Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Promoting your Open Garden

Your Garden is coming up for opening and of course you want to show it off to the most people possible because you are proud of the result of years of hard work and effort.
Do not expect the ‘Open Garden’ Co-Ordinator to do everything for you, remember they are very busy and have many other Gardens to look after.
You know more about your Garden than anyone else, so why not do most of the groundwork and promotion yourself, and you can start this several months ahead of your opening.
The first point to remember is that there is no other Garden in Australia like yours. Your Garden is unique and this uniqueness is what you should promote. Highlight what your Garden has to offer be it a specific plant types, landscaping, sculptures, or the wildlife that visit or live in your Garden ect.
Look up the Local Garden Clubs and offer to talk about your Garden, how it started, how it has changed, what there is to see and any specific plant interest you have, you can also talk about how you came into the ‘Open Garden Scheme’ and what it has done for you. Pass a few flyers around while you are there. You will be well received.
Most Nurseries’ will put out your Flyers regardless of whether you are having a plant sale or not. If you do not have plants for sale why not contact your local friendly Nursery and see if they are interested in setting up a plant stall, suggest they make a small contribution of their profits to a charity 10% seems to be the usual.
If you live in one of the big City’s then you will have either Community TV or Radio, contact them and tell them about your Garden, who knows you could be the ‘Gardening Guru’ of the future. Here in Brisbane we were lucky to have a Gardening show on Briz 31 which has a large following, they were always looking to film small but informative segments, it is surprising how big an audience some of these niche shows have.
Local Newspapers are always looking for interesting local news; your Garden Opening is news and brings a lot of people into the area. Write a story about your Garden and send it in to them, include a few photos if you can, the more interesting you make it the more likely they are to run a story.
Take a chance and contact the major newspaper in your area, you have nothing to lose.
Do you have a Digital Camera? Do you take photos of your plants, gardens, projects ect? If so start up an Internet Photo Album ‘Photobucket’ is probably the best, they will give you some free space and later on if you are happy you can go unlimited for $25 US dollars per annum.
Let people know your Photo web site address, go onto sites such as ABC chat, garden webs, local Nursery’s, ect. Even some of your local Organisations will have their own websites, why not ask for a link to your album. This is what I have done and during one month the album received 7000 hits.
If people can be tempted by photos of your Garden on a computer screen then they may be tempted to see it in real life.
Do you have a Neighbourhood Watch group in your area, if so approach them and see if they will advertise your opening in their newsletter?
Produce stores and Landscaping yards are good to place flyers; most Gardeners buy either fertilizers or soils so next times you are in the store or yard ask about leaving a few flyers there.
Real Estate Agents are always keen to promote the local area and will take flyers.
Your Local Library is also good, just think how many people go there to borrow Garden books.
Local Tourism Office will take flyers; to them it all goes towards the promotion of the Local area.
Refreshments are always a good idea. With our Open Garden the ‘Lions Club’ completely organise the food and drinks and the home made cakes go really well. The secret with the food and drink is not to charge too much. The ‘Lions’ also run a raffle, which has a nice plant donated by us as a prize, plus a couple of other items donated by businesses in the area. For example The ‘Sands Hotel’ has donated a magnum of wine and the ‘Waterfork’ people donate a ‘Waterfork’ in turn for us allowing them to demonstrate the fork on the open weekend. The ‘Lions’ usually make about $1500 or more on our weekend which is then distributed to several charities just in time for Christmas.
Think outside of the square, get out there and tell the world how good your Garden is.
This means that you have to target a specific group of people like yourselves who love Gardening.
Happy Gardening

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