Devils Workshop

has been moved to new address

Sorry for inconvenience...

E-Garden Almanac: Planting Passion: The Story of Why Gardener's Garden

E-Garden Almanac

The E-Garden Almanac is the push-button, real human journal of Kelly D. Norris. All errors, grammatic grievances, and opinions are that of the author. Kelly is a freelance writer and Master Gardener from southwest Iowa. His passion and obsession with horticulture, plants, and gardening embodies nearly every function of his life. The E-Garden Almanac serves as the web extension of his columns, articles, and lectures.
Learn more here!

My Photo
Location: Iowa

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Planting Passion: The Story of Why Gardener's Garden

And so begins my new book, just yesterday in fact. I've begun my summer-long journey across Iowa to find out the answer to the question "Why do gardener's garden?" Iowa gardeners are as passionate a lot as any green thumbs with a connection to the land that's uniquely agrarian, chiefly due to our way of life. In knowing some of these folks throughout my life, I've found myself in their gardens and in them. Gardening after all is communal.

My travels began yesterday in Ames and took me first to Oelwein's Fran Mara Garden, the home of Gary Whittenbaugh and his brother Tom. This collection of conifers is heralded by others, and me, as one of the best in the state and the Upper Midwest. A phenomenal 300 cultivars are jam packed onto a 70 x 150 lot which has slowly annexed small portions of both neighbors lots. Gardening isn't a choice here. It's a way of life! Gary and Tom cannot be pressed to pick favorites and Gary wittingly surmises that his favorite happens to be whichever one he's standing in front of at the moment. Though not biased to any one in particular, some solicit more commentary than others.

I left Gary's garden to visit three others, all developed by his hands and brilliant knack for creative placement. He's as much an artist as he is a horticulturist but then horticulture is really just a blend of art and science, isn't it?

Today my best friend Lindsey accompanied to me Clinton where we met with Francie Hill and Frances Bickelhaupt (known to her staff as "Mrs. B") at their namesake Bickelhaupt Arboretum. This is my second visit to this terrific public garden in four years and I'm just as impressed now as I was then. The weather was cool and a shy bit misty, perfect weather for enjoying an impressive collection of conifers for which the Arboretum is known. The commitment to public success with gardening radiated at every corner. EVERY plant had a label (and all I looked at where perfectly correct, a surpisingly novel advancement as far as public gardens can go), EVERY plant was well-groomed, and EVERY plant embued the garden with its unique candor and personality, something this plant collector gets ooey about when just recalling it. God I'm a plant nerd!
Tomorrow it's off to Wanda Lunn's garden in Cedar Rapids...lilies, irises, and so much more are in store. I anticipate it with puerile fascination!


Post a Comment

<< Home