Gardening Glimpses

By MRS. HERMAN MCKENZIE,

Sunday was a full and busy day at the recent American Daffodil Society convention in Nashville. Becky Fox Matthews followed her usual plan of getting things lined up that not only were interesting to see and available free for non-ADS members, but she also planned some enticing trips to lure those people who think they must leave on Sunday to get back home early for work.

The judges’ refresher session, short but required every three years, got folks up and going. Keith Kridler of Texas did double duty. He knows everything there is to know about growing, saving and identifying historic daffodils (always a favorite topic to new members, he’s just an outstanding speaker who makes anything interesting.)

Then we had the day trip which was a part of the general admission (told you I’d prove that your early registration and the cost was worth it.)

Three busses loaded up, not just one, and it did matter which one you were on. But you chose your schedule, not the usual trying to trap all the board members on the first bus, with the intention of getting us back early. If you wanted to explore all the nooks and crannies of the 55-acre estate, you had to rush through lunch, and commit to hard walking.

Vicki and I were not on that bus, but she did a wonderful thing that would set a pattern. She took the wheelchair which she could push, and I really saw all of the magnificent garden in a way I had never done. Of course this was the wheelchair belonging to the hotel, which had no foot rests, but I did get to see places I’d never seen before.

 

Cheekwood Estate and Garden is 55 acres of the finest landscaping representing the American County Place Era in the United States. And thanks to the diligence of Susan Basham, the hardworking convention chairman, there should have been 500,000 blooms open, representing the largest public display of daffodils in the state of Tennessee.

We were also casually promised, before we returned to the hotel, that we would visit a private garden “that was not to be missed.” And that was no exaggeration.

It was Susan’s own garden, and I almost decided I was too tired to venture out again in the walker. But one individual came and urged me to at least see the garden, and I was so glad I did. It was spectacular, in a unique way, and featured some delightful landscape features.

When we got back to the hotel, it was a rush to get to the board meeting. Then back downstairs for Bling Night, where everyone was encouraged to wear all of the various medals and convention medals they had saved over the years. Mine wasn’t on a hat or scarf, but was on what I’ve always referred to as “the Portland Bag,” a sturdy black bag on which I began, in 2000, the last Portland convention, to attach every convention pin, and pins from other occasions. I quickly learned to hot-glue them in place, and by now the surface is probably 80 percent covered. And I always carry it to each board meeting.

Brent Heath is the ideal choice for a dinner program such as this. He says he is greatly blessed, because his wife Becky runs the business, their son Jay does all the computer work for their business in Gloucester, Va., and to him falls the delightful job of going around making speeches about daffodils. This topic was a natural for Brent, and when he talks from slides, he never lets pass a chance to add a funny story or personal reference.

Vicki, bless her heart, decided she would go around and take pictures of the folks at each table. I had always done this, but had not mentioned it to her. So that was a delightful gift for me to get to see everybody at the tables behind me.

And then we went upstairs to try to get some sleep, as yet another busy extra day awaited those of us who responded to Becky Fox’s invitation to stay over yet another day and see the wonders of her adopted and beloved home town, Nashville’s Music City.

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