Thursday, September 18, 2008

Off to visit other gardens

Heading to a conference on the other side of the North American continent takes me from Eastern oak-hickory forest and old fields to the damp western slopes of the Cascades. I may not see much in the way of natural areas in downtown Portland, but it is certainly a city of gardens, parks, and focused (and contained) urban growth.
Rosehill Cottage chair
My part of North America (the Southeast) exemplifies sprawl and a larger ecological travel footprint, according to an expert interviewed on our CU-produced program (Your Day) for SC-ETV Public Radio, aired as I was driving to the airport. There’s certainly irony in that, but I guess I believe in the benefits of travel, and hope the carbon offset programs do some good!

But he also spoke about how Portland had made a choice between expanding highways and mass transit, opting for transit. I’ll take a light rail system from the airport to the conference hotel for about $2.30. If I have time to go to the other side of the Willamette River, transit is free in the main downtown area. Remarkable. And unfortunately singular in this country.

I’ll be visiting gardens and nurseries as part of the conference, and interacting with fellow gardening and plant enthusiasts who write, speak, and blog about gardens (with a media mix of TV, web, and podcasting added in).

Florist display in England
Since I enjoy encouraging people to think about learning more about plants, nature, gardens, gardening, and ecology, aside from being a total enthusiast myself – I think I’ll fit right in.

And, I love seeing how other people choose plants for their gardens and create special places. Rosehill Cottage was a private garden that I visited in May under the National Gardens scheme in England -- a weathered cafe chair made a perfect garden vignette. This small local florist clearly arranged her wares in an imaginative and welcoming way.

4 comments:

  1. Welcome to Portland! What is the confernce called? Portland boasts a huge natural park called Forest Park with miles of hiking trails. "Natural areas" are abundant here! Have fun!

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  2. Thanks! I'm hoping to get out as much as I can. I'll look for Forest Park. This is the Garden Writers Association annual conference, so is primarily focused on gardens and gardening, but I remember fondly a summer spent up in the Mt. Hood National Forest years ago, and getting out in the mts. here and other places in the NW as a grad student in northern CA and later.

    I'm already impressed with the city plantings and interesting landscape and curbside business plantings in the area around Lloyd Center!

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  3. Oh my...lucky you! I'm a 5th generation Californian...and miss the west coast, sometimes. And sometimes year-round gardening, too; but usually when winter comes, I'm happy for the break! LOL

    One of these days I'll go back...I want to visit Vashon Island...not that far from where you are; and the famous gardens in Victoria, BC. Yummie! I think Portland and Seattle are both great places to visit. Well, you see...I'm a cook and miss restaurants, too; not too many in this poor little county.

    I hope you're having a blast!

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  4. Thanks, Beverly--
    I have been having a blast! Great gardens and people, and I still have a few more days, the last two to explore on my own.

    I spent a lot of time on the west coast as a student (and my family were native Californians, too), so the West is natural habitat. Quite refreshing.

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Please share your thoughts. I enjoy hearing from fellow nature observers, as well as whomever else drops by.

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