It’s All About the Plants: Davidson Horticultural Symposium

“Something made me pick up a spade and start digging; and with the smell of newly turned earth, I felt my life returning.” Holly Shimizu, United States Botanic Garden

“A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”  Liberty Hyde Bailey

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John Bartram at the Davidson Horticultural Symposium, 2014. It’s All About the Plants. Celebrating 30 years of educational horticulture.

During the 30th anniversary of this fabled gathering, the committee decided to literally go back to its roots and be all about the plants. Their speaker roster includes a Who’s Who of the most famous horticultural speakers, writers, plant hunters, photographers, growers, scientists, horticulturists, designers and artists known to the industry.

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Paula Gross, Holly Shimizu and David Culp photographing gardens in the rain. True dedication. Beautiful lighting.

For this season’s special program, they returned to the reason that we garden: for the joy and inspiration we feel when observing the subtleties of form, color, touch, fragrance, and history of the plants.

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Holly Shimizu, US Botanic Garden, and Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden, garden touring in Davidson North Carolina.

And then they asked me to deliver the keynote address. I could not have been more honored, thrilled or astounded to be included. It was an horticultural blessing.

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The house was packed at the Knobloch Campus Center of Davidson College, Davidson North Carolina

The tribes gathered in Davidson North Carolina. It was held in the Knobloch Campus Center of Davidson College. The program was sold out.

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John Bartram was the opening Keynote Speaker at the Davidson Horticultural Symposium: It’s All About the Plants. 2014.

The other speakers chosen for this auspicious day included David Culp on tour with his book The Layered Garden. Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the US Botanic Garden, spoke of the history of that illustrious institution and the many collections that it houses. Paula Gross, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, delivered the design lecture of the day basing her presentation on a Southwestern Plantswoman’s Favorites. The program closer was Tony Avent, owner and raconteur from Plants Delight Nursery and Juniper Level Botanical Gardens in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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The Zimmerman house was an authentic recreation of a Renaissance Florentine Villa. Magnificent dedication to the art of architecture married to landscape.

We five speakers were treated to lunch by the occupants of an Italian Renaissance Florentine villa.

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The Renaissance forecourt gave obvious views to the house but allowed for its defense in times of siege.

For the event we were seemingly transported to the countryside surrounding that ancient and famous city for the sheer delight of the possibility.

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A recreated Renaissance pipe organ. The sound was ethereal.

The lord of the manor pleased our desires and played his authentic 16th Century bellows pipe organ. It was a meal and an occasion that blissfully blended the centuries and the stories. Fiction is never the equal to fact.

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We raised a toast in a recreated southern-style barn. It was the perfect evening before the Davidson Horticultural Symposium.

John and Ann Professional

John Bartram was joined by Sara E. Stine Brown at lunch during the Davidson Symposium. Kirk Brown was just out of the picture frame.

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There was time between speakers to enjoy networking in a gathering space outside of the hall. Here John Bartram is joined by Marian St Clair from Greenville South Carolina.

On the evening prior to the event, our hosts gathered at a celebratory dinner in a great hall of communal proportions. The networking was outstanding. I was feted, wined and dined in great style and superior harmony.

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I caught Kirk Brown with his wife in this picture from the evening’s gathering in the woodland barn. We all had an amazing time at the Davidson Horticultural Symposium.

On the day of the lectures, the crowds gathered in the lobby during recesses in order to participate in networking opportunities and purchase much-in-demand books. The stellar opportunity also existed to partake in delicious foods and flavors native to the region. And, as always, plants were offered for sale!

West Chester University Tree Campus USA

West Chester University Tree Campus USA

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”  John Muir

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”   Mahatma Gandhi

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

A gathering of tree tenders.

West Chester University was named Tree Campus USA. A ceremony of dedication was planned by School’s Administration during Earth Week and specifically on Arbor Day. 

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

Formal dedication of the Tree Campus USA with the great Bartram Oak standing behind.

In order to qualify for Tree Campus USA status, an institution of higher learning must submit an application that demonstrates they have adhered to a set of five standards: 

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

The office of the President of West Chester University. Mr. and Mrs. Greg Weisenstein with Mr. and Mrs. John Bartram.

Standard 1—Establish a Campus Tree Advisory Committee. This committee must include a representative from the undergraduate or graduate student body, faculty, facility management, and the community at large. 

