Debra Prinzing

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Behind the scenes with Garden Design

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

A pretty stunning aloe-as-sculpture in one of Joseph Marek's gardens.

Scott Shrader turned an ancient millstone into a succulent planter

Garden Scouting: It sounds so luxurious, doesn’t it?

Spending four days scouting some of the most beautiful and unique residential landscapes in and around Los Angeles! 

I do it all the time – visit and tour gardens that might just make it onto the pages of the magazines and newspapers to which I contribute. And yet, achieving the “get” is not always that luxurious. It’s fun and rewarding. But also hard work. 

Successful garden scouting requires lots of telephone calls to set up appointments. It means I have to lean on my personal connections to cajole invitations from reclusive garden owners or rock star designers. And it demands that I put way too many miles on my Volvo odometer. A lot! (Thank goodness for NPR.) 

Most of all, this job means being extremely open to everything I see, while also keeping out a discerning eye for that magical glimpse of a perfect story. 

It’s alot like being on a treasure hunt when you don’t know the ending, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Jenny Andrews, executive editor for Garden Design, one of the magazines for which I am contributing editor, was in Los Angeles a few weeks ago for a four-day scouting marathon. As she put it, it felt like we were college roommates for four days . . . probably because Jenny ended up staying with me for most of the time. She got to experience the craziness of the Prinzing-Brooks household with kids, dog, schedules, and more. And, we put 700 miles on my car in four days. We were both exhausted by the end. 


Eco-friendly lawn and garden equipment – and more

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I hopped a plane last week to fly from Los Angeles to Orlando and back in less than 48 hours.

No, I’m not one of those desperate collectors of airline miles who is trying to get bumped up to the platinum level for better perks (although that would be nice).

But somehow, the invitation from a publicist for Sears-Craftsman Lawn and Garden Equipment convinced me that this trip would be worth my while. And in many ways, it was more than a good trip. Crazed, but definitely a surprisingly good one.

Sometimes it’s smart just to say “yes” to something unexpected that falls in your lap, even though you don’t really have the time. Here are 10 Reasons Why:

I’m joined by Garden Design magazine’s Jenny Andrews (Features Editor, left) and Megan Padilla (Senior Editor, center)

1. Enjoying dinner with two gifted and creative editors of Garden Design magazine. Jenny Andrews and Megan Padilla are two of the staff editors for this hip publication and I’ve worked with both of them on recent articles. They treated me to dinner at what might best be described as a quintessential Florida restaurant. The seafood was de-lish and the entertainment? We’re talking performers on stilts and a guy who swallowed flaming swords. The conversation was pretty entertaining, too!


Amy Sitze, editor of Gardening How-To magazine, takes a spin in the Craftsman “Revolution” Zero-Turn Yard Tractor. Yes, she’s a good driver!

2. Walking into the press room for Continental breakfast the next morning not expecting to know anyone and then hearing “Hi Debra!” from across the room. I looked over to see the smiling face of Amy Sitze, editor-in-chief of Minneapolis-based Gardening How-To magazine and a fellow member of Garden Writers Association (and another wonderful editor for whom I’ve written).

The black-and-white Craftsman golf pullover helped take the chill off as I put the pedal to the metal on the Craftsman “Excellerator” Garden Tractor.

3. Getting to brave the brisk weather by wearing one of those cool golf pullovers with the Craftsman logo on it. And since it was a windy and wintry Orlando day (something like high 50s), I was very happy to have that extra layer to protect me.

4. Arriving at Osceola County Stadium, “Home of the Houston Astros – Spring Training,” and seeing my name on the electronic read-out that tops the scoreboard.


My first Garden Design piece – and it makes the cover!

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Okay, this is to be filed under “self promotion 101,” but, after all, what is the point of blogging if I can’t do that?

I am sending a huge bouquet of thanks to Jenny Andrews, Sarah Kinbar and the talented team of editors and designers at GARDEN DESIGN. Earlier this year, they asked me to profile the Venice, Calif., garden of uber-architect Ron Radziner and his wife Robin Cottle.

“Simple Geometry,” my story, appears in the September-October issue of Garden Design. You can see one of photographer Jack Coyier’s gorgeous shots appearing on the cover, depicting the family’s outdoor dining room. There’s lots more to read and see inside, as GD gave us a 10-page spread for the article.

I still haven’t seen the real issue or paged through it, but thanks to my Seattle pal, Stace Crooks, for calling this morning to tell me a copy arrived in her mailbox. I guess I better race out to get my own. I’ll post the entire story on my web site soon.

And another huge thanks goes to Paula Panich, my wonderful friend and writing coach. Paula helped me unsnag some tricky elements of the story, and in the process, made it lighter and more graceful. She is awesome.