I just choose to spend 3 of the most gorgeous fall weather days.…..inside. Yes, inside. Why on earth would any gardener in their right mind want to do that when we all know these perfect days of the season are numbered? It was possibly a revolutionary idea, a Revolutionary Gardens conference to be precise.
Our relatively small, rural environs is finally going to have it’s very own local botanic garden! Revolutionary Gardens was the fund-raiser for phase 2. The program brought together 3 great gardeners, garden author historians, and landscape architects — Peter Hatch, Director of Gardens and Grounds Emeritus, of Monticello; Andrea Wulf, author of The Brother Gardeners and Founding Gardeners; and Warren Byrd, noted landscape architect; in one scenic venue to hear some fabulous presentations on the history and future of gardening. They shared their insights and vision on gardens and gardening as the sustaining force in our country. Their presentations were inspiring and energizing! If you ever get a chance to hear a presentation by these wonderful speakers, Do It!
On a more detailed level, it was fun to hear Peter Hatch point out that prior to the 1850s gardening was synonymous with fruit gardening. Gardeners grew fruit, to drink it; mainly as cyder and perry. It was a significant point when people actually started eating their fruit. For me it was encouragement to continue to promote fruit growing as a vital part of gardening in our current times.
It was amusing to have Andrea Wulf show a slide of a large manure/compost pile and point out that in the days of the founding fathers, it was one of their most valued possessions; to the extend of one-upping each other over who had the best pile. It was comical to hear her relate that John Adams was reputed to have jumped out of a carriage as he passed by a roadside pile of a compatriot, pull straw from the pile, and proclaim his own pile to be far superior to the one in front of him. Keep composting folks! It’s the life blood of a good garden.
Warren Byrd’s vision of sustainability and how he considers a site before molding a landscape plan is important for all of us to keep in mind. It’s neither nice nor wise to work against “Mother Nature.” We will all benefit far more in respecting and working with her.
This conference was as invigorating as the smell of fresh soil after spring’s first good thunder shower. It provided valuable take-home lessons and reawakened for me some garden ideas and personal plans that have been a bit on the back burner. I’m so glad I had the chance to participate!