Friday, April 11, 2008

Talking the talk


We gardeners love to talk about our obsession, so, as I see it, there’s not too much difference between doing it in normal conversation and doing it in front of an audience. As long as you know your topic, you should be fine.

And yet. I gave a talk on summer bulbs Thursday night at Urban Roots, our local co-op garden center (kudos to Buffalo for having such a thing!), and though I was well prepared, I still felt a bit uneasy looking over the audience as I blabbed away and noticed their nods of knowledge and understanding. Well, if they already know, I’m thinking, why are they here? “Yes, but this pulled it all together,” said one attendee afterwards. OK then!

My subject was summer bulbs, though only one plant I discussed is a true bulb: my favorite, lilium. I then went down the list of the tubers: colocasia (and boy are these gaining on lilies as all these wild hybrids come out!), canna, and dahlia. There are so many more, but I felt it best to talk more on each then skim through a long list. I know that these plants provide a long season of color and flamboyant foliage for Buffalo gardeners. Of course, the thing is to encourage these gardeners to buy their bulbs from Urban Roots, but that’s worthy. It didn’t stop me from talking about all my favorite mail order places.

One big glitch: idiotically, I really wasn’t sure how to make my computer screen project (yeah, F7, duh) but we figured it out. The questions came pretty regularly, and I got to air my longheld conviction that sometimes it’s really just fine to treat some of these plants as annuals and compost them, buying anew rather than overwintering. You’re helping the nurseries and guaranteeing yourself a viable plant. For 3-5 bucks or whatever, why not? Though the colocasias I have from Brent and Becky’s and (soon) from Plant Delights are so very, very cool, I will strive to save them. A couple of the babies I just got are shown above (esculenta "Yellow Splash" and "Illustris").

Summer bulbs and tubers: so much reward over so many weeks. This year I will depend on them more than ever.

9 comments:

Nancy said...

I'm very spoiled by my tropical climate. I leave almost everything in the ground, and it usually comes back up. I only protect the tender potted plants, and since I've the pond I can build an enclosure around, even they get to overwinter outside.

That said, I think I'm experiencing some Hellebore envy...

kate smudges said...

It sounds as if your talk went well, screen and all. This Colocasia is a real eye-catcher. For the first time last year, I planted Cannas. They made a great display. I'm planning for more this year ... might just have to add some colocasia.

EAL said...

Yes, and that is just the baby. By all means, try Brent and Beckys. Their packing is fantastic.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I just love colocasia. I have tried them several times and they haven't done well in my garden. I might try them again and just have them in a pot. That might be the way to go. Of course my Sister can grow them and leave them in the ground even tho they shouldn't survive her winters. Drats.

Pam/Digging said...

Congrats on your talk. Prepared or not, it's not an easy thing to get up and talk to an audience, especially a knowledgeable one.

EAL said...

Pam, your talk subject (woodland edges) sounds much more sophisticated than mine.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I like that colocasia, EAL. The splashing reminds me of the variegation on this one neat strand of philodendron that I have growing in my mishmashed pot. (Of course, it's the one that doesn't grow quite enough for easy propagation.)

Layanee said...

It is sometimes a bit difficult to read an audience isn't it? I used to give quite a few gardening talks when slides were the rage. I haven't mastered power point and don't have a laptop so...maybe sometime. I'm glad someone gave you positive comments. I once gave a talk to a GC whose average age was 75 and one of the members brought her mother. Never turn the lights out on old ladies. Two of them were asleep when they went back on. That is pretty humbling but hey, these ladies needed their sleep!

Pat Leuchtman said...

Elizabeth -

Thanks for sharing your talk on the blog. I never hard of colcasias. But I have now and I'm so glad. I haven't done all my spring shopping yet. Isn't that lucky?