A hundred and forty years ago or so, I learned to drive a faded maroon 1950 Ford stick shift at Dawes Arboretum just outside Newark, Ohio. My brother, who must have been heavily medicated, took on this thankless task of teaching me how to drive; and I did manage soon after to get a driver’s license.
Here I am again at Dawes, June 2012, only this time, in addition to roadways, there are majestic tents nestled among majestic trees. There is an enormous climbing tree outfitted with swings, straps and pulleys and some wild and crazy people who you aspire to be (but lack the nerve to be), ascending to the highest branches.
There are five food stations to tempt the most determined ‘weight watcher’. There are delicate wildflowers, regular flowers, pots of flowers, lovely scrims hanging from high branches, fireflies, a setting sun through lacey branches and lots of friendly folk, including a most charming Ex.ecutive Director, Luke Messinger.
A catered picnic dinner at Dawes on the final day of the American Public Garden Association’s Conference was quite fitting for this Ohio native. Columbus, Ohio, the site of the 2012 APGA conference, “Garden Paths,” proved to be the small town in a big town venue that leant itself well to neighborhood tours, workshops, information sessions, garden tours, flower shows and leadership meetings.
As a volunteer registration desk assistant, I was privileged to network with the VIP’s and the not-so VIP’s throughout an entire week and was eager to meet them all.
A giant “shout out!” to D. Casey Sclar, Pam Allenstein, Aubree Davis, Madeline Dobbs, Vivian Lovingood, Sarah Maietta and Daniel Stern – the impressive and mighty APGA staff who make it all happen each year. Look out Phoenix - 2013…………….here I come!