Urban Gardens, the green lifestyle and design blog, is fast becoming one of the most read and visited blogs for people interested in innovative and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas for limited spaces.
Launched in April 2009 by writer and art/creative director Robin Horton, Urban Gardens recently received both a silver award for best electronic media design and a gold award for best overall design across all categories, from the Garden Writers Association at their annual meeting in Dallas. Those awards came on the heels of the site's nomination in the lifestyle category, for the Webby, recognized by the New York Times as the "Oscars" of the internet.
"The recognition is very gratifying, but what I've loved most is creating a strong community of readers who share my interests in design and eco-friendly creative solutions for urban or small gardens and other limited spaces," Ms. Horton said. "By jumping into this virtual world I've created many new professional and personal relationships that were never before possible."
The success of Urban Gardens is a story about an expansion of one's reach outside of one given discipline. A graduate UC Berkeley and the The Cooper Union, Ms. Horton has practiced communications design for more than 30 years, the last 20 as Principal/Creative Director of Old-Greenwich,CT and New York-based Robin Horton Design. Over the years she began doing more writing, both creatively and for clients, and as design started migrating to new media and the internet, Ms. Horton became more of a "creative catalyst," combining her design, writing, and branding talents within the world of social media. Many years earlier, when "green" was still considered just a color, she'd conceived of Urban Gardens as print magazine, but later decide to launch it as a blog.
She now co-faciltates The Blog Workshops, a 1-5 day workshop combining creativity and social media, with the emphasis on defining a blog/social media objective and audience that are aligned with one's business goals. Horton has also moved from the virtual space to the physical space with her work on the Shippan Designer Show House, where, in collaboration with interior designer Victoria Lyon, she has brought her blog stories to life by transforming a utilitarian potting shed and greenhouse into a creative retreat. The space features a vertical garden, wall mural of moss birds, a living painting of succulents, and ordinary garden pots turned upside down repurposed into pendant lamps.
"The blog," remarked Ms. Horton, "is just a point of departure for all the ideas that have sprung from it. I've been approached to write a book, have a concept for an online shop, and many product ideas percolating. When doing the videos for the show house, I identified what I'd like to do next: this material would translate really well into an Urban Gardens television show, and I'd love to create and host it."
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