GardenWise Writer’s Guidelines

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If you have a story idea, please submit by email ( a brief, specific outline detailing your angle, sources and suggested length. Your submission must be accompanied by samples of your published work. Please indicate whether or not your query is exclusive to GardenWise. Where possible, include information regarding available photographs, photo opportunities, illustrations, etc. Do not forward by mail photographs or any other items that would need to be returned – we can take no responsibility for the safety of unsolicited photos or materials. When referring to plants you propose to cover, please include all names applicable to that plant including Latin and all common names. And, finally, please indicate the time(s) of year you feel this story should run, and why.

GardenWise is published six times per year:

Issue Editorial Deadline

Early Spring (January) September 15
Spring (March): November 15
Early Summer (May): January 15
Summer (June): February 15
Fall (September): May 15
Winter (November): July 15

Writers are invited to query with ideas for any of the following sections of GardenWise:

Stepping Stones: This upfront section of GardenWise is an eclectic collection of what’s new, innovative or unique in gardening news. Submissions should be approximately 100-200 words and written in a lively fashion. Photography (in slide format) of plants, gardens or garden crafts will also be considered.

Garden Profiles: While profiles of gardens in British Columbia are a very important aspect of GardenWise, the opportunities to write Garden Profiles are limited by the fact that we run a maximum of two per issue and are committed to representing a variety of regions throughout our province. It is hoped that in addition to bringing forth the unique nature of the garden, the Garden Profile will identify how the gardener has sought to deal with the limitations of their region. Also, when considering a Garden Profile, the writer should ask what this particular garden might teach our readers. For example, our profile of An Urban Jungle (Spring 2002) focused on the gardener’s extensive use of clematis for spring to fall colour, as well as his maximizing a small space. Accompanying sidebars complemented this theme with instructions on planting and pruning clematis, pointers on choosing clematis for lasting colour in the garden, and tips on small-space wizardry. Generally, a Garden Profile should be a maximum of 1,000 words, with an additional two to three sidebars totalling another 400 words.

Blooms: A 600–word profile of a particular flowering plant, with another 200 words in two accompanying sidebars. Care of the plant, as well as recommended varieties and planting tips, should be included, with weight given to its regional and seasonal limitations.

Wild Things: Birds, bees, frogs and more…how to attract nature’s helpful and delightful creatures to your garden, and live with them in harmony. Standard length is 600 words, with one to two sidebars for a total of about 1,200 words.

How To: Step-by-step instructions on creating works of beauty and functionality for the garden, or from the garden. Writers of our How Tos will work closely with the art director to coordinate the copy with the accompanying photography.

Evergreen: Seeking to strengthen the connection of our readers to Mother Earth, this feature celebrates the wisdom of nature. Standard length is 800-words, with one or more sidebars, for a total of 1,000 words.

Next: What to plant now for enjoyment next season, from veggies to flower seeds to bulbs. Length is 800-1,200 words, depending on the complexity of the topic.

Please query by email only:
(Unsolicited manuscripts and photos sent by mail will not be returned.)

For queries by email, we are not always able to get back to you as quickly as we would like – during our busy production periods all of our time must be directed to the magazine issue at hand. We appreciate your patience.

Policies & Expectations

Quality: Our expectations reflect the fundamentals of good-quality journalism. Stories must be:
• Well written
• Spelling of names and facts must be checked and double-checked
• Writer must be prepared to supply a list of all names and phone numbers of information sources or interview subjects, if required
• All measurements should be in metric, followed by the imperial conversion in brackets.

Plant References: For style relating to the use of botanical names, please refer to the GardenWise Plant Name Style Sheet, which follows. All articles must include an alphabetical list of every plant referenced in the article, with both the Latin name (first) and all common names, and zone information (please indicate only the coldest zone the plant will thrive in). There are two reasons for this: 1) it is critical that we find photo material to accompany as many of the plant references as possible; a listing of all plants referenced (with all possible names included) enables our art director to quickly access as many images as possible for each article. 2) providing our readers with all applicable names for every plant referenced and the zones where the plant will successfully grow gives them a greater opportunity to locate plants applicable to their area.

In addition to the Royal Horticultural Society Index of Garden Plants by Mark Griffiths and Reader’s Digest A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants by Brickell, Cole & Zuk, we recommend the following websites as plant-name references:

The RHS Plant Finder at
The Plant Press Dictionary of Common Names at

Copy Style: Canadian Press Guidelines.

Spelling: Oxford English Dictionary.

Photography: It is our mandate to accompany each article with photographic images of all the plants being recommended to our readers. Achieving this can be difficult at times, and we ask that our writers provide contact names for any information sources (seed companies, plant societies, etc.) where photographic images of the plants may be available.

Captions & Photo Accuracy: As part of their assignment, writers are expected to write captions for their article once the art director has determined what photos will be used, and are also frequently asked to review the final layout of their article to ensure the correct captioning of all photos and overall accuracy of the final presentation.

Regionalism: GardenWise pertains exclusively to the province of British Columbia and is the only gardening magazine to do so. Please indicate if and how gardeners throughout B.C. can grow the plants you are referencing; and what allowances gardeners may need to make based on their area and zone. Your plant recommendations may differ for our Interior readers and Lower Mainland readers, for example, and cold-hardy recommendations are helpful for our Northern neighbours.

Agreement: Writers agree to first North American rights on any published work.

Editorial Rates: Remuneration is based on the complexity of the story coupled with the writer’s experience.

Expenses: Expenses (such as long-distance phone calls) that may be incurred in the preparation of a story must be discussed with the editor in advance. The writer will supply documentation for all agreed-upon expenses.

Delivery of Assignment: You accept responsibility for delivering the story to the editor. The editor expects to receive the story via email, in a Mac-compatible format, or on a computer disk. Please indicate the word-processing program used.

Editing: Most articles will be reviewed by an expert in the area discussed, as well as by a horticulturist, the editor and managing editor. In most cases, the writer will have the opportunity to review the edits made to their copy, which will aid us in achieving the highest level of accuracy possible.

Changing Focus: If the story doesn’t work out the way you (and the editor) thought it would and the theme needs major alteration, discuss it with us as soon as you find out. We may not want a story that’s fundamentally different from the one assigned.

Payment: On publication. Please include GST number, if applicable.

Delayed Publication: If publication is delayed due to lack of space, payment will nevertheless be forwarded on the publication date of the issue the article was originally assigned to, assuming the article is deemed complete and ready for publication.

We welcome your interest in writing for GardenWise, and hope to work with you in the future! We trust that all of your questions will have been answered by these guidelines, however if you have any further inquiries, please feel free to contact us.

Carol Pope
Editor, GardenWise

Download the GardenWise Plant Name Style Sheet in PDF.
Download the entire GardenWise Writer’s Guidelines in PDF.