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

John and Ann Mendenhall Bartram near the gothic arcade.

Standard 2—Manage a Campus-wide Tree Care Plan. From a clearly stated purpose, goals and objectives will be outlined. Responsibility and accountability will be defined. 

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

A true photographic opportunity.

Standard 3—Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures. The hard work of establishing any garden is the money required to plant and maintain it. A suggested budget of $3.00 per student is a base line. In fact, the national average among recognized Tree Campuses is currently $9.00 to $11.00 per student. That is an empowering statement of intent. 

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

The Earth Day celebration carried over onto the Campus Quadrangle.

Standard 4—Celebrate Arbor Day. I was present to witness the monumental undertakings that the college had put in place.

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

A War Reinactment and conflict of interesting peoples.

They had a grand military reenactment, a quad-full of earth day student organizations, and the recognition of their Bartram Oak. With John Bartram. Outstanding! 

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

Schedule 5 has students, faculty and the community planting trees on the West Chester University Campus

Standard 5—Development of a Service Learning Project. At West Chester, the student body was actively involved in a series of tree planting and gardening projects. This was a very life-affirming group of young adults. 

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

In the wilderness searching for colonies of wild Ginseng.

After the ceremony, I was shown the wilderness preserve. It was the spring season when the forest floor was coming alive. The curator of the wilds directed me to an area fenced off as protection from deer predation. The fencing was protecting wild Ginseng. 

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

In the Darlington Herbarium, perusing Humphrey Marshall’s collection of Bartram’s Garden Franklinia alatamaha.

Lastly, the director of the herbarium unlocked the door to a room of wonder. Behind locked metal doors on cabinets lining the walls were books filled with hundreds of dried examples of natural botanical history. A book was brought out and placed on the clean steel surface in front of me. It was the collection samples gathered by Humphrey Marshall from Bartram’s Garden. 

Humphrey was my cousin. Our mothers were sisters. He had a collection of native specimens in a botanical garden he created in Marshallton. In 1785, he published Arboretum Americanum: the American Grove, an Alphabetical Catalogue of Forest Trees and Shrubs, Natives of the American United States. 

And there in my hands was the result of his passionate dedication to collecting. From my garden. And possibly a leaf and flower from the first successfully cultivated Franklinia Altamaha.

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Humphrey Marshall, West Chester University, Tree Campus USA, Darlington Herbarium

The surprise of coming up against a Franklinia leaf collected from Bartram’s Garden in the first generation of its discovery.

Kimmel Center and Chef Staib’s Taste of History

Kimmel Center and Chef Staib’s Taste of History

“My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied by the best.”  Winston Churchill

“There cannot be good living where there is not good drinking.”   Ben Franklin

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

It was an historic gathering. The cause was to celebrate a major anniversary of Mr. Thomas Jefferson. But the truth of the group’s selection was a celebration of food stuffs from the 18th Century.

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

Thomas Jefferson was in the spotlight. It was, after all, his birthday we were there to celebrate!

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

At the post-performance reception, Chef Walter Staib had a moment to share his confidence with John Bartram.

Chef Walter Staib is the host of the contemporary version of the City Tavern. He has brought notoriety to the unique foods, preparations, and services of hospitality from the days of my major travels.

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

The Kimmel Center is only blocks away from The City Tavern where all of this history would have occurred.

Mr. George Washington was accompanied by his most gracious wife, Martha. The two were certainly the centerpiece of the evening’s story line. They formed the stolid center around which the ceremonial gavotte was danced.

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

The rehearsal for the opening night was centered on General Washington. For him, there was no separate character or change of costume. Perfection.

Mr. John Adams and the educated Abigail were the highly erudite personalities in the room. I felt humbled by the thoughts articulated in their dialogue. While their loving considerations were well noted, John’s presence was overshadowed by Abigail, to whom I must give the present of “Outstanding Female Contributor” to the evening’s thoughts.

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

The First Ladies enjoyed moments of conversation.

She was joined in feminine felicitude by Dolley Madison and Betsy Ross. They joined in civil conversation during the evening by trading on popular stories of their meetings and musings. They held the stage brilliantly.

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

The First Ladies treated Betsy Ross like an equal. This is an egalitarian democracy!

Thomas Jefferson reviewed his history of the creation and publication of his grand Declaration. The true politics of the situation were overlooked in the gentlemanly good humor of the night. It would have been inappropriate to discuss those disagreements from the other side of the Atlantic.

