Boston-Area Gardeners, meet the local garden writer, podcaster and designer who's gone national in a big way. He's Andrew Keys and if you haven't heard his new podcast for Horticulture Magazine, you are in for a treat - and a surprise. It's really good and in a really new way. A big fan of Ira Glass and "This American Life", his aim is to tell stories about the intersection of plants and people. Not how-to's or tips, but stories. He told me he "wanted to take it up a notch", and after hearing just 2 episodes I can say he's done that in this one-man-show, where he does it all, including Lord knows how many hours of editing and adding sound effects. You can listen for yourself right here or subscribe to RadioGarden here on iTunes.
The second episode includes interviews with two well known Winchester gardeners, Mindy Arbo and Dudley Cotton, whose garden you see below and on their cleverly named website - Cotton-Arbo retum.
What's next on RadioGarden? Writers Amy Stewart and Ivette Soler, a profile of his mother's cotton-farming family, and talking to folks at the Harvard Herbarium about plant exploration (If you have a story to tell about plants and gardening, Andrew says he'd LOVE to hear about it - just email him at email@example.com.)
The Unofficial Resume
From his bio we learn that he "was born in the bottomlands of Mississippi, a stone’s throw from New Orleans" and was "descended from dairymen, cotton and cane farmers." He's always been crazy about plants but took a different turn in college, studying journalism and public relations (U.Memphis). In 2001 he moved to Boston and starting writing for PR Newswire. Then for a career change he studied architecture, but quickly veered to environmental policy (at Tufts), which got him closer (finally) to the plant world. His resume also includes 10 years of web design, which he still does. (See examples on the website of his tech partner).
Then in 2009, because everybody was telling him he should design gardens, he started his Oakleaf Green Landscape Design business in Topsfield, where he gets to combine his loves for plants, design AND environmental advocacy. Currently he's pursuing a certificate in native plant horticulture and design from the New England Wildflower Society.
Andrew's a big fan of networking - online and in person - because so many opportunities have come to him via Twitter and attending just one Garden Writers meeting (where he met Horticulture's Patty Craft). Andrew also blogs at Garden Smackdown, where he dares to go off-topic any time he gets the urge. He's also one of the gang at the Garden Designers Roundtable.
All that, and a Mahoney's customer, too - we love this guy!
So what's next for the multi-talented Mr. Keys? More of everything, including travel - to Santa Fe for Christmas and Buenas Aires in the spring. Also in the spring, he'll be a guest blogger for right here!