25 March 2009
When love's in bloom, the whole world's a pistil
You know how teachers have their students write thank-you notes after a field trip? The volunteer coordinator at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, where I'm now working a few hours a week, showed me some she'd saved, including drawings depicting what the kids had learned during their visit.
The fact that you can tell azaleas from rhodies by counting the stamens -- azaleas typically have five, rhodys ten -- apparently made a big impression on one group of 3rd graders; every illustration featured prominent stamens. I grabbed a couple of shots with my cell cam.
Ah yes, spring is here, and romance, botanical style, is in the air. The amaryllis that came back to life last month, following a winter of total neglect, is now in full bloom. Check out the stamens on that baby.
My work at the Rhody Garden counts toward fulfillment of the Master Gardener volunteer practicum I mentioned in my paean to herbaceous perennials earlier this month. We're now down to the last couple of weeks of coursework before the final exam. I have no specific plans for putting my certification, once I earn it, to use. I've always loved gardening. I learned to weed before I could walk, at my green-thumbed mother's knee. Now that I have the time, I liked the idea of picking up some theory to go along with what I've experienced and intuited over the years. Plus, focusing on growing things seemed like a pleasant coping mechanism for getting through a Portland winter. And, I must admit, I was curious to see how much my brain could retain, at this point, in a structured learning situation. To that end, I'll just say that I'm really, really glad that the final is open book.
One thing the course hasn't covered in detail is plant identification, as in "What is this and where should I plant it?" and variations of that question. But I've joined the Hardy Plant Society, whose exhibit at the garden show impressed me so much, which should help address that deficit in my knowledge base.
Funny, I've had three small fiber-arts projects gathering dust on my design wall all winter. Has this garden thing taken over? Is that why I'm not doing art?