~ Leo Buscaglia
This afternoon…um, let’s just change this to today… I attended the Master Gardener General Membership Meeting to meet a fellow blogger (Connie from Hartwood Roses) and see her lecture Roses 101. While the star of the show is the rose (Connie brought in this little yellow fella!), I have to start with the *warm welcome* that I received upon entering the restroom. I originally snapped this picture only to share with my fella (and perhaps my Facebook friends); however, since I've mentioned before how I like circular stories where we begin and end in the same place, I think the sign is a bit of foreshadowing.
Rosarian Connie Hilker, an expert on historic roses who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Heritage Rose Foundation, gave a lecture to help those with rose-anxiety. Connie seems like the right person for this lecture seeing that she has 800 varieties of roses in her garden! She hasn't been a rose expert for that long either. She only started her rose career in 2002, which really doesn’t seem like that much time to acquire so many “strange, rare, unavailable but worthy” (her words) roses.
The meeting started at 12:30 and within about an hour, I learned that roses love clay (huh! In Ashland that’s pretty much all we have AND that was one of my main reasons for not having roses!) I learned about what harms roses (e.g. “Black Spot happens” aka a fungal disease we experience here in Virginia because of the high humidity; insects and mites; Rose Rosette disease which is a virus that is highly contagious and deadly to roses). I learned about the classes of roses (I have all kinds of notes that I’ll need to research in order to truly comprehend); and, I saw some really beautiful pictures of Connie’s roses. I attended this lecture not because I want to dive into the world of rose ownership (although Connie convinced me that I would like to have at least one in my garden) but because I'm going to be one of the volunteers at this weekend's Hollywood Cemetery rose pruning event. I wanted to have at least a bit of rose vocabulary under my gardener's belt before the big day.
|A new journal in hand, I took numerous notes!|
Even more than the information about roses, I discovered that Connie is my kind of people. She told an elaborate yet lighthearted story about taking a cutting of a rose that was under a No Trespassing sign. (This is the circular part of the story that makes me giggle about the earlier sign). It seems that her story, and her "What if a police office shows up asking questions" speech seemed a bit too practiced like just maybe she's almost been caught in the act. After today, I can completely imagine Connie running with pruning shears in one hand and a fresh cutting in another yelling that she's saving the roses! Seriously, perhaps that was her most brazen move but she admits that she’s “stealing with a conscience” meaning that she can offer a better future for a plant that could be completely destroyed either by neglect or by those who simply have no idea what they’re doing. As for the sad little rose that Connie spotted under the signage, the entire bush and all the surrounding plant life had been destroyed the next time she went down that road so she by taking that cutting that afternoon she just may have continued that plant's life. In my head I'm considering her a plant necromancer although I'm sure the Science Fiction nerds (like my fella) will give me a formal definition that doesn't picture Connie under a No Trespassing sign. *Shrug*
Connie also explains that while a cutting here and there doesn’t hurt a rose bush, she emphasizes that you should always leave the bush better than you found it. So if you’re taking a cane, make sure you clip away the dead parts so that the bush will thrive. See Plant Necromancy!!! because plant-giver-another-lifer just doesn't roll off the tongue.
|Yikes I look crazy!|
After the lecture, we decided to go for coffee… a 4-hour coffee break. I had (still have) a few more papers to grade and she has a ton of prep-work for the Hollywood Cemetery pruning event this Saturday. That being said, how often is it that you find your people and truly have something to share with another human being.
Connie is a historian and a scholar of roses; she’s a collector and lover of antiques—she’s the kind who knows that each piece has its own story and that that is meaningful in itself; she loves her furry friends; she loves nature and working with her hands. She has a DIY spirit. We’re really not that different but I think we both knew that before our face-to-face meeting. After all, we’ve been blogger friends for a few months now. But this is only the first chapter in what I believe will be a long (and certainly interesting) friendship (as long as no one gets arrested! :P)
On my way out of town, I snapped these pictures of Fredericksburg, VA.