Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gayla Trail at USF

Last week our Davies Forum speaker was Gayla Trail, creator of You Grow Girl, a website about gardens and gardening. Gayla used to be a designer, and she started the website in 2000 as just something fun to do. She wanted to meet other gardeners like her, who were young and urban, which was not the audience most garden writing focuses on. She said garden writing is dominated by books and magazines, and it is written in a very authoritarian way (this is right, this is wrong, this is how you do it). There's also usually an expectation of space, like a yard, and lots of money. She wanted something different, so she created it herself, and it has become very popular. After a while, she ended up quitting her design work to focus on the website. She talked about the importance of play, and how good it is to be able to have fun and try new things without the pressure of doing well and making money. That's how her site developed the way it did.

To me, Gayla's example shows the power of the internet as a means for creativity and alternative information/messages. I also love the concept of using the internet, which is so "virtual," to share information and experiences about something so earthy and "real life" as gardening.

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