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

Always contentious, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson played at gentlemanly combat.

For me, however, the supreme appearance of the evening was made by my close friend and most influential mentor, Benjamin Franklin. After all these years, it was so good to see that time doesn’t dim the glow of old friendships and the fireworks from halcyon days.

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

Ben Franklin. Simply said. Well done!


He was up to his old standards of political gamesmanship, delivery of humorous bon mots, and attitude of all-powerful elder statesman. Truly, he has aged like old and extra fine brandy.

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

Ben Franklin–as always!–was the life of the post-production party.

How remarkable to live to an age where this gathering can take on such round tones and happy hazing. It was spectacular to end the evening with a rousing rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

The women rehearse. How different we all are sans costumes.

The rocket’s red glare could have been the reflection from the many theatrical lighting devices clustered around this revolutionary pantheon. Amazing!

Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Chef Walter Staib, A Taste of History, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA

John Bartram is ready for the spotlight!

Going to The Hamptons and Old Westbury

Going to The Hamptons and Old Westbury

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”   F. Scott Fitzgerald,  The Great Gatsby

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”    F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

These Montauk Daisies are given their name because of their location: Montauk Point, Long Island, New York.

I was told that I needed to travel to “The Hamptons.” It was a journey of many miles and required travel over several large water courses. The Hamptons are on the Long Island of New York State.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

The 18th Century means of transport to and around Long Island New York.

Its nature is one of sand dunes, pines, and junipers. In the fall it’s spotted with large colonies of Montauk Daisies. It is a summer retreat for wealthy city dwellers. They look to the cooling ocean breezes and the proximity to salt water to remind them of comfort and ease against the stress of Manhattan.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

Old Westbury Gardens. The mansion.

There are many mansions. One that we visited was called Old Westbury. It was grander in scope and dimension than any of the finest residences in Philadelphia.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

The dining room was crafted in the Georgian style. It was a room to entertain Kings.

The dining room alone would encompass my entire house of Kingsessing.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

Old Westbury Gardens garden folly feature.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

Old Westbury Gardens. The mixed flower borders. A perfect English pleasure garden.

But the turn in the gardens was worth the ransom of a King. They were magnificent. The borders were developed and planted along the English model. The grand sweep of lawns would have graced any Duke or Baron’s estate designed by Lancelot Capability Brown.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

The Great Beech on the West Terrace of Old Westbury Gardens. It was transplanted to this location as a mature tree.

On the West Porch of the mansion there is an ancient Beech (Fagus sylvatica) This large specimen was transplanted into its position many years ago while it was already a gigantic caliper tree. The effort is greatly appreciated because its situation is perfectly scaled to the garden room at that end of the house.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

The Westhampton Beach Garden Club gathered in the club house of Westhampton Country Club. It was a well-lit room.

I was invited to speak at the garden club of Westhampton Beach. We met in the mansion-house of a sequestered golf course. The room was crowded but lit through large expanses of clerestory windows.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

High tea after the presentation before the Westhampton Beach Garden Club meeting in the Westhampton Country Club.

High cream tea was served in the dining room. Ann and I were treated well with all of the trimmings associated with leisure and royal breeding. I felt like I had been transported to London in the time of my great correspondent, Peter Collinson.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

Ah the lifestyle entices. The beach calls. Calm overtakes the senses.

At the end of the day, it was pleasant to think that we could relax in Old Westbury’s gazebo as the sun sank in the west. West Hampton.

Westhampton Beach Garden Club, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Old Westbury Gardens, Montauk Daisies, The Hamptons

Old Westbury Gardens gazebo at sundown.

Bartram’s Boxes at the Philadelphia Flower Show

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Sara Brown, Ann Mendenhall Bartram, PHS, Philadelphia Flower Show

John and Ann Bartram in their recreated garden at the Philadelphia Flower Show

“My head runs all upon the works of God in nature. It is through that telescope I see God in his glory.”   John Bartram, December 3, 1762

“Since ten years old, I had a great inclination to plants.  I knew all that I observed by sight, though not by the proper names having no person or books to instruct me.”   John Bartram

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Ann Mendenhall Bartram, Sara E. Brown, Philadelphia Flower Show, Williamson Technical School

The history of Bartram in his garden was explained by the display constructed by Williamson Technical School at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

It was a glorious day to return to Philadelphia. Members of the senior class of Williamson Technical School unveiled their exhibition on the cultivation, harvesting, packing, and transport of plants and seeds for my Bartram’s Boxes. This major tribute to my seminal work on the distribution of native plant species through the horticultural world was on display at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Ann Mendenhall Bartram, Sara E. Brown, Philadelphia Flower Show, Williamson Technical School

John Bartram fronting the Williamson Technical School booth on the historic Bartram’s Boxes.

