It's hard to believe that I left yesterday for my speaking engagement and am back and even more inspired about our upcoming spring after presenting up in Amherst, WI for the Garden Dreams symposium sponsored by the Portage County Master Gardener Volunteers. More on that later but I should mention that all of these photos were taken yesterday at Ed Lyon's home in Oregon, WI. I picked him up and we travelled together as he was also a speaker this morning at the symposium.
Not much to report from Friday. After our 5" of snow the night prior, I spent most of the morning with a snowblower and shovel. Thankfully Bill O. came in and helped out and despite having to tow back our Grasshopper (with large snowblower attachment) due to a broken choke cable, we took care of the snow removal efforts. I also saw Maury and Dr. Gredler but left around lunch time to go pick up Ed. Ed's home garden is on a residential lot on a major street in Oregon (WI) and is packed solid with plantings from front to back. I've enjoyed visits in the past during the growing season but didn't hesitate to grab my camera yesterday as he truly has a "four seasons" garden with plenty of winter interest. Note the dried arrangements in the top photo near his front door. What a great use of grasses, hydrangea, sedum, etc. To the right is one of his winter containers and the kale (Brassica) is still offering some interest. To the left is his neat "dragon" arch that leads up the front walk. Ed has an unbelievable variety of perennials and woody plants in his small garden (mostly shade) and I'm sure it has plenty of curb appeal as well.
Travel conditions up to Amherst, WI (just east of Stevens Point) were fine both going and coming back today. Amherst is also home to Central Waters Brewery and they make some yummy brews. We arrived at the Amherst Inn (www.amherstinn.com/) which is a nice B&B run by Bob and Tom. Both Ed and I had stayed their previously and enjoyed the hospitality and catching up with the fellas. This morning we had an early start to head over the the symposium. It was a great crowd (198 attendees) and Ed and I both mentioned how energetic and engaged the crowd was for the topics. I had some awesome conversations with some of the attendees and love speaking at that event. My talk on "Late Blooming Perennials" and Ed's talk on "Ornamental Grasses" were well received and while we didn't stay long enough to hear Samantha P. (from Olbrich Botanical Gardens) talk about "Container Gardens", I'm sure she had a great talk as well. Olbrich has some of the most creative container arrangements I've ever seen. We had a safe trip (2 hours) back to Oregon and talked about all things horticulture and the time went quickly. To the right is another of Ed's winter arrangements and the two photos below show the drying fruit of the beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst', I believe) that I didn't think would grow in our climate but was doing fine in Ed's yard. I'll be trying this one at RBG next year. Lots coming up on the RBG schedule including the Bonsai Basics talk next Wednesday evening (January 18th, 6:30 pm - 8 pm, $5 for Friends Members, $10 for others). Check out our website at www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org for information on other upcoming opportunities including our Spring Symposium (March 24).