Sharing Gold Medal Garden Inspiration With My Fellow 2021 GardenComm Award Winners

GardenComm recently announced their 2021 Award Winners. I was so incredibly touched to be named a Gold Winner in the Speaking category that I wanted to say a few words about how much I’ve appreciated being a part of the GardenComm Community and a few thank yous to the people who have supported me, that have made this honor possible.

I also wanted to share some of my favorite content generated by other GardenComm speakers and writers. Following my video you can read on and learn more about the wonderful work being done by other gardening professionals and acknowledged by the GardenComm organization.

Come celebrate with me…

Enough about me. Now, let’s shift the spotlight on a few of the other Gold Media Award Winners that I so admire and value the meaningful work they do…

A Blog to Help You Create a Garden Space
No Matter Where You Live

Home Garden Homestead Logo

2021 GardenComm Gold Winner for Digital Media: Blog (Overall Site)
HONOREE: Randy Schultz, Home Garden and Homestead

Meet Randy

Randy Schultz has been a mover and shaker in Garden Comm since 1999.  Randy believes that “Most American homes are a mix of the modern and traditional, where a family can enjoy high-speed web access and also enjoy organic vegetables harvested from their own garden.”  Through his award-winning blog, Randy is passionate about spreading the word about what’s new and trending for homes, gardens, and homesteads

Randy Schultz, Home Garden and Homestead Author

Under Randy’s guidance, has become an award-winning source for inspiration about turning any home into a retreat and creating a garden space no matter where you live. “Even if you live in an apartment, you can always grow plants in pots and containers,” he says.

An avid gardener, Randy is a Lifetime Member of the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners. (He lived in New Mexico for 30 years.) He is a frequent radio show and podcast guest on a wide variety of home and garden topics. Randy now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is known to get his hands dirty in the garden whenever weather permits.For daily home and garden tips and ideas, “Like” the HGandH Facebook Page and follow Home, Garden and Homestead on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

[FUN FACT] I’m excited to start working with Randy, as a free-lance writer and will be contributing articles for his award-winning website.

Mary-Kate Mackey’s Hartley Botanic: A Blog on All Things Garden From Organic Seeds to Growing Tea in Your Greenhouse

The ROOTING FOR YOU Blog featured on …

Hatley Botanic Logo

2021 GardenComm Gold Winner for Writing: Blog
HONOREE: Mary-Kate Mackey, Rooting for You: May, June, and August Blog Posts,

Mary-Kate Mackey Author of Rooting For You Blog

Meet Mary-Kate

Mary-Kate Mackey’s ‘Rooting For You’ Blog, on the Hartley Botanic website is just plum- full of great posts for the everyday gardener. Here are some of her most recent articles that are as inspirational as they are both knowledge-based and inspirational:

To know Mary-Kate Mackey is both an honor and a delight. Her bright smile and generous desire to help writers write well is an inspiration to all of us. Mary-Kate has been a member of GardenComm since 2002.

As a writer, after 14 years of teaching at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communications, Mary-Kate turned her learned-in-the-trenches writing know-how into Write Better Right Now – -a fabulous and informative writing book for people who hate to write. I highly recommend it. 

In October, look for the release of her new book The Healthy Garden–Simple Steps for Growing a Greener World, co-authored with Kathleen Brenzel, published by Abrams. (I’m featured in it!)

You can connect directly with Mary Kate at:

Identifying Herbaceous Perennial Plants:
A Leading Resource in the Field of Horticulture

Dr Allan Armitage Hat Logo

2021 GardenComm Gold Winner for Writing: Book (Technical/Reference)
HONOREE: Dr. Allan M Armitage, Herbaceous Perennial Plants; A Treatise on their Identification, Culture and Garden ‎Attributes, Fourth Edition

Herbaceous Perennial Plants; A Treatise on their Identification, Culture and Garden ‎Attributes author Dr. Allan M. Armitage

Meet Allan

If you’ve never heard about Allan Armitage, I am so pleased to introduce you to him because he is legendary, a real rockstar in the garden industry. Dr. Armitage’s book is more than just everything you would want to know about perennials — he also includes details about a plant’s garden worthiness and discusses the challenges of invasive plants. Here are some of the highlights of how Dr. A has served the gardening community for the last 3 decades: 

Dr. Allan Armitage is a well known writer, speaker, and horticulturist. He has worked with landscape plants and greenhouse crops in the North and South, and travels the world speaking and sharing his passion for plants. 

Allan has written 17 books, countless academic papers and hundreds of articles for both professional and weekend gardeners alike; including a monthly column in the national greenhouse publication, Greenhouse Grower, for over 30 years. To view informative, and instructional short videos filmed in his personal garden, visit his YouTube Channel.