I greatly enjoyed sitting in the front of the display. Some would say that it is the height of recognition to have a booth at the world famous Philadelphia Flower Show dedicated to one’s life’s work. So noted! The show’s sponsor, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, is an organization founded in 1827 at a meeting “of gentleman farmers, botanists and other plant enthusiasts” that included members of my family. From that simple beginning such a tremendous show has grown.

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Ann Mendenhall Bartram, Sara E. Brown, Philadelphia Flower Show, Williamson Technical School

The display of seeds introduced by Bartram in his overseas shipments of botanical boxes was encyclopedic.

On exhibit were bags of all of my most favored plant species: Quercus rubra (Red Oak,) Acer rubrum (Red Maple,) Magnolia grandiflora and all of the magnificent understory shrubs. The assortment was greater than any I’d seen collected since days of my youth!

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Ann Mendenhall Bartram, Sara E. Brown, Philadelphia Flower Show, Williamson Technical School

All of the samples were displayed in historically authentic context. The boxes would actually have looked like this.

The team of students from Williamson was a collection of scholars, botanists, artists and carpenters that reminded me of me at the same age. They were enthusiastic in their conversation. They were engaged with the topic. They were well turned out.

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Ann Mendenhall Bartram, Sara E. Brown, Philadelphia Flower Show, Williamson Technical School

There were substantial awards given to the Williamson Technical School Booth on their demonstration of the Bartram’s Boxes.

As a result of their study and their industry, the display was awarded many prestigious prizes. I was very glad for them that their effort received its due recognition. How amazing after all of these years to be confronted with the very image of my house and garden and work rooms and packing stations.

History can and does repeat itself!

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Ann Mendenhall Bartram, Sara E. Brown, Philadelphia Flower Show, Williamson Technical School

The major awards for this display on Bartram’s Boxes reflected the student’s dedication and passion to the subject. John Bartram would have been very, very proud!

Williamson Free School Gardeners and the Quaker Botanical Trade

“I am continually impelled by a restless spirit of curiosity in pursuit of new productions of nature, my chief happiness consists in tracing and admiring the infinite power, majesty, and perfection of the great almighty Creator, and in the contemplation, that through divine aid and permission, I might be instrumental in discovering and introducing into my native country, some original productions of nature, which might become useful to society.”    William Bartram

Williamson Free School, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, Philadelphia Flower Show

The flag is displayed proudly on the parade ground of Williamson Free School where all classes and categories of students gather each morning for roll.

The landscape and horticulture students at Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades are working on an exhibit demonstrating the complexity of trading in botanical specimens during the 18th century.  Their investigations in the trans Atlantic crossing of seeds, roots, cuttings, divisions and containers will be unveiled to the horticultural public during this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show:  http://www.theflowershow.com/  It will be a brilliant assemblage of English landscape design and American scientific ingenuity.

John Bartram, Philadelphia Flower Show, Kirk R. Brown, Williamson Free School

This miniature model of Independence Hall displays the level of professionalism and horticultural excellence attained by featured exhibits on the show floor.

The senior class, under the tutelage of Chuck Feld, invited me to tour their campus and discourse on the technical challenges of sending the dozens of Bartram’s Boxes that successfully landed on English shores.  Officially, the students attend this school to receive training in programs that award them a degree as an Associate in Specialized Technology.  Also helping the Horticulture, Landscaping and Turf Management class will be the combined efforts of the other programs in Carpentry, Paint and Coatings, Construction Technology and Machine Tool Technology.  http://www.williamson.edu/about/history.htm

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Philadelphia Flower Show, Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades

John Bartram joins the seniors of the Horticulture, Landscape and Turf class at Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades.

The display will showcase all of the native North American botanicals that I introduced to the world of horticulture through my correspondence with many of the world’s most famous men of letters, science, and industry:  James Logan, Peter Collinson, Philip Miller, Carl Linnaeus, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Catesby, Peter Kalm, Johann Gronovius, and Johann Dillenius.

