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.