Like I do most years at this time, I spent the better part of the week at the Mid Atlantic Horticulture Short Course. I help out a little bit, attend a few classes, catch up with previous acquaintances as well as make new contacts. You may be able to imagine what it is like to be among hundreds of landscapers, growers, turf people, designers, arborists, retailers, academics, master gardeners, specialists, extension agents, etc... When you get this many plant people together, talking about what they love, the halls are not quiet.
The classes I took varied, and several of them I entered with low expectations thinking I would learn little new, only to be made wrong. Usually I enjoy classes the most that take me places I'll likely never see. In particular I enjoyed the flora of the Capetown area of South Africa as presented by Marcia Stefani of Virginia Tech, and Mark Weathington's (of the J.C. Raulston Arboretum) tales of adventures with Tony Avent plant hunting in China and Japan. Keeping in the exotic frame of mind, I attended a talk given by Sam McCoy whose company Ozbreed Plants sells drought tolerant Australian plants to American growers. He had some way cool stuff, but I reserve judgement until I see how they handle our cold and our rains. The lushest photos I saw were shown by landscape designer and author Scott Calhoun of Zona Gardens. Perhaps the highlight of my week was seeing images of my own garden on the giant screen at the end of the room. Helen Yoest of Garden With Confidence taught several classes and included some shots of my garden taken this past summer. It was quite flattering and only added to a very satisfying week - one that always makes me want to come home and get my hands dirty.
Now for some completely unrelated, but recently taken photos.
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Blue Bird'
put your name in the hat for my blogging anniversary prize and haven't done so, you still have until the 31st. Also, it goes without saying that my usual disclaimer applies to this post in that I have received no compensation for mentioning any of the above people or entities, but am as always open to persuasion.