I’ve just finished a whirlwind speaking tour, with presentations in Beaverton, Oregon and Richland, Bellevue, and Vancouver, Washington. In between, I photographed in a large handful of central Washington gardens.
Phyllis came up from Central Point to join me at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s Bookstore on April 24 to talk about places to go and flowers to see within a day’s drive of Portland. We usually present individually, but with no rehearsal we kept our audience thoroughly entertained and informed, easily playing off each other to the crowd.
I took off the next morning for Walla Walla, where I was given the grand tour of gardens. I photographed in one impeccibly maintained garden and will get photos online soon. Then it was on to Richland and Kennewick where I visited and photographed more gardens on Thursday and Friday.
Friday night I spoke about photographing wildflowers at the Richland Community Center in a program co-sponsored by the Columbia Basin chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society. The audience was enthusiastic and very perceptive, with lots of good comments and questions. A great audience always makes a presentation more fun, and I think more interesting for everyone in attendance. Saturday was an all-day field session with eleven workshp participants on Badger Mountain. The weather cooperated, with modest winds and some thin high clouds good for everything except low-angle blue-sky backgrounds. We had a group critique to wrap up the day, with some very nice images from my students.
I drove an hour up the road to Yakima, where I met a couple of Master Gardeners who showed me their demonstration garden and introduced me to Ron McKitrick. Ron has an incredible cactus garden that was just coming into bloom. I spent four hours photographing and talking with him, and will return again for the next flush of blossoms in mid-May.
It was nearly dark when I arrived in Sammamish, where I stayed with my gardening friend Barbary Flynn. She had invited me to speak on “Northwest Natives for Northwest Gardens” at the Eastlake Washington Garden Clubs meeting on Monday morning. Once again, I had a delightfully friendly and enthusiastic audience who were excited to learn more about some of our choice natives that work well in the created landscape.
I had one day at home before heading south again. The Suksdorfia chapter of WNPS is just getting reorganized after being dormant for several years and they invited me to come to Vancouver, Washington for their Native Plant Appreciation Week program. I shared the “day’s drive of Portland” program with more than 50 people. My hosts for the evening took me out to Lacamas Lake Park in Camas to see the “lily fields” as they’re known locally and I didn’t get out until nearly noon.
There are times when I wish I had a Star Trek teleporter to minimize the driving, particularly getting through Seattle, but I really do like getting out and speaking to groups.