Sue and I are ready for a big time blast of nostalgia. Before putting down roots of surprising longevity in Raleigh (with its clay and rock-filled soil, plethora of weather events - at least since we've been here - and infinite list of tomato growing challenges), we lived in Pennsylvania. We started in Villanova, eased westward to Berwyn, then finally West Chester, and our 8 years there were delightful; it is where I first joined the Seed Savers Exchange and dove head first into heirlooms. It is where our daughters were young (Sara), or just entering the world (Caitlin). Tomato growing has never been easier than those PA gardens, especially after working 16 yards of mushroom soil into our garden. Oh, to have been able to relocate that soil when we moved down here.
Over our 8 years, regular visits to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square was a constant. We experienced it often in each season, and we ended our days there exhausted after so much walking, but exhilarated by that which we saw - whether it be the azaleas, various themed rooms in the big glass house, water lilies, or endless beds of colorful flowers.
I've been spending much of today getting ready for a long-awaited return trip to Longwood Gardens, and Sue and I can't wait. The reason for the visit is that I was asked to provide a course on tomatoes - and on Sunday, at 1 PM, that is what I will be pleased and fortunate to do. This will be my first long duration (3 hours - better make my jokes good ones...), demo-filled opportunity to take a group of gardeners from history through selection, from seed starting to seed saving, aided by a presentation. To call this a personal bucket list event is an understatement. It will certainly be a trip, and event, I will remember always.
As for today in the garden....I just came in from watering everything. A second motion detector sprinkler is now in place, since a visit by deer now would be quite devastating. One week from today I will be bringing loads of plants to Durham for our annual Plantapalooza...more on that when we get back. It feels good to have most everything in place and settling in, though the real work begins next week - getting it all arranged, staked, and ready for daily observations, nurturing, and maintenance. The clock is ticking - ripe tomatoes are now only a few months away!