Seeing Green- Finding Nirvana at Hortlandia

drawing by the author

A cure for what ails you- go out and peruse one of the many plant sales that are blooming everywhere this spring.  You don’t even have to be a gardener, just look and marvel at the ever magical green world before you.  Chances are you will be a gardener by the time you leave.

Last weekend my friends and I did just that, attended Hortlandia, the mother of all plant shows.  Hortlandia is sponsored by the Hardy Plant Society of Portland, Oregon.  There are no food garden plants, nor annuals, just thousands of perennial plants from shrubs, and trees to cacti and insectivorous plants of every imaginable variety displayed by a hundred vendors.  Sprinkled in is garden sculpture, furniture, clothing, birdhouses, gardening accessories, and the like.

courtesy PDX Hardy Plant Society

Gardening is a life-affirming task.  In this venue was a genuine buzz of optimism and hope among the attendees leaving the troubles of the world beyond the walls.  Smiles abounded and information was gleefully exchanged.  Patrons, including myself, were often peering at what others held in their arms, then asking questions;” What is that?  Where might I find it?”

courtesy PDX Hardy Plant Society

When I was a young woman I never considered plants interesting, animals yes.  Then I had to take Botany 1A in college and was opened up to a new world of beauty and wonder.  I could hardly pull myself away in the lab marveling at all the different structures and types of plants; Stamen, pistil, spores, ferns, mosses, leafy liverworts, lichens.  This was all because I stopped and looked.  I never really saw plants before and their importance in feeding, healing, and providing beauty and to the world.

Hortlandia is over for this year but if you happen to be in the Portland, Oregon area next year, attend in early April.  If not in the area, go out and visit a plant show, plant sale, or specialty nursery (Home Depot and the like do not count) just for something to do.  Here are some activities to incorporate…

  • Pick one species of plant and notice every variety it comes in (ex. Epimedium) and how the shape, color, and texture of leaves vary from each other.
  • Observe what other people are carrying around and ask questions about their choices- a fun way to interact with others.
  • Eavesdrop on conversations.
  • If you are a writer, write a poem about your plant or people watching.
  • If you are not in the mood for purchasing for yourself, buy a plant or accessory for someone else- for no special occasion other than to brighten their day.

After spending a bundle earlier in the year planting my native plant garden, I was not in the market for more plants but I did walk away with a spring violet and a sweet little yellow perennial for the shady pot outside my front door.  My big prize was a little table fashioned from reclaimed wood and curly willow, perfect for the fairy tea party area of my new garden (plus a small garden tool carrier of the same materials).

I will be back next year.

my finds happily at home

April WordPrompt- GREEN

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