Friday, October 8, 2010
I am so pumped.
The Midsouth Native Plant Conference kicked off tonight at the Dixon, and like all great events, it started with food. A barbecue buffet, wine station, and beer from Memphis' own Ghost River Brewery were set up in the garden pavilion - a lovely building and outdoor terrace built on the site of the garden's original greenhouse.
Meandering back through the garden's pathways (there were lanterns in the trees!), I stopped to admire an unfamiliar plant. "What is this," I asked the lady behind me. "That's artillery fern, only it's not a fern," a man chimed in. "It's a member of the Pilea family, and it's called an artillery fern because if you shake the stems the seed pods go flying like, three feet. Beautiful isn't it?" And there he was, Felder Rushing, rock star of the native plant world, on his way back from grabbing a little barbecue too. And, yes, he was wearing his hat.
Felder's lecture, which started a few minutes later, was a gentle and humorous prod to live harmoniously with our planet: collect rain water, use pesticides judiciously, follow your gardening bliss. He also peppered his talk with homespun advice. I particularly loved his instructions for composting, which he credited to his mom: Quit throwing the stuff away, and pile it up somewhere. Felder doesn't even turn his compost piles. Don't you just love that?
When I got home, I sat outside in my courtyard and gave the garden a good once over. The flowers are spent, the tomato plants never grew tomatoes, the leaves are starting to fall, and the crickets are singing despite the cool nights. There is work to be done, and it is perfect.