Garden Diary - June 2017

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The Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape Conference is held in early June at the now-university in Pennsylvania. It is an opportunity to mingle with like-minded native plant enthusiasts, listen to lectures, go on field trips, and buy plants. The conference itself is just two days but there's pre- and post-conference events. We stay in dorms, eat college food, and have a wonderful time. I have previously attended but not every year. In fact, not for a while. But when this year's announcement arrived there were several topics of particular interest. I sent in my registration.

Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape Conference:
Evening Social

Thursday, 8 June 2017

First full day of the conference. There are three concurrent sessions, each with four choices from which we were to choose just one each session when registering. There are three truly excellent full audience lectures. Assisted diversification for the anthropocene discussing climate change, human activity, and natural plant adaptive processes such as migration, evolution, and hybridization, presented by Dr. Chuck Cannon. Pawpaw - the history of America's forgotten fruit, current producers, and culinary options, an enthusiastic overview by Andy Moore (who just happens to have a book on this topic.) Especially interesting was Rebecca McMackin's detailed and interesting look at designing and managing storm resilient landscapes, triggered by the salt water flooding of Brooklyn Bridge Park when Hurricane Sandy roared up the coast in 2012.

Lectures over, it's now time for our buffet picnic dinner. Weather cooperating with sunshine and pleasant temperatures this is outdoors on the patio behind the cafeteria. Followed by outdoor games. But someone on a riding lawn mower buzzed around cutting the grass. Volleyball was O.K. But while the idea was nice

the grass was too rough for petanque or croquet.


What a deal - tonight there are plants for sale, the trade show is open, plus live entertainment and socializing. The big draw, always!, is the plant sale in the gymnasium. There are several demonstrations also: small vivariums with caterpillars munching on their food plants and a pleasant woman explaining about them and the butterflies into which they will morph.

We tend to think of "native plants" as something to grow in the garden. This demo had something very different: attractive floral arrangements. I liked this birchbark wreath embellished with ferns, mountain laurel, Solomon's seal, and prickly sweet gum pods.

Local wine and micro brew beer. It worked like this. You could go to the table with conference T-shirts etc for sale and buy a ticket for $2. Or, you could purchase a decorated Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape Conference glass for $10, which included one drinks ticket. Popular option. Potato chips and pretzels to munch while sauntering around the gymnasium looking at the plants for sale, waving their leaves and seductively whispering "Take me home with you."

Another demo, just this evening: locavore cheese to sample and purchase.

. . .

Delicious, but a sign mentions the cheeses should be refrigerated.
And since I'm only in my dorm room for 3 nights I did not bring one.

Live music, a guitar and this - is it an electric mandolin? Nice.

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