Ottawa

Well so much for blogging on the road. I went to Ottawa on Sunday thinking I’d tippy tap away each day but I was busy every single minute I was gone. What an incredible place for a gardener to land.

I love Ottawa: lived there as a kid when Billings Bridge was in the country and we walked a mile to Elwood School. The landscape is so amazing and it’s even better going back on the train I discovered. There are outcroppings of Shield rock that would make incredible gardens. Near Brockville there is a whole stretch I’m sure someone must be gardening. If not, why not?

I stayed with my friends Margot and Rick who invited Linda Thorne for dinner on Sunday. Linda is an Ottawa legend because she had the best garden store and now she organizes tours to Europe and has invited me to lead a few next year. So we spent a delicious evening going over books itineraries and generally salivating over what’s going to be an extraordinarily sensual trip. Gardens, wineries, olive oil running from every pore. But more on that later.

The Ottawa Hort Society and Ottawa Botanical Garden Society (with sponsor Waste Management) did a fantastic job: I had more media in one day than when I was flogging my new book. I was on Radio Noon with Ed Laurence who is a great guy and given that there were two people with a lot to say in one little studio we worked together extremely well and Rita Celli is a great host. Ed of course is another Ottawa legand and he gave me his new book (more later). I did a TV streeter with, Ian Black, the weather guy. Then on to Gay Cook who lives with her sister Grit in the oldest house in Ottawa. It’s a gorgeous place that drips with history and she not only made a sensation lunch with heads of the hort societies, she also let me come back and crash later on.

Margot who’d been lugging me around all day took us off to the potential site of the Ottawa Botanic and why this isn’t a no-brainer is beyond me. It is an incredible site and perfect for their plans. It’s one more reason gardeners should get together and lobby dunderhead pols who don’t seem to understand how important the environment is and how much we can contribute.

Rant rant. Then I was on Adrian Harewood’s afternoon show. He’s a terrific interviewer and managed to throw me a couple of really great quesitons which I’m still thinking about.

And then I got ready to give my talk.

It was at the National Archives which has really good facilities: great sound system and tech. We had a heart stopper when the CD I’d burnd wouldn’t work in their machine so we got my computer going and I don’t even want to think what it would have been like without the pix. And my pictures: I have never seen them so perfectly projected. What a treat.

I got what every speaker longs for: a sell-out audience of enthusiastic people who were with me from the minute I hit the stage. It was like working with someone intimately and well. As a consequence, I had a lot of fun. The questions were absolutely great and I’m still going over them in my head and will get back to talk about them in future blogs.

If every talk I gave was as terrific a this one I might want to talk more often: organized, utterly charming and helpful people. The only disappointment: I usually like to go around and look at gardens but even I know when to stop. Sort of.

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