Friday, June 17, 2011

Triumphs and Tragedies

You might remember a couple of months ago I spoke about having to do a training session at work.  After some postponements the session finally went ahead this week.  Tragically? I don't think I have a calling as a teacher.  I wasn't mortifyingly bad, and I'm happy to report I didn't pass out, but there's a reason I prefer the printed word.  My mouth distinctly resembles two left feet and I paused, blanked out, repeated, tripped over and otherwise garbled my words.  Even though I had written much of my presentation on notes, so I wouldn't miss anything, I managed to miss information anyway in my haste to get through the session.

The Triumph is that all things must come to an end.  I survived in body, though maybe not in mind, and got through the afternoon.  The wretched experience done I was able to walk away, proud that after a rough start I did manage, by the end, to gather my wits and talk legibly.  To soothe my bruised ego I took myself to the nursery for some retail therapy.  Training was held in the town of Summerside so I visited a nursery I don't often get to and loaded up the truck.  What?  You didn't expect me to buy just one did you?


Oh you did?  Hubby thought the same thing.  He was a bit surprised when I asked for help to unload the truck.  What can I say, I was feeling REALLY sorry for myself.  So sorry that I splurged on this very elegant Rhododendron elepidote 'Catawbiense Album'.  This variety was initially bred in 1886 and has stood the test of time to become well loved and known as Ironclad (so hopefully I won't kill it).  I took one look and fell in love.  When we lived in BC there were rhododendrons everywhere you looked.  I don't see them as much on the east coast and I miss them.  The entrance bed has a bit of shade so I thought a rhodo would suit perfectly and when I walked into the garden centre and saw this I knew it was coming home with me.


I think this will look beautiful coupled with pink Astilbe's 'Visions' and white fringed hostas I also purchased.  Now if the weather would cooperate and warm up I could actually get outside and plant these new flowers.

20 comments:

  1. I love the fact that Rhododendron catawbiense Album came home with you already full of blooms. It took me 9 years to see blooms like that on mine! (But it's such a beautiful plant, it was worth the wait. :-)) -Jean

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  2. I too have a story on this Rhodie. Yes, they are great plants and easy care, bloom freely and abundantly, all good news. But, one day, my Akita had it for dinner. Nothing but little twigs littered the ground. Nothing but a 3 inch stump left in the ground. Hope you don't have an anxious dog!

    Also, I understand your need for nursery therapy. It is hard to address a crowd.

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  3. It's absolutely gorgeous. I wouldn't be able to resist it either. I love that you have already chosen companion plants for it so it will look right at home.:)

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  4. I am relieved (as you are) that you survived your presentation, and of course it was more than appropriate to reward yourself. Well done.

    I like your plan for the entrance bed, it's a nice combo of plants and the rhododendron will anchor it beautifully.

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  5. I am a lot like you, I seem to treat myself with flowers and plants after a stressful situation, glad it has come to an end for you. Also glad to hear you composed towards the end as well. On the lighter side, my plants didn't make it, I faithfully took them in each night and put them back out. I put them in the green house if only for a couple of days as they would get regular watering. Sadly, when I returned the day after all the tops had been eaten off, as well as about 30 other seedlings that were doing so well.

    Drop by and visit my blog and keep up to date on our Royal Tea,
    http://hiddenislandparadise.blogspot.com/2011/06/royals-are-coming-lets-do-tea.html

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  6. Retail therapy ... hee hee. It's the best!

    I miss the rhodos, as well. I loved the early blooming ones that opened in February, and then the mad rush began! Did you ever visit the Bowen Park rhododendron gardens in Nanaimo? Spectacular!

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  7. Hi Marguerite, I am not much for public speaking either. I am glad you were able to get through the afternoon okay. Your retail therapy looks to have been a pretty cure for a stressful day.

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  8. Jean - 9 years! wow that's some wait. I'm glad you liked the blooms when you finally got them. One of the things that sold me on this was the mass of bees that were joyfully bouncing around these flowers. And white blossoms. I find it hard to resist white flowers.

    Donna - Yikes!! I've heard about dogs eating plants but a large woody plant amazes me. That was one hungry dog! Luckily for me the worst the cats do is dig up the mulch around the plants.

    Ms.S - I'll explain more in an upcoming post but I've been planning this flower bed in my head for a year now and slowly purchasing plants this spring. I love white flowers and I'm combining them with purples and pinks. The rhodie fit my vision perfectly.

