I spent a wonderful day outside on Saturday because of what happens inside my Twitterverse. Now don’t stop reading because you think Twitter is a total clock gobbler that leads nowhere. Here’s proof why it’s not.
Andrew Keys aka @oakleafgreen and Michelle Gervais aka @michelle_at_FG organized the first Northeast Garden TweetUp (#negardentweetup) at Innisfree. Months ago they announced and promoted it via Twitter and Facebook. Thanks to them, I had a full and wonderful day all related to Twitter. Below is what happened…the photos are surprisingly without people even though it was a people oriented day.
Duncan Brine aka @gardenlarge, who with his wife Julia, has a wonderful and totally unique garden in Pawling, NY. He graciously invited me to visit on my way to the TweetUp. I knew in advance I would experience something special since Duncan’s tweets are often poetic and always thoughtful. I also knew his reputation as a plantsman–something that I’m not. I had fully intended to take lots of pictures since his approach to the design of his six acre space is so different from mine. The rambling conversation during our walk through his garden was so engaging and his knowledge of plants so extensive that I completely forgot about my camera. Beautiful photos of this garden can be seen can be seen on Duncan’s website.
It takes a special focus to design a garden as that interlaces the natural with the design intent so seamlessly. Artful placement, pruning and an exuberant willingness to experiment shows up around every bend in the garden’s winding gravel paths. There was a funny botanical Latin moment when he pointed out a shrub form Chinonanthus virginiana using the hard ‘ch’ and I had no idea what he was talking about. I had never seen a shrub form as large as this–I use the tree form frequently and I felt like a ninny. A few moments later I had an in your face experience with a native Cotinus coggygia–its spent blooms unrecognizable to me in their closeup–another ninny moment.
After a quick stop to pick up some local BBQ, we ventured off to Innisfree to meet an unknown amount of people we had really never met before. There they were in the parking lot, all recognizable from their avatars, in addtion to the previously mentioned Tweeters, there in person was @cityslipper, @aboutgardening, @B_McManus, @ScottHokuson, @Rob_at_GBA, and @katiehoke–we were the last to arrive. Innisfree has a large pond and Duncan, Julia, their son and I went in the opposite direction of the group after feasting on BBQ.
We eventually met up with the group later and joined in with questions and conversation–a group photo was taken to document the event. @cityslipper offered up some delicious sun dried tomatoes from his garden. These are people I have short blasts of communication with on a regular basis. Since there were parts of the garden I wanted to explore, I left the group–knowing I had one more Twitter stop to make that was 50 miles south on my way home.
My last stop in my Twitter Trifecta was to meet Kari Lonning (@karibaskets) who had invited me to a small group exhibit where she was going to be showing her baskets. I had visited her website and was familiar with her work. What surprised me was how amazing they were in reality and how welcoming Kari was as a person. Kari interprets what she finds in gardens woven as incredible sculptural baskets. One was inspired by a tomato patch, another by a sunken garden, still more by the colors in a passion flower. Having come from a fine art craft background, I have an intense appreciation for the craft intrinsic in Kari’s objects.
I would not have had any of these experiences if it wasn’t for the time I spend in my Twitterverse.