You can also visit Allan’s website at:
Allan has graciously offered my readers free shipping until September 18th. At checkout, use the promo code:  Toni

Get Your Copy of Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes

Get Your Copy of Armitage’s Garden Perennials

COVID-19, Vegetable Gardens, and Urban Chickens

In the Details

2021 GardenComm Gold Winner for Writing: Newspaper Article (Circulation > 20K)
HONOREE: Erica Browne Grivas, Coronavirus Pandemic Triggers a Wave of Self-Sufficiency in Seattle Area

Meet Erica

Erica Brown Grivas shines a light on how to be informed and enriched by gardening,  especially in the time of COVID. Erica brings so much to the field of gardening and is an absolute delight. As the brand new Regional Director, I’m so looking forward to working with her in her role as the National Director for GardenComm and excited to learn from her many varied experiences.

Coronavirus Pandemic Triggers a Wave of Self-Sufficiency in Seattle Area author Erica Browne Grivas

A journalist and gardener, Erica Grivas loves finding everyday beauty and exploring the interplay between humans and nature. She writes lifestyle features for The Seattle Times and since 2020, a garden column for several Washington area papers. In addition to the Gold medal she just won, GardenComm awarded her two Silver medals for those writings. 

With a certificate from The New York Botanical Gardens in landscape design, her work has been published in magazines nationwide, including Real Simple, Connecticut Home and Gardens, and Flower Gardens. Her pollinator-friendly Seattle garden pushes zone boundaries to grow rare plants from around the world.  

Follow Erica on her Instagram and click here to subscribe to her Blog.

If Flowers Are Your Thing, Check Out The Slow Flowers Journal

Slow Flowers Journal

2021 GardenComm Gold Winner for Trade: Special Project
HONOREE: Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One

Slow Flowers Journal writer Debra Prinzing

Meet Debra

Debra Prinzing has done for the Slow Flowers Movement what the Slow Food movement has done in the culinary world. 

Her inspirational work connects homeowners with the floral industry and helps us rethink where our flowers come from and how we can lower our transportation footprint by supporting our local farmers. 

Get Your Copy of Slow Flowers

Debra Prinzing describes her purpose as “inspiring the floral industry and its consumers to embrace local, seasonal, and sustainable flowers,” and she does just that with her website She is also the producer of, the online directory to American grown farms, florists, shops and studios who supply domestic and local flowers.

Each Wednesday, approximately 2,500 listeners tune into Debra’s “Slow Flowers Podcast,” available for free downloads at her website,, or on iTunes, and via other podcast services.

In addition to authoring 12 books, including Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet, Debra is also a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for domestic, local and seasonal flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, Debra has convened a national conversation that stimulates consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases.

On A Mission to Put Horticulture Back Into the Popular Culture Logo

2021 GardenComm Gold Winner for Writing: Trade > Trade Column
HONOREE: C.L. Fornari, Retail Revival

Meet C.L.

C.L. Fornari is a powerhouse of a contributor and as long-time leader at GardenComm, she is dedicated to helping create a rewarding community and sustainable organization for its members.

Several times a year, she also offers information-rich webinars designed to help gardening professionals get to and stay at the top of their game– whether it’s about growing gardens or growing a business.

At the heart of C.L. ‘s work  is her “not-so-secret mission to put horticulture back into the popular culture”. And as a bonus, she also happens to have a love for the color purple too!

C.L. Fornari with hydrangeas

In 2015, C.L. started the annual Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival: ten days of open gardens, lectures and garden-theme events. She and the festival were featured on CBS Sunday Morning with Mo Rocca in August 2021. C.L. grows vegetables, flowers, shrubs, trees and numerous other plants at Poison Ivy Acres on Cape Cod. 

She is also the author of eight books, including Coffee for Roses and The Cocktail Hour Garden. She speaks to groups virtually and in person nationwide, is the host of GardenLine on WXTK, and co-host of the Plantrama podcast. C.L. has worked for a family-owned, independent garden center for 25 years and writes a monthly column, Retail Revival, which garnered the Gold award, for Garden Center Magazine. 

To connect with C.L. and follow her blog and podcasts, check out:

Get Your Copy of The Cocktail Hour Garden: Creating Evening Landscapes for Relaxation and Entertaining

Get Your Copy of Coffee for Roses: …and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening

Well that’s a wrap on a few of the 2021 GardenComm Gold Award Winners. You can see a complete listing, plus all the Silver medal winners at and congratulations to everyone who generated an entry for GardenComm in 2021!  The community is the rich resource that it is because of all the contributors and members.

If you would like more information about joining GardenComm, please email me at


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