Sunday, 9 February 2014

Symposium Week

This past week we hosted one of our week-long symposia. We had a nice group of folks, many of whom were returning participants, from North America, Europe, and the UK. This symposium specifically addressed pruning. Although we have other ongoing garden tasks, I also participated in and assisted with the symposium. 

Fergus demonstrates pruning Cotinus coggygria

Fergus had us pruning trees and shrubs around the garden, which acted as examples for the symposium group. Then they were split into groups and did quite a bit of pruning themselves. I think it's very helpful to have that practical experience offered so as to make the learning more tangible. 

Pruning is such an important job in the garden. Not only does it help keep plants aesthetically pleasing, but it's important for functionality, health and vigor of a plant. Although I've been in horticulture for years now, and pruned numerous plants, this was the best, most commonsense approach to pruning I've heard.

It was a fun week and a fun group of people. The weather was mostly windy and rainy, but they were real troopers to stick it out and make the most of it. Most of them were already experienced gardeners, but I think they still learned a lot and enjoyed their time. 

I've never seen this many Hamamelis together--wow! 

At the end of the week, I was able to join the group on a visit to Witch Hazel Nursery. The nursery, owned by Chris Lane, specializes in, and is a National Collection of Hamamelis. It was a wonderful time to visit as the Witch Hazels were in full flower. Chris was very kind to show us around and talk about the different varieties. The rows of yellows, golds, reds and oranges were nicely backlit by the setting sun and produced a sweet honey-like fragrance. It really was something to behold. 

Chris Lane talking about H. 'Frederic' (R) and H. 'Gingerbread' (L)

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