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Philadelphia Flower Show, Williamson Free School

John in a familiar pose of writing to his many horticultural correspondents.

Featured in the exhibit will be rooted seedlings of the Franklinia alatamaha.  This tree, collected on a tour through the swamps of Georgia along the Alatamaha River, was never again found in wild after the early part o the 19th century.  The examples that we now have of it are all descendants of the original copse of trees that my son William and I discovered in 1765.

John Bartram, William Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, Franklinia alatamaha

John and William Bartram discovered the unique Franklinia during a collecting trip along the Alatamaha River in Georgia.

The exhibit will educate the masses about the how, why, when, where, and who of the start of international horticulture.  This fine concept will ultimately recognize the amazing vitality and economic incentive given the art and science of botany by those members of the Philadelphia Quaker community.  Please stop by the booth on your trip through this “Brilliant” Philadelphia Flower Show between March 2 and 10.  I will be fronting the booth to welcome all comers during the first weekend of the display.

Williamson Free School, John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown Philadelphia Flower Show

The senior carpentry class from Williamson Free School will be constructing the bones of the Philadelphia Flower Show Educational Exhibit

As the spring season opens, more will be said about the specifics of the display and the difficulty of translating a vision of 300 years of international plant search and sharing.

Travels Through a Green Nation

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  Confucius

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance;  one cannot fly into flying.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

My amanuensis, Kirk R. Brown, has scheduled some days apart from me in this winter season.  He is attending to his personal business on many fronts relating to the greening of America.  These days and in this particular season they have gatherings of our clans of fellow gardeners across this vast country of ours.  He loves what he does.  His connections are numerous and his ease on meeting strangers makes good friends of potential enemies.  He plays the fool well but does not easily suffer them.

Kansas City National Green Center

This is a trade show rebranded from the original Western Nursery and Landscape Association

These clannish troupings of our tribal green color bring together all manner of possible combinations:  product endorsements, improvements, plants, equipment (a very mannish, clannish thing indeed!), educational opportunities, recognitions, reconnections, and escape from our everyday existence in an office or nursery or garden.  Kirk was farther afield last week than was in my awareness of time and space.

National Green Center Kansas City

Ball Horticultural put out a colorful display of their new selections

He went to Kansas:  a place over the rainbow and a left turn at the North Star.  Great, green fields awaited his arrival.  Fertile oases of alluvial ground watered by a great river in the center of our continent.  In life’s travels we pass many streams but once.  You must make special note of passing a great watershed.  Kirk retells his experience in Kansas last week as the passing of a great watershed.

Western Landscape and Nursery Association

A trade show floor is full of the products from the world of nature. Evergreen!

This clan was rebranded within a twelve-month period.  It was an ancient root out of the west.  Its lands and nurseries were abundant and strong throughout it 125 plus year history.  As with many old things, changes come sometimes planned, sometimes by choice, and most times by need.  Take my own ancient life as an example!  They needed to view life in a new way.

Western Nursery and Landscape Association

The latest in equipment for garden illumination. How I wish it had been available in my youth!

The new clan is known as “The National Green Center!”  Isn’t that wonderful?  What a unique concept.  They believe themselves to be the center of this country’s green movement.  Isn’t that brazen?  My Darby Meeting would hardly approve, but then we know what they felt about my outrageousness.

Western Nursery and Landscape Association

Color abounded in Kansas City

But this group of wise and far-sighted leaders wished to fly into a new dawn.  Realizing that they had need for wings, they first thought to dance.  The analogy fits like a clogger’s shoe.  It is hard and dynamic–dramatic almost–in its use.  They decided to first refashion the style of production:

They renamed.  They refit.  They colorized.  They developed a sense of Fashion!  They thought to enlist the help of other clans.  They recognized strangers and invited fellow travelers.  They opened the doors in preparedness for the day when the feathers would be dry and flight could be achieved.

Western Nursery and Landscape Association

Networking opportunities were abundant. Michael Dirr confers with Reps from Bailey Nurseries and Ball Horticultural.

I heartily applaud the steps they’ve taken to ensure all of our collective and natural futures.  I congratulate them on their need to be sustainable:  in organization, in fiscal responsibility, and in connection.  With this green botanical nature that courses through all of us, we need to hold close and respect deeply those who choose to do battle with the angry gods of commerce and industry.