Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pride, Prejudice, and Caesar Dressing

If you had told me even five years ago that I would enjoy public speaking, I would never have believed it. I'd have laughed uncontrollably and maybe called you a name. But, as it happens, I love talking about gardening. I especially enjoy speaking at Hidden Lake Gardens, where people are very enthusiastic and participatory. Back in December, as I entered the grounds to teach the evergreen centerpiece class, I noticed they had added a new digital sign, encased in an impressive brick and stone structure, near the entrance. This sturdy wayfarer cycles through upcoming events in friendly red lights (the photo lights look yellow, but I swear they were red!). Enchanted, I paused to read all the messages, which included a listing for my class. Wow! My name (or as close to it as I'd ever come) in lights! I sat transfixed, feeling my self-worth rise by the second through the warm glow of the red letters. I wished I had my camera to capture this sweet, tender moment. Jolted back to reality by a car honking behind me, I moved along, resolved to take my camera for my next class, and got on with life.

For my next class, I indeed had my camera in tow. I boldly stopped at the sign, my hazards flashing, rolled down the window, focused the camera, and eagerly awaited my proud, shining moment. And waited. And waited. My class was not listed. When I casually wondered aloud about this to Karen, the education coordinator, she patiently explained that if a class is full, they don't advertise it on the board. Undeterred, I explained my growing narcissistic need for a photo for my blog. She graciously humored me and offered to recreate the listing and take its photo just for me. I didn't really expect her to, but she did. Because that's the kind of person Karen is and why I really enjoy my HLG experience.

The other day, the photo above appeared in my inbox. One day she roped in the tech person and they set out to satisfy their quirky instructor's wishes. Apparently the name of the class ("Fun with Winter Seed Sowing") was too long, so she decided simply to list my name. This truly wasn't my intention, but she must have sensed my starstruck desires. The text in place, she braved the cold to head out to the entrance to snap the photo. Apparently, police officers like to park in their driveway to catch speeders, and one was in place. Of course he rolled down the window and wondered what Karen was doing! So thank you, Karen, for braving the weather and police interrogation to indulge me in my whims!

Yesterday I spied Groundhog 1 for the first time this year. I love all living creatures but have certain irreconcilable differences with this rotund, burrowing, lattice-destroying, fresh-greens-eating lifeform. We used to have a truce about things (eating a little bit of many things is OK, eating all of anything is bad), but last year we had several zinnia and morning glory slaughters, plus collateral damage to wood lattice along the bottom of the deck, despite ongoing mediation. For his part, the groundhog was happy to see me. "Ah, human, so we meet again. Greetings to you and your tender green leaflets!"

Caesar Dressing
Yesterday, Carole and I attended Spring Day at Henry Ford Estate. Scott Kunst of Old House Gardens gave an, as always, entertaining and informative talk on heirloom bulbs. George Papadelis of Telly's Greenhouse gave an engaging and amusing overview of new plants for 2008. I'm not so into the latest cultivars per se, but I like to look at pretty photos of plants. And he definitely knows his plants and genuinely loves gardening. It was also interesting to discover that the Troy-based retailer has greenhouses in Willis. I'd love to take a tour there and see their seeding machine in operation! For lunch, Marcus Reish, chef at HFE, demonstrated making salad dressing, which he graciously passed around for us to taste. They were all good, but I could easily have consumed the entire sample of the Caesar dressing straight from the container. Man, that was good. Orders of magnitude better than any Caesar dressing I've ever had. I will post the recipe later, if Carole wrote it down.


  1. I can well imagine how exciting it was to see your name in lights :)

    I am always hoping that one day someone will discover my blog (in which I am writing the story of how I created a garden for wildlife)and think it worthy of publishing ...for then I would see my name in print :) Until then, I print out each little post and keep the story in a large box-file which is read by members of my family and friends who do not have computers :)

  2. Wildlife, there does seem to be a low correlation between gardeners and technology, I've noticed. I wish my "real life" friends would read my blog. It's nice of you to print yours for your friends!