In close to 1,000 posts written for TorontoGardens.com, Helen has explored garden stories that captured her imagination and illustrated them with her photography. Her byline and images have also appeared in print and online garden publications such as Garden Making, Québec Vert and GardenDesign.com.
Complementing this has been a freelance career as a writer and creative consultant in graphic design. From brand names to concepts and writing in print and digital media – for clients worldwide in fields from banking to baking – her collaborations led to scores of medalled projects, some in the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum.
Blogging and presentations have been the backbone of Helen’s garden writing output till now, with side trips into writing for respected names in garden publishing. But with a garden book proposal in the works, watch this space.
Helen’s easily sparked curiosity and drive to dig deep have led to stories from balcony garden design to parasitic plants and the nature of ants, aphids, and mutualism, which won a Gold from GardenComm for best digital media. TorontoGardens.com has more than once been named one of Canada’s top garden blogs and has earned awards for both the website and for writing.
Garden Making Magazine
Helen’s articles for the fabulous Garden Making (sadly, no longer printing) ranged from gardening with raccoons, to bewildering changes in plant taxonomy, as well as contributing to a photo essay on inspiring gardens. She also worked with the magazine to evaluate the effectiveness of its own online presence.
For the member publication of the Toronto Botanical Garden, Helen’s article and photographs on Victoria, B.C.’s Abkhazi Garden earned her a cover story. Other features involved interviews with experts on garden renovation, undervalued bulbs, and pruning woody plants. She uses their tips to this day.
Marketing and Communications
Writing needs more than lovely words on a page; it needs the right ideas. As a freelancer, Helen lived by her motto – Writing matters; thinking matters more – and continues to do so. Here are a few of her stories.
Pao Huei Development
Over ten years of writing for this ultra-high-end Taiwanese residential developer, Helen produced creative work, from naming towers, to creating themes and content for publications and websites. She recently wrote and edited a 150-page coffee-table book about its art collection. Her approach turned what might have been only a picture book into a strong narrative about the company.
Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
Helen freelanced for Four Seasons for over two decades, writing for the corporation and for 75 international hotels and resorts in print and a variety of digital media. This covered just about every kind of written work, from speeches to travel articles, and a massive revamp of their website. Her hardcover corporate story was translated into 18 languages.
There are many good writers, but not all can think beyond words. Often called a designer’s writer, Helen teamed with design firms on numerous showcase projects, to develop graphic concepts for client work as well as editorial strategies for print and digital media. In addition to the wildcard thinking demanded by assignments like naming, she was known for keeping sight of the visual, tactile, and dimensional, as well as the client’s communication needs.