This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of speaking to a friendly crowd of enthusiastic gardeners at the Park Seed open house in Greenwood, SC. This event is an annual pilgrimage for many that attend, and now, I see why.
I suppose the grounds of their corporate headquarters are spectacular on any given day of the year, but I can’t imagine them looking any better than on open house day. That’s when several thousand people arrive to enjoy acres of fabulous display gardens and educational lectures and to get great deals on plants!
I realize not everyone in attendance was there by choice. There were plenty of spouses and kids, likely dragged along by their gardening family member. Yet after observing and talking to many of the attendees, I found that even the non-gardening spouses and reluctant teenagers were all having a great time.
And why not? They were surrounded by beautiful gardens, friendly people (as gardeners always are) and a festive atmosphere – with plenty to eat and drink and trees to relax under for a bit of shade during the warmth of a bright sunny day. That combination can work wonders on even the most rebellious soul.
No doubt, days like the Park Seed open house are a great opportunity for gardeners to sharpen their skills too. There were hundreds of display beds and containers set up with the latest and greatest plants. Everything was in full bloom and perfectly healthy, providing the perfect chance to see these plants in their natural environment. It offers us gardeners hope that these plants really do grow like those we see in the catalog pictures!
As for those non-gardeners who happened to have the good fortune to be dragged along, let’s just say that I didn’t see anyone complaining. Gardens seem to possess a magical quality. A way about them that seems to disarm or relieve the tension in just about everyone I’ve ever known. Come to think of it, some people are like that too. In fact, most of them are gardeners. Imagine that. This event was a great example of both.