Marcus Sheridan, Web Marketing Guru, Keynotes Garden Bloggers Conference

Marcus-Sheridan-largeCalled a “Web Marketing Guru” by the New York Times, Marcus Sheridan has traveled the world, helping businesses and brands of all sizes simplify marketing in the digital age so they get results. Known for his contagious enthusiasm and boundless energy when on stage, Marcus has since become a popular speaker and has been called the ‘Gary Vaynerchuk of the Swimming Pool Industry.’

I had the pleasure of hearing Marcus speak recently and the attendees absolutely adored him! In fact, he was rated as the #1 speaker at this conference. We are so fortunate to have been able to book Marcus since he is a highly-sought-after keynote speaker.

He speaks passionately about what he has learned himself and provides simple, real-life examples of how he has made his brand and business wildly successful. In fact, as a result of his own meteoric rise, he has become a very successful HubSpot Partner, training inbound marketers  and companies everywhere how to find success.

Marcus Sheridan is the founder of The Sales Lion, one of the internet’s fastest growing marketing websites focusing on the transformational powers of inbound marketing on small businesses. But before spreading the good word about marketing, Sheridan, who also owns a prominent swimming pool company, established the most popular swimming pool website in the world through content marketing. (Marcus is also known as “The Pool Guy.”)

Marcus’ topic is entitled How Content Marketing Can Build Traffic, Loyal Readers, Your Brand, and Your Bottom Line: With more and more bloggers, and more and more content, standing out from the crowd and building your online presence is harder than it has ever been. In this highly interactive and fast-paced session, popular speaker Marcus Sheridan will explain specific ways you can create content that will not only generate more traffic and loyal readers, but will also help brand you as a thought leader with a unique approach and a top go-to source for gardening information.

Hope you get a chance to hear Marcus – it’s like a religious experience!

Plant Development Services to Sponsor Garden Bloggers Conference


PDSI+all_3_Plant Development Services, Inc. introduces plants that solve landscape challenges and have a high impact on the marketplace.

Working closely with the nation’s top growers and breeders, Plant Development Services brings plants to market that have highly marketable and recognizable trait improvements year after year.

With a comprehensive grower network, Plant Development Services is able to manage distribution to all regions and market channels.
Plant Development Services brands include: Encore® Azalea, the world’s best-selling reblooming azalea, and the Southern Living® Plant Collection, the most recognized name in the gardening lifestyle industry in the South, and the Sunset Western Garden Collection™, the first live plant collection to focus exclusively on top performing plants for the Western gardener.

The journey or the destination?

Trade Secrets, Bunny Williams, Breathtaking Vistas and Garden Tours

Bunny Williams, Honorary Chair for Trade Secrets, 2-day event which started in Bunny’s backyard more than 10 years ago.

Enjoy the journey, not just the destination but this weekend I was able to savor both at Trade Secrets.

I relished the drive through the lush and fragrant fields of Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills which brought me to LionRock Farm, an immaculate estate near Sharon and the venue for Trade Secrets.  There were so many delightful interludes along the way –  round, dense green mountains from every vantage point;  rustic one-lane covered bridges; cows, horses and donkeys surrounded by well-tended white fences;  and scenic undulating river routes dotted with wading fishermen. Then there were the garden tours – four spectacular Connecticut gardens including Bunny Williams’ garden.

It was a weekend that I chatted with the ever-gracious Bunny Williams (and thanked Bunny for speaking and inspiring us at the 2012 Design Bloggers Conference and told her about our new Garden Bloggers Conference), got a glimpse of Martha Stewart and her caravan, admired the artistry of gardeners and craftsmen, and perused items of antiquities – all at Trade Secrets. I also met home owners accompanied by their landscape designers who were looking for trellises and atypical plants for their large gardens.  And there were garden enthusiasts like me who get a bit giddy at the prospect of a new gardening excursion.

This is a popular two-day event, held for its 13th year on May 18-19, includes a rare plant and garden antiques sale followed by a day of garden tours that benefits Women’s Support Services (WSS), a non-profit organization founded in 1981 that provides services to persons in the northwest corner of Connecticut who have experienced domestic violence or abuse. For garden lovers, Trade Secrets is a weekend to explore some of the finest gardens and to browse for a few of your favorite things! This year the event attracted nearly 1,000 attendees.

“I look forward to this weekend every year,” said Bunny Williams of Bunny Williams Inc., one of the world’s largest and most prestigious design firms. Williams founded Trade Secrets 13 years ago when she offered to hold a small plant sale to support WSS.



The Trade Secrets Resource Guide includes gardening tips for use throughout the year as well as a directory of the area’s finest businesses of landscape professionals, home designers, home and garden destinations, area lodging, dining and more.





More than 60 vendors exhibited – from antiques to succulents. Complete list with links to their websites.

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LionRock Farm and its field views from the site of Trade Secrets.

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The journey through Connecticut to Trade Secrets -from the mountains to a river runs through it.

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Covered bridge in West Cornwall and Lime Rock Park for car racing enthusiasts.

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Difficult to miss this vineyard with its striking entrance and folly in the background.

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Bunny Williams’ garden tour: view outside the conservatory in the renovated barn and Bunny chatting with guests.

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Bunny Williams’ garden tour: chickens reside in a palatial compound with vegetable and cutting garden nearby.

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Bunny Williams’ garden tour: path through the new Birdhouse Village and parting shot of the magnificent poolhouse.

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Plum Creek garden tour: inviting formal gardens, paths, and ponds — also the property is for sale.

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Mudge Pond and Lee Link garden tours: inspiring views of Mudge Pond and Lee Link, an exquisite, rustic retreat atop a hilly vista.

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Curious to see what Martha was hauling away in her caravan of trucks , but as you can see,  pink was the dominant theme for me – succulents, pink meadow sage and blue salvia and then I made a detour to the Lowe’s in Greenport, NY, for a few more pink annuals.

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All in all, an exhilarating and inspiring weekend! A heartfelt thanks to all! See you again next year.