DCGardens.com and a Call for Photos and Videos


Thanks, Rant commenters, for your great suggestions for improving videos of gardens, like the videos I showed you last week of the National Arboretum in April.  I heard you that the photos were whizzing by too fast, and that most of you prefer the techno music over Vivaldi.  Pixelation and other technical points were mentioned, and then came a volunteer garden-video coach who lives near me!  She created this charming video of a garden tour in my town.  And a blogging pal across the country is joining in the public-garden-video craze (I can hope!).


Photos and Videos Sought

It’s time to tell you where the Arboretum in April videos are going – to DC Gardens, an all-volunteer grassroots campaign to promote DC’s gardens that are open to the public and gardening itself.  To promote the gardens we’re collecting photos of them by month, and videos of the gardens by month, too – starting with images and Youtube videos for the Arboretum for the rest of the calendar year, which images we’ll spread far and wide, plus news about what’s going on there, and mentioning as frequently as possible the sad situation of it still being closed mid-week.  (Thanks, Congress!)

Potential photo contributors include fans, volunteers, staffers, and garden writers and photographers who might be passing through. (Here’s Evelyn Hadden’s favorites from her April 2013 visit. The photos will soon be compiled in a slider, but I’m still figuring out how to do that – using WowSlider or similar.)

We’re also approaching the photography community in D.C., asking to have their next Foto Week DC contest focused on public gardens.  Three times in the contest’s short history it’s focused on cherry blossoms, fer crissakes, with nary a lens being pointed toward the gardens.


The garden videos can also be found on the DC Gardens by Month Youtube Channel.

Garden Video Support Group

Some might contribute their photos and also make a Youtube-able video of them photos (always for a specific month).  Others might contribute photos only, in which case we’re hoping to find other contributors to make videos of those donated photos.  Making photo videos is free, relatively easy and pretty much fun, though to lead people through the few technical hurdles there are, we’ll post lots of how-to and support info, hoping to turn people into garden videographers.

Promoting Gardening

In addition to photos and videos of the gardens, we’re compiling basic gardening-info “Resources” like lists of DC-area school gardens, community gardens, garden clubs, garden media (including all local blogs), places that teach gardening, where to buy plants, and so on as the ideas come.

Promoting Gardens AND Gardening

Not just static web resources, there will also be monthly e-newsletters to the world (gardening AND general interest) about garden-related events, classes, workshops, etc., plus links to images and videos showing what the local open-to-the-public gardens look like the next month.  Keeping the calendars updated and those e-newsletters going out is the least-fun part of the project, one we hope to be able to hire someone part-time to do, or farm it out to a service.  So, funders will be sought (also, for a professionally design for the site, and a great logo)..


The notion of this campaign bubbled up from discussions following Richard Benfield’s great talk about garden tourism.  I sent my little Arboretum video to Richard and he wrote back to say he requires his students to make 5-minute videos of a garden at the end of the course (presumably, about garden tourism).  He says “the gardens that use them are very bullish on their impact.”  THAT’S what I’m talking about!

Today I’m meeting with the Smithsonian Gardens director about their involvement in DC Gardens.  I’m told she’s excited.

“Featured” photo on our Home page – Evelyn Hadden taking photos at the entrance to the Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the Arboretum.


  1. I hadn’t added it to your last post, but here’s a garden promotional video that was done by our tourism bureau, Visit Buffalo Niagara. It’s part of a series of videos with a common host (a popular local musician) covering different aspects of regional tourism. This one covers gardening. You will see hosta aficionado Mike Shadrack, his garden and some other popular gardens and gardeners on Garden Walk Buffalo. Many gardeners have great personalities and to get those on video – as well as their gardens – goes a long way.


  2. And here was our first video. Starring… Amy Stewart sitting in Elizabeth Licata’s garden. Professionally-written scripts, good voice over talent, quality sound, music and effects, considered cinematography, and great editing all make for a quality production. Of course, with these things comes cost. For the quality of video you see here, it can cost anywhere from $3,000-$6,000 per minute of video.


