided into two groups. There’s information you know, and that which you haven’t yet learned. It’s just not as compelling for subtitles and tweets to promise the latter.

The distinction is important, I think, especially for garden communicators such as myself. If I regard what I know as being secret, it makes it seem exclusive, and much grander than it really is. There is danger in thinking that information is restricted, limited or private and the word “secret” implies all of these.

Writers and speakers should be selling books or booking dates because they write well, give engaging talks, make their audiences think or feel, and spread enthusiasm about their subject… not because they’re duping people into thinking that they have are privy to a restricted supply of knowledge.

Agreed?

My yellow epiphyllums are in full bloom, and here are the "secrets" to growing them: Buy one from Logees, or have someone give you a piece. Put it in a heavy clay pot and put that pot outside in couple of hours of morning sun and afternoon shade. Squirt it with a hose every day or two. Fertilize it once a year when you think of it. Bring the pot inside in the winter and do the best you can to give it some light. Have patience, and when it blooms take photos because the flowers only last for a day.

3 Responses to “Gardening Secrets”

  1. 1
    Scott Hokunson:

    Well said C.L.! I cannot stand the exclusionary nature implied in some posts. Sharing knowledge with others is what makes gardening so special!

  2. 2
    Carol:

    I wrote some posts this past winter on “Five Secrets to Achieving Happiness In Your Garden”. It was fun to write, and I think people had fun reading them as I revealed each secret one post at a time. It was meant to be a fun way to give out information that everyone inherently seems to know if they garden at all. Sort of like how some new packaging makes you look at a product on the shelf a second time.

  3. 3
    CL Fornari:

    New packaging – I like that, Carol!