Jan 29, 2010


Photos from top to bottomt: Conservatory Garden, Central Park designed by Lynden Miller, Emory Knoll Farm owned by Ed Snodgrass, Margaret Roach's hideway in Columbia County, New York.
Plant-o-rama (Horticultural Trade Show & Symposium)
presented by Metro Hort and The Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Plant-o-rama, the annual meeting of the garden mafia of the Metropolitan area gathered together several Godfathers of the gardening world, their respective "families" and a few interlopers (of which, I consider myself one).  And like all families, rivalries, jealousies, and love co-exist.

For the event, an all-star line-up was assembled.

Lynden Miller was up first.  An irrepressible cheerleader for public parks, Lynden "threw out the first pitch."  She is a doer, not just a talker.  "Make something beautiful and they will come.  Make it interesting all year round and they will come back."  Miller believes in the power of gardens to transform the city.  And over the course of a long career, she has designed great public spaces, cajoled wealthy individuals to support public parks and maintained them in pristine order.  All of this stems from a conviction, that creating beauty in a public setting telegraphs a message to people:  you are worth it.  And for Miller, we are worth it!

Ed Snodgrass was up mext.  Ed is a doyen of the green roof world.  Growing up on a farm may not make you a straight-talking realist, but Ed certainly is.  He stayed away from all the cliches associated with green roofs.  The word sustainable was never mentioned.  Instead, Snodgrass focused his attention on an analysis of what plants worked where, and under what conditions.  What the pay back was for a functional green roof vs. a designed green roof.  The take away:  Be careful what you wish for, OR if you create a green roof, know what you want.

Margaret Roach, spoke last and possibly the best was saved for last.  Self-taught (and boy, has she done a good job), Margaret concentrated on the piece of property she has gardened on since leaving Martha Steward Living.

Roach was the leader of the plant pack.  My attention was drawn to the species peony, "Molly The Witch" (P.mlokosewitschii).  The minute I got home, I googled and found a nursery that sells "Molly The Witch", for a very princely sum.  Celandine poppy, (Stylophorum diphyllum) made Lynden Miller wince.  Margaret admitted it was a thug, but... a beautiful thug.  Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), Japanese Poppy (Hylomecon japonicum) and interestingly, Red Lungwort (Pulmonaria rubra), with its coral-red flowers in early Spring.  As Margaret pointed out, when do you see red in Spring?

Humility, with a touch of the evangelical, Roach's talk had an overarching message:  L O O K...
look at what's under your feet
look up at the sky
look out the window
just keep looking and observing the natural world.

A day spent with a "family" of gardeners is a day well spent.  It reinforces my belief that gardeners are most generous people in the world.


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