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  9. Laurrie - that's what I'm hoping, I needed some shrubs to act as anchors for all the perennials I've collected. I was thinking lilacs but it seems this area might not be well drained or bright enough for them (as they seem to be getting blight) so the rhodo will likely do better and the lilacs can find another home.

    Cindy - I'm sorry to hear they didn't make it but, confession time!, many of mine didn't either so don't feel bad. Slugs are very busy this spring eating all my seedlings.

    Kim - I only ever visited Bowen Park once, isn't that funny? our dry grad was held there. I guess I wasn't very interested in flowers at that time. When I volunteered at Van Dusen gardens they had a rhododendron section and for months in spring is was an amazing sight. Probably much like you remember Bowen Park. Some of the old species rhodos were like trees, I've never forgotten how beautiful they were.

    Jennifer - the more I talked the better it was. I just needed to get past my embarassment and be able to focus on the material instead of my nerves. But the lure of treating myself to shopping at the nursery certainly helped ease my pain!

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  10. Same here, re public speaking..Doesn't matter how I prepare, the body fails me! You did well to finish on a high note. Bravo!

    Rhodos here in Eastern Canada seem to do better with more sun than the West coast, from what I understand.

    If you are ever in Nova Scotia, the Kentville Research Station which developed a lot of Rhodos, has an annual Open Day "Rhododendron Sunday" near Fathers Day. Beautiful specimens! You can google that to find out more. Your specimen is outstanding and can't wait to see it in the landscape.

    Nothing like nursery therapy..think I need some too ;-)

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  11. aw. If it makes you feel better everyone's first public speaking attempt is that hard, its just not you... but you did see how you got better as time went on? Well, if you keep doing it, you will eventually be calm from the start. And like you said, it is done!

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  12. I bet you did fine. We always do worse in our own minds. If they ask you to speak again - take them up on it! Not only will it be good practice, but you can then purchase another truckload of goodies! :) Enjoy your new plants.

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  13. Bren - I was very intrigued to find there's a Rhododendron Society in NS and they have an annual sale. At some point I'm going to have to make the journey to attend that.

    Jess - I think you're right that once you're used to it things go much smoother. I actually can see doing this course again (and will likely have to do it again) and feeling much better about it.

    Holley - isn't it great what a wonderful excuse this provided me for buying new plants?!

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  14. I'm glad you got through your day! Retail therapy is the bomb! I love your purchase. I laughed at your husband's reaction...mine is so use to this now. He just looks at my purchases and thinks about how many holes he is going to have to dig, LOL!

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  15. I'm glad you survived! Teaching kids is a blast but I-don't-want-to-be-here adults might be a different story! Your rhodie looks gorgeous!

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  16. I feel your pain - as a teacher I don't mind talking to my students, but do a presentation for other teachers - HATE IT!! Retail therapy is just the thing - what else did you buy?

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  17. Karin - for whatever reason he thought buying myself a treat was a single plant. I'm really expected to go to a nursery and come back with just one plant? silly man.

    TS - I was surprised actually at how great the group was. They were on day 9 of training at that point and still able to focus which amazed me.

    Jane - I'm used to training one-on-one in a work situation doing specific tasks but standing in front of a group explaining how to do a job is seriously intimidating. The new variety of siberian irises - Butter and cream - certainly helped along with Goat's Beard and astilbes.

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  18. Love the flowers. I'm a bit to scared to plant anything much. I tend to forget to water things although I've managed to water the veggie garden so far this year :) Maybe next year I'll try planting some flowers.
    Hugs

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  19. Marguerite glad you survived your presentation I had been wondering if you had done it yet, the rodo looks beautiful and it sounds like the bed will look beautiful when they all growing together, it's not warming up much here either, Frances

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  20. Johanna, here's a secret - once perennial flowers are settled there's no watering involved! When my parents sold their house a few years back the lady who bought it requested that everything be watered until the day they moved in. My mother was perplexed. She had never watered the garden a day in her life. Water was in short supply where they lived and the only water they got was out of the sky. If a plant couldn't hack it she put in a different one. Hope you'll reconsider planting flowers!

    Frances - I'm working on putting the bed together now and it's much tougher than I thought placing plants and trying to make it look good. We'll see how it comes together next spring and judge then I suppose.

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