  3. Washington Gardener is already doing 90% of what you describe (event listings, public garden profiles, great local garden info for DC-area, etc.) – why copycat their success? Why not concentrate on another under-served/under-covered locale?

  4. I have to say that if you were a avid fan and subscriber to Washington Gardener Magazine, then you would surely realize that almost all of what you want is readily available in this awesome magazine. From garden articles from local people, a garden calendar of events, well written articles of interest, book reviews, as well as what to do in your own garden…the need is met in more ways than one. Why reinvent the wheel? Thank You Kathy Jentz for all that you do for the gardening community!

  5. I must agree, for nine years editor Kathy Jentz has been an advocate for our metro region’s gardens and gardeners. I contribute to her mission with my column on garden day-trips. This is a great foundation to grow on, perhaps there is a way to team that reaches out to even more would be garden lovers both visitors and locals alike.

  6. Fans of Kathy Jentz, I’m one, too, and a friend. I contacted her early to get listed as a contributor to the cause because no one does more for DC’s public gardens or to promote gardening in the dc area than Kathy. Her magazine will be promoted early and often, as it is here: http://dcgardens.com/local-gardening-media/
    Also I hope Kathy will contribute some of her photos so they can be part of this project and be another place to promote the magazine.
    The heart of this project is videos and photo sliders of each garden grouped by month, which will complement, not compete with Wash Gardener Mag. (This project is all digital, nothing in print.) The more people showing off our fabulous gardens, the better, right?

  7. I have to agree with others that Washington Gardener Magazine is alreaady doing much of what you suggest. She provides not only a beautiful and informative hard-print magazine, but also an electronic magazine, an email discussion list, lists of upcoming garden events, and a weekly video. Much of her effort IS electronic, so yes, you are competing…

  8. One last thing about this project competing with the local gardening magazine is that we’re not seeking advertisers. The cooperating public gardens wouldn’t be cooperating if we did.

  9. I’m not sure I understand why so many commenters think that a website that promotes DC’s big open-to-the-public gardens competes in any way with Washington Gardener Magazine, to which I’ve subscribed for several years. I love the magazine, as much for the articles and listings of local events, as for the very fact that Kathy Jentz invests so much time and energy (and maybe even money?) in keeping it going. No small feat in today’s wired world. But there is room for both a lovely print magazine, a blog to go along with the magazine, AND a website on DC gardens to visit in any season. DC is a big (or at least biggish) city with a lot of hidden garden treasures. Can’t we all just get along?

  10. My ears are burning so I suppose I should comment. I believe loyal Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers’ (thank you all!) concern is the portion of the proposed DC Gardens web site that will overlap with the magazine’s print and online content. which would dilute the market and pull away our subscriber base. (Subscription and my personal funds are how we survive currently, advertisers being few and far between.)
    I think stream-lining the public gardens web site to concentrate on just the public gardens themselves — maybe adding staff profiles, “what is in bloom ” lists, etc. — and leave the general DC/local gardening info to Washington Gardener Magazine, would solve a great deal of that concern.

  11. This project isn’t intended to duplicate anything that’s already online, so I checked the magazine website to see if the resource info was there and didn’t see any of it. If your website redesign will include it, DCGardens could send readers there. But let’s pursue this offline. I know we all want readers to find this info, so we’ll figure it out.

  12. Since I injured my back gardening on Tuesday (grrrrr) I guess I’ll continue this debate. I just looked back through the two most recent issues of W.G. mag (Summer-Fall 2013 & Winter-Early Spring 2014) and found nothing that would help people who wanted to visit a public-private gardens in DC or even the suburbs of DC. I found interesting articles about home gardening, local events such as seed swaps, and one nice article per issue on day-trips to gardens (one near Philadelphia and another in southern MD, about 90 minutes from DC). I see zero overlap between the under-development website on DC Gardens and Washington Gardener magazine. It would never occur to me to cancel my subscription to the PRINTED W.G. magazine just because someone created an ONLINE guide to gardens that people can visit in the DC area.

    I’m beginning to think that the commenting critics on this post have some other agenda. Or maybe they just all injured their backs too and are grumpy and argumentative (like me).

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