Growing with Plants is blog about gardening, plant collecting and anything which combines art, design excellence and the botanic experience. That said, it's my personal belief that a blog should remain honest and non commercial, therefore:

In an effort to keep my blog more authentic, honest and free from the over exploitation I've decided as of January 1st 2016 to change how I partner with companies and deal with advertising and businesses.

I will no longer:

• Accept advertising or placement ad's from businesses or ad networks
• Accept Sponsored posts
• Accept product or brands to review as a sponsored post

I will gladly continue to:

•  Accept books for honest reviews - but expect honesty, good or not brutally bad
•  Design and post ads for horticultural institutions, botanic gardens and plant societies 
   which I am personally involved in, or believe in for free.
• Accept product, seeds or plants gratis, but only for honest reviews not sponsored posts.

If you are interested in working with me, I would like to:

• Test plants
• Design my own branded containers and plant combinations
• Curate collections of plants for businesses
• Curate products 
• Write and design special projects

I do not, nor ever have:

• Accept guest posts 

• I occasionally will review product other than books - please read below, as I treat these reviews seriously and differently than most other gardening blogs (always, in your favor!).


My policy on product review may be different than those of my peers. Although on the rare occaision, I may accept an unsolicited product review, I prefer to directly contact the brands and products which I actually use, or want to try rather than have brands contact me. 

It's funny, because being a top 10 blogger, I get about 10 requests a day for product reviews. I even sat on a panel once at a garden blog conference where everyone agreed that "accepting free product was the primary reason why they blogged", and I was horrified. I know that I am not alone in being selective, as I know that most of us in the top 5 only choose what we want to show, use or partner with. If I really believe in a product or brand, or if I am curious about an innovative idea, expect a note from me asking if there might be any interest in collaborating on a post.

Although, if you want to give me a new truck or hot tub, let's talk!

Look - I'm not just randomly going to "review' any product with meaningless ‘nice words’ - gushing about my 'hack" or planted wall. It's just not good horticulture or why I garden or blog, for that matter. But know this - I will fuss over your product, make it look spectacular and irresistible, thoughtfully shooting it with extraordinary plants or settings. 

I will be honest, but not unrealistic. What this means is this: I'm not going to rush out to a nursery and plant a raised bed with full grown plants like celosia, kale and tomatoes and say that this is realistic. I saw this today on a blog with one of my peers, and it reinforced my policy on faking a scene. For example, I have the very same raised bed at home, at mine is planted with a gorgeous crop of speckled trout backed lettuce, and what a shot that would have been. Sure, it took two months to grow, but I want to believe that the manufacturer would have liked my shot and story much more.

That's how I work.

I worked with a well known Italian terra cotta company who designed an artisional orchid pot that was hand-thrown in Italy. Would I then rush out and shoot that $200 pot with a white phalaenopsis from the home store? No way. It deserved a phone call to the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate nursery in California where I asked them to check and see if they  had a rare species blooming -but not just any 'ol rare orchid species, but one worthy of an orchid show - a specimen plant. I invest often in making a vivid and stunning statement. I then shot the image in my steel and glass greenhouse, in March - hoping that it would snow, but instead, used the golden sunlight at dusk.


For a lawn mower company with a red and black lawn mower, we relocated our heirloom chickens which were also red and black, to prop the lawn.

So in the end, it is simple. I believe that my audience not only deserves a more thoughtful review, but also one which is authentic and real. It’s so easy today to just over-simplify and generalize, but on this blog, expect a more thoughtful approach and solution.

That said, if you are still interested in partnering on a product, here is how I like to work:

1.     As an Influencer – Naturally, I’m all about my readers – providing them with real and authentic posts about brands or products – or even ideas which I just love. Really, believe me when I say that the best way to utilize an on-line influencer is through real, relevant posts that are not only authentically based on actual experience, but which genuinely come from experience with your product. If I find a product to be less than awesome, I may not review it, but know that I won’t ever write terrible things about a brand – but it may just not make it into a post.

Relevance is Paramount – so be Smart about Considering me, as I am often tough about products or brands – and may not support what you want to promote. I am realistic and fair, and expect those who work with me to be the same. 

Most plant-people are saavy enough to sniff out even the slightest bit of insincerity.

2.     Content Creation - I am open to other innovative ideas – I love to craft stories which may require some planning and planting. Rare sweet peas and forced rhubarb for a shot with a very nice watering can hand-hammered from copper. If I write an article, it will take time since I prefer to custom grow a project first, and then document it. I may have a story idea already filed away though, so always ask first. I usually prefer to work an entire season or year ahead of schedule, so that I can actually grow the subject, or project and photograph it along the way. The last thing most gardeners need is another thrown-together post about "a planted wall with herbs" that was just perfectly planted that very same day.

Product Design, I am a professional  designer so believe me when I say that not only am I a product designer with 28 years of experience,  my real talent is style and trend design - I have yet to combine all of these skills with garden products, but itching to. Of course, I am also an experience designer,(from art direction to digital design) and although,  I always need to be careful about crossing legal boundaries given my day job, if it isn’t a toy or entertainment product, let's talk.

 I am an aesthete, and visually driven to design stunning objects and experiences - really. I know many others will say the same thing, but once you see my portfolio, you may be surprised.  I am particularly curious about curating collections right now (licensing show? Housewares or garden products perhaps?). I have tremendous lifestyle and trend experience design under my belt (from restaurant concepts in Shanghai to retail stores in Tokyo and Paris), but all are highly confidential due again to my day job. That doesn't mean that I would be curious or open to discussing how I could partner with something - let's say more agricultural or horticultural.

