January 15, 2015
John Vandermeer, left, answers questions from CTV’s Anwar Knight.
John Vandermeer, left, answers questions from CTV’s Anwar Knight.
Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations

Denis FlanaganLast month, just before Christmas, we were contacted by a CTV producer who wanted to do a live program about the holiday season.

One reason producers really like working with our members is because we make it easy for them to create a fabulous show that keeps viewers engaged. We decided to do the shoot at Vandermeer Nursery in Ajax. Why was it a success? Because we supplied all the elements that the network was looking for to satisfy its viewers. These include:

Eye candy
Every camera operator’s dream is a greenhouse full of colourful plants, displays and lots of bling. Elsewhere, the TV company would need to spend a considerable amount of time and cost creating those displays. The folks at the garden centre were very accommodating and moved racks and trees around to create wonderful backdrops.

Sometimes shows must hire researchers and writers to produce scripts and story lines, whereas we always have horticultural experts on hand to supply the information. In this case, John Vandermeer performed wonderfully on camera by giving advice and tips on new plant varieties, care of plants and ideas viewers could use in their own homes.

Many shows like to include a tie-in with the environment. In this case, Sandra, a member of the Vandermeer team, did an excellent job on describing the type of winter habitat to create for birds in your garden, while Amanda Vandermeer jumped right in and promptly tweeted the information to her many followers.

Social media: An integral part of promoting a TV show is also to have a strong Twitter, Facbook, etc., presence. Again, our industry has that in place.

The fifth and final component to round out a successful show is of course the warm and fuzzies that connect with a local community project or charity. In this case, Vandermeer’s had a promotion called Pet Pictures with Santa, which supports the Humane Society of Durham Region.

At the end of the day it was a hit episode! It can be viewed on our website at http://gfl.me/o2mT.

In 2015 you should consider how YOU can get attention from the media by leveraging the great stories you may have to offer.

Content is king when you offer gardening advice to local publications. Newspapers and magazines are always looking for experts to give horticultural tips, particularly pertaining to local conditions and zones. If you need help with articles, feel free to contact us.

If you have won an Award of Excellence from Landscape Ontario, you deserve to be recognized for your creativity. Local media outlets crave good news stories, and are delighted to run with a headline such as, ‘Local landscape company wins provincial award.’ Again, contact us to help you make the connection.

The Green for Life Community Award is a something we will be promoting through our chapters. We will recognize and promote the projects where you have so generously donated your talents, time and materials in order to make a difference.

Let’s make 2015 a win-win year for the media and the landscape industry.
Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.