Garden Media Guild Awards
Not since Douglas Fairbanks hosted the first Academy Awards in 1929 has such exulted company congregated to celebrate their industry. Those attending that first Oscars ceremony would have fainted (or swooned dramatically) at the price of tickets for the Garden Media Guild 2010 awards, having paid a very reasonable $5 themselves.
Despite the cost and the Siberian climate many of the great, good and not so good of the garden media industry (plus a smattering of wealthy sponsors) gathered at the Brewery in London's glitzy Barbican for lunch and self-congratulation. Attendees were welcomed with pink fizzy wine and whilst some were smarter than others there was not a wellington boot, crumpled sunhat or dirty fingernail in sight.
This was my first year at these awards and it was a great chance to catch up with friends in convivial surroundings. At lunch I was lucky enough to be sitting next to Jodie Jones, a journalist who has worked for both The Daily Telegraph and Gardens Illustrated and Fred Foot, marketing manager at Bulldog Tools who had nominated Quality Garden Tools for an award. I also managed to grab quick chats with our very own Christine Walkden, Tamsin Westhorpe and her team (The English Garden), Andy Sturgeon (Garden Designer), Matt Appleby (Horticulture Week), Alex Denman (Chelsea Flower Show boss), Sarah Cottle (Viridis Media) and tons more who I should be able to remember. Most importantly though, I met up with legendary bloggers: Veg Plotting, Victoria's Backyard and Little Green Fingers (less well known as Michelle, Victoria and Dawn), all of their blogs are great and well worth visiting.
The awards themselves ran along familiar lines with announcement of nominees, winner fighting way up to stage, tears/laughter/shock/unconfined joy, uncomfortable photo with 'suit' from sponsoring companies, applause etc. I enjoyed it all (fab food for a Fat Gardener) although a couple of the awards were a bit mystifying, particularly Garden Publication of the Year which went to Garden News. I must say that I am sure Garden News deserved their award, but I do think it odd that the excellent The English Garden and the incredibly popular BBC Gardeners' World magazines were not even judged to be among the finalists - in my humble opinion they both deserved to be finalists. I am also not sure how The Daily Telegraph Gardening did not end up with any award - no other newspaper has made such a significant commitment to gardening journalism with many interesting articles in this weekly supplement as well as a great website as backup.
After the award ceremony I joined the guys from Bulldog Tools at the Master Gunner pub to watch the famous and infamous from the gardening media get sloshed.
Did Quality Garden Tools win their award? Sadly no, not even a mention - oh well, back to the grindstone and we'll all try even harder next year.
You can visit the Garden Media Guild here: www.gardenmediaguild.co.uk
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