I know that there are opportunities where I can change the gardening world  visually– I just havn’t taken that step yet. If you are a large brand looking to exercise your aesthetic expression in a really unique or innovative way, or in moving your consumer towards an awesome experience that  may still be appropriate for mass, but more premium or exclusive - or inventing a color palette or expression which your competitors haven’t thought of yet, let’s talk. It's what I really do.

3.     I could advocate on your brand’s behalf if you know that I use it or interact with it already.
This is always an option as well.



AFFILIATE PROGRAMS – I currently do not participate in the advertising affiliate programs  or with relationships like the Amazon Associates Program. Since I work for a major brand I prefer to keep my blog and business sides separate for obvious reasons. I also displike ad's on blogs, and prefer to keep the visual design of my blog, more curated and clean. 

ADVERTIZING NETWORKS – I currently am not a member any cooperative ad networks such as Google Adsense or Sovrn either. 


REVIEW AND TEST PLANTS and PLANT MATERIAL - I love to do this - just don't randomly send me a packet of 'wildflower'seeds and expect me to rave about them though. I am often asked to test plants, seeds or bulbs, both in my greenhouse, or in my garden. I raise vegetables, perennials, annuals, woody plants, alpines, orchids and particularly, bulbs –both tender and hardy.  I am rather competent in raising many types of plants, prefer challenges or plant material that will appeal to my more advanced and accomplished audience. I like raising difficult seeds through maturity. I often document many parts of any growing process/project, and I welcome the most extreme challenge in raising most any plant, be it a rare orchid, or an heirloom fig.

It is best to always ask me first however, and then we can schedule a project, as I take these tests seriously, and I can only handle a few each season due to time constraints. Sometimes, there is a fee, othertimes, not – it all depends on the product, the relative value, and the amount of involvement I will have.
I write very honest and fair reviews. Most plant reviews will take time, often as long as an entire growing season, but the end result is always well documented, with photos and results.  I prefer negotiate suggested posts in advance ( since certain plants may need 2 or 3 reviews throughout the growing season - plus a follow-up in the following year). Bulbous plants and container plants may require a longer planning period - but the results can be impressive, and highly effective. Remember, I am both a designer and an awesome plantsman (grower). 

Whenever I write about a book or product on this site, know that the opinions expressed are always mine. My positive opinion cannot be bought for any price.

As for my media kit - I am currently revising it - expect a new one by late summer 2016. Until then, email me with your proposal or ideas and we can chat.
Thanks for reading!

Matt Mattus
Updated 01/15


  1. First, I LOVE GETTING YOUR EMAILS about gardening, they are so inspiring and informative. BUT because the photos were so great, I had to find out what you do! So that makes it even more great, because I'm in the same business. But THEN to find out you work for Hasbro is icing on the cake: My local area, South Walton, has just created a Monopoly Game with the South Walton theme, so it has made this whole experience even closer! Keep up the great work, an avid fan! (sorry for three submissions - this 'prove I'm not a robot' is heckling me)

  2. Dear Matt,

    We would like to send you free sample of our product. What address can we send the item? Unfortunately, we can't send to PO Boxes.

    Dina Anggraeni
    Teak Closeouts

  3. Anonymous11:40 AM

    Hi Matt,
    There has been some email chatter in APS on the naming of Primula cultivars which is a bit random at the moment. A proposal is to set up a group between APS, NARGS and NAPS in UK to oversee registration of cultivar names to International standards. Could you bring this to NARGS attention to see whether they could support this effort; I believe NARGS AGM is the week following APS AGM in May.
    Alan Lawrence alawrenc@mwt.net

  4. IndiGoGo.com Product Launch on now.



    If there is any way for you to help promote our Product Launch we would greatly appreciate it. If you have any questions the best way is through e-mail. Thank-you for your time and consideration.

  5. Hello Matt,
    Quite frankly, I need to take a nap after reading about your many adventures, but interesting and creative they are!~ I've read quite a bit about plants on your site, but nothing about how to water those plants, which is what I'd like to talk to you about. The system in mind is old, (as in thousands of years old), relevant, and in our changing climate, necessary. Are you familiar with clay pot irrigation?
    Can we talk?
    Mary Kathryn

  6. Anonymous11:33 AM

    Hi Matt,
    I've just discovered your blog, Fantastic! I garden on 3 acres on Whidbey island (off the coast of Seattle.) Prior to reading your posts, I had no idea that I must have malmaison carnations (I ordered Duchess of Westminster) buddleia asiatica (ordered) and Citron etrog (ordered also from Logee's) As I go back and read older posts I know they will inspire more interests. ( oh oh ;-) Thank you for your energy and expertise! Cheers, Albert

  7. Anonymous5:41 AM

    I too have had an interest in Malmaison carnations, but mine is mere curiosity at this stage, so I read your latest blog with interest. I seem to recall something on one of the BBC programmes from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show about these rare blooms. My own quick look at the internet revealed the following - link to page below:

    Look forward to reading more. C

  8. I wish to talk to you. I love your blog. I'm a serious gardener and a flower arranger, started a non-profit organization Makiko Floral Design Garden Club in 2009. I've been in Southern California for 20 years, but I decided to settle down to Litchfield, CT.

  9. Check this out... I think you may think it is interesting and novel way to include plants in your daily life... https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1982070287/livi-a-new-way-to-experience-plants


Oh yes, do leave me a comment!


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