Report From PIA – January 14
I received two plant catalogs this week, one from Heronswood, and one from Plant Delights Nursery. I put the former aside, and immediately opened the latter. Truthfully, I can hardly bear to look at the Heronswood catalog since it is no longer being written by one of Heronswood’s former owners, Dan Hinkley.
I have about a dozen of the old, Hinkley written catalogs in my office. There were no color photos and the paper wasn’t glossy, but I paid more attention to them than I did to the horticultural magazines I subscribed to. You see, Hinkley wrote his plant descriptions from the heart. Yes, he was writing about the plants, but his personality was in those entries. The new Heronswood catalog, based not in Hinkley’s Washington state, but in Pennsylvania, just contains listings of what they sell.
In contrast, Tony Avent’s character is throughout the Plant Delights catalog. Just this morning I read an entry about Asparagus verticillatus, and laughed at this description: “The foliage stays green into the mid 20s F, serving as a perfect foil for the red berries. Any sturdy trellis, old junked pickup, or stationary highway worker is perfect for support…”
Tony not only made me laugh at the breakfast table, he made me want to buy this plant.
There is something compelling about putting our whole selves into our work. As a speaker, I see that my audiences respond to my talks not just because I give them gardening information, but because I am my enthusiastic, we-can-do-anything, open-hearted, opinionated self.
When we put who we are into what we do, we make real connections with other people.