Green . . . Any Way You Look At It
Yankee Doodle Dandy

Weekend Overload

This was one of the those weekends. . . when I need a weekend to get over my weekend!

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(This is possibly the coolest plant I've ever seen!  Too bad the owner had no idea what it was!)

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been at "Master Gardener College" (Michigan's annual state conference for Master Gardeners) for the last three days.

On Friday, it was a day-long field trip to a variety of plant growers in the West Michigan area.  We visited Walters Gardens -- a wholesale grower specializing in perennials.  We got to see all areas of their operations, including the very nifty tissue labs!

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And we visited Wavecrest Nursery on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Oh, this is a fabulous place -- well-known for their trees and shrubs (and the originator of the weeping larch).

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We visited the Saugatuck Brewing Company for lunch -- and a lecture on the hops industry in Michigan.

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Then we headed to Spring Meadow Nursery -- another wholesale grower on the lakeshore.  You may have heard of them . . . they are the originators of the Proven Winners® line of flowering shrubs.

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We ended our day with a garden tour at the home of the owner of Spring Meadow Nursery -- which serves as a real-life testing ground for their plants.  It was fun to see things that haven't hit the market yet -- and hear about things that never will!

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On Saturday, it was a full day of conference sessions.  New plant introductions, the latest horticulture research from Michigan State University, composting, bees, and interior lakeshore gardening --- that's how I spent my day.

On Sunday, it was time for my favorite part of the conference --- home garden tours! 

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Wow!

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Some people*. . .

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have incredible. . .

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absolutely amazing. . .

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gardens!

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It was fabulous!  Every minute.  I'm inspired. . . but also tired!

*I was somewhat heartened to learn that the two biggest (and most amazing) gardens we visited were professionally designed and installed, and one of those is professionally maintained.  Puts my own gardening in perspective!

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The Power of Gardening

This is Norm.

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Norm was the bus driver on our Friday tour.  He was very sweet; very pleasant and cheerful.  A good bus driver.  I don't think he could quite figure out the excitement of his gardener passengers, though.  By our second stop, he was following the group around, listening to the tour guide.  I was hanging back, taking photos.  He asked me why we were so interested . . . because the plants weren't even flowering.  I explained, as best I could, about the allure of gardening; the love of plant material; the appeal of foliage.  Norm nodded politely.

By the last stop of the day, I noticed Norm again -- checking out the gardens at the home of the owner of Spring Meadow Nursery.  This time, Norm had his own camera out.  He was snapping shots of the landscape left and right!  He was even using the macro feature on his point-and-shoot to capture the beauty of pine cones, variegated leaves, and hydrangea buds.

I think Norm might have caught the bug!

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