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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gardening Symposium!

I took the day off of work and went to a gardening symposium sponsored by Horticulture magazine and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. There were four speakers: Nancy Dillon, Carol Reese, Vincent Simione, and Rob Procter. Apparently, they've been having these symposiums for several years, at least every other year, and I didn't know about it! The reason I knew about it this time was I received a flyer in the mail.

I enjoyed the program, but did think about how my non-gardening friends and co-workers would find it odd to spend a day listening to 4 different people talk about gardening and show their slides of various gardens and plants. I imagined they would roll their eyes upon hearing someone say "they are doing a lot of interesting things with witch hazels these days". The overall topic was "Color in the Garden".

I was a bit surprised to see that each speaker used ACTUAL SLIDES for their presentations. As in slides on a carousel with a slide projector. And the slides didn't always start out in focus so someone had to fiddle with them. At least they didn't have any slides in upside down! They really should switch to digital cameras and PowerPoint slides. (Although I suspect they have digital cameras, and then get the slides made from the digital pictures, which seems odd.) Okay enough critique of the technology.

Helen is from Ireland, and has a beautiful, small garden in the city, Dublin I think. I was inspired to think that in a space about the size of my backyard, she has created a beautiful garden with no lawn. She also admitted that she tears out what isn't working and replants areas. I looked up her books on Amazon when I got home, and ended up buying a used copy of one of them from a reseller.

Carol is from Mississippi, now living in Tennesee. A far different accent than Helen. She talked a lot about tropical plants in the garden and had quite a sense of humor. I liked her style and willingness to make fun of herself and gardening & go out on a limb with both her plants and her humor. I liked that she takes black plastic pots that nursery plants come in and paints them to make attractive containers on a low budget.

Vincent was from Long Island. He talked after lunch and admitted up front he wasn't as funny as Carol or Helen. He went through an alphabetical listing of flowering shrubs. I was pleased that I already had several on the list, including Deutzia. I did decide while he talked that I am going to pull out all the *(\!&^@ English ivy that I planted in the bed with the Deutzia and give the Deutzia some room to grow. That's something I can do anytime the weather cooperates.

Rob is from Denver. He was actually the only speaker I had heard of prior to the symposium. He was very entertaining and had some EYE POPPING pictures of his rather small garden in Denver. He uses pots, a hundred or hundreds of them and over winters a lot of tropicals. I decided that I would try to grow some more tropicals and see if I could over winter them successfully. I really laughed when someone asked him about a striking magenta flower in one of his pictures and he said something along the lines of "I'm not telling you, only I can have it, and you can't have it", doing a very good impression of a snobby gardener. FYI, it was Dianthus giganteus.

'Tis evening now, and regardless of taking the day off, I do have some work items to catch up on before tomorrow. Why didn't I think to take tomorrow off and have FOUR DAY WEEKEND!

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