Monday, September 21, 2009

Busy last few days and travel ahead

Man, do I love what I do! Thursday and Friday of last week was just crazy! A long anticipated lecture by a world renowned plantsman and the first of several fall plant sales took place and as much as I love and look forward to events like these, they can certainly be stressful and there are times where I begin to ask, "Is it still worth the time and energy":

So, here's my humble booth at thie year's NHS Fall Plant Sale held in Magnussen Park. The banner looked great, my new signs were clearly visible and informative, but the plants didn't fly off the tables as fast as I would of liked them to. The first day, Friday, was great in that the sun came out and everyone was so eager to get in and shop. However, I was still pricing plants, taping signs to wood stakes, deciding where things should go, making last minute decisions about offering certain things that didn't look so great after being unloaded from the car, being asked to remove my sign to use another type of tape for the walls, while at the same time I had to be a salesman and a robotic plant encyclopedia for people. Then there are the familiar faces, the friends and colleagues who want to catch up and know about "how EVERYTHING is going". It really can be quite overwhelming, but I know deep down I'm truly enjoying myself.

Events like this have always been a way to get myself and my plants out there for people to see. However, this sale really made me think about the 40% I "sacrifice" for being in such a setting. It's a considerable about of money NHS (and the Arboretum Foundation) takes, but where else would I be able to be in a large crowd of avid and enthusiastic gardeners willing to buy my product. Onsite sales at Landwave are almost non-existent becaue the garden is in such terrible shape and my house situation makes me almost close my entire operation all together. So, I guess I don't have much of a choice.

The previous night, however, was one I will definitely remember for a long long time.

In anticipation of Roy Lancaster's talk for the Miller Foudation Lecture Series, I was joined by a fellow "Next Generation Gardener" who sort of appeared out of nowhere. His knowledge, experience, enthusiasm, and unparalled charisma leads me to think that he has the potential to be an icon in Pacific Northwest horticulture. Yes, and his scruffy good looks is an advantage.

Matthew Berberich (I keep typing and thinking of Berberis, when I write out his last name) is his name. He lives and runs his own professional gardening business over in the Olympic peninsula and every now and then, he hops over to this side of the pond to attend classes, workshops, and special events. We actually met at CUH when I was out gardening and he joked that I was very late in spring clean-up with a large Kniphofia at work and he was giving me shit about it. Then we started to chat plants and the rest was history!

Incredible experiences his guy has: He is a graduate of the program at the highly renowed and fabulous (so I've heard and only seen in videos and photos) Longwood Gardens, he interned at the former Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, and he's travelled to New Zealand and lived there for 6 months! He's a baby at 29 (okay so two years from fetal Riz) and is engaged to be married (sorry ladies...and gentlemen!), but what a character he is. He's like the long lost gardening buddy I've always fantasized about! The one you'd go on roadtrips with to nurseries or up in the mountains botanizing and wrestle for the chance to see a rare and illusive plant. And the one to bitch to when your Cytisus battandieri refuses to bloom.

So, I picked up Matt from the ferry to attend the Roy Lancaster lecture and boy was it excellent. Mr. Lancaster was such a warm and pleasant speaker and some of the plants he showcased were just to die for! I had an opportunity to meet him to sign a copy of his book and also give him my card. Not sure what good that will do as I don't expect to hear from him ever, but I thought it was a professional gesture in the hopes that he might see my name again.

There will be more opportunities to meet renowned and wonderful plantspeople in just a few hours as I'm headed to Raleigh, North Carolina for the Garden Writer's Association annual conference. I hope to see some familiar faces and be introduced to many new ones as The Next Generation Garden heads east for the first time in his life hoping to make a great impression in that part of the country.

Wish me luck!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to Matt's web site - I'll add it to my web page.

    I too feel that 40% is really too high. I've considered bailing out on all sales that take more than 30%, but not quite ready to put my foot down and do it yet. At least I can't complain about the level of service the NHS provides vendors during the sale.