The Unofficial GWA Meet-up Awards



The official awards, handed out on the last night of the Garden Writers Symposium in Portland, proved quite the crowd-pleasers and honored lots of good work over the past year in both writing and photography.  But how about outstanding performances AT the conference itself?  Time for the (Unofficial) GWA Meet-up Awards:

  • Best Swag.  Lots of good stuff in this category, including a Tete-a-Tete t-shirt, lots of CDs of, we can only assume, terrific photographs of plants, and the colorful boas that got us all vamping and swigging and ready to party.  But what got the most buzz and childlike excitement were the Fiskars tools with our names individually engraved.  See, they’re super-useful, worth a few bucks, and personalized.  Great appeal to the gardener AND the ego in us all.
  • Weirdest Swag.  We expect brochures and photo CDs, but custom-printed microwave popcorn bags and Frisbees?  No lie. Bb
  • Most Lovable Vendors.  You don’t even have to be an old family friend of the Heaths (Nags Head, NC,
    circa 1965) to be a fan of Brent & Becky’ and their bulbs.  But the inspiration for this award was seeing them strolling around a rose garden in Portland all by themselves for a few precious moments – hand in hand.  All together now – awwwww. 

Please chime in with your own nominees in these categories or even better, more categories and winners.  Tell us in a comment or via a link to your own blog post about the Unofficial GWA Awards.  How about Most Fun (or Outrageous) Attendee? Plenty of competition there.


  1. I’m enjoying Amy’s ‘Flower Confidential’. And, those pruners from Corona seem to be positively deadly. Kevin’s taking the beer condoms on a fishing trip to French River – go figure?

  2. I posted my list as well –
    “The Shortest LIved Award” – Sluggo
    “The Most Useful Conference Tool Award” Prides Corners
    “The Coolest Promotion Award” Fiskars
    “The Longest Lived Award” AARS
    “Products I regret Award” Iseli Nursery

  3. I’m still recovering and loading up my photos from Portland – when I get my act together I’ll post a summary at
    Meanwhile, for best swag to garden writers – I got to say the memory stick from AARS was a terrific idea – small, full of needed info, and re-useable. Love it!
    BTW those Corona Clippers are terrific but I’m sure not the only one who got her checked luggage searched by TSA as a result. Or maybe it was that baggy full of “Alaskan Hummus” courtesy of Jeff L’s talk.

  4. Kathy said it for me – I’m still recovering. It was my first conference and I was overwhelmed. I’ve only begun to process it all. The sheer number of people was astounding – 640 attendees, only the 2nd biggest conference ever (yeah, Portland!). The downside is that I missed getting to meet many I’d hoped to meet. Next time!

    Doug – lol about shortest lived award. It was a clever marketing ploy and one my hubby appreciated. When I announced that I’d brought him something from the conference, he wasn’t too thrilled until he saw what was inside the box.

  5. Most useful swag? The American Beauties T-shirt beer cozy. But it’s going to get turned into a sleeveless model so I don’t knock the bottle over so easily. I was too busy talking to people to get some of the stuff others have mentioned. Or maybe it was my need for two beer cozies.

    My wife has absconded with my GWA bags every year since 2005.

  6. My personal favorite, without being suck-uppy, is the signing Amy and Scott Calhoun did in the Storey booth. Complete with jalapeno g&t’s. Best signing, best buzz.

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