30 April 2007

Round two in the hollyhock challenge

It’s Monday evening and I’m actually glad that the weather continues to be grey and wet and generally April-like. Because after the weekend that was the 3rd annual Saltscapes Expo, I’m tired out. Been home for more than 24 hours and I’m still about as energetic as last year’s garden; sort of limp and unenthusiastic. The show was a tremendous success, I think, with great crowds, marvelous exhibitors, lots of interesting people to talk to…although I’m SURE I missed out on talking to some folks, because I couldn’t stay in one place all weekend. I mostly hung out around the Yamaha Do-It-Yourself stage, as promised, but there were breaks to go for meals or washroom breaks or to actually have a look around the show too.

We are very blessed with talent in Atlantic Canada. Never mind what ol’ squinty eyes Harper says about our culture of defeatism. He’s talking out of his butt, because he knows NOTHING about us. Some of the best of the best were at the Expo; marvelous chefs from hotels, restaurants and resorts around the region; artisans and craftspeople who do such marvelous, beautiful work that some of it left me speechless; musicians of every type, informative, knowledgeable speakers and just generally upbeat people all through the three day event.

Overall, the reports I heard from people, both visitors attending the show and exhibitors, was very positive. One thing bothers me, though. There are always a few exhibitors who are never satisfied, who carp and complain about every little thing, and grumble about not having enough sales or being too hot, too cold, too crowded, not crowded enough. These people tend to be seasoned individuals who have been going to shows of various sorts for years. Which always makes me wonder—if you dislike doing shows and dealing with people so much, why bother going?

Then there are the refreshing, upbeat, delightfully talented individuals I met this weekend. Two of my favourites are Jim Chadwick and Carrie Stroms from Metal Petals Garden Art . I’ve mentioned their business before (I just met Carrie on the weekend, though) and that I was looking forward to meeting them…and my goodness but I’m delighted with them. They are two very talented and innovative individuals, doing wonderful garden art from the crows, cats and dog silhouettes that they do to the flower sculptures, ranging from ‘crazy daisy’ style plants that are attractive accents to the big focal pieces like echinaceas, roses, poppies, and oh, yes, my absolute favourite piece.

You may remember my Troubles With Hollyhocks and how the floral fates conspire to prevent me from having most hollyhocks in general and yellow ones in particular. Well, I’ve solved that problem forever. Behold, the only hollyhock I’ll ever need, ever again:

It’s about four feet tall, and it’s the perfect plant. When I spied it, I had to have it. Didn’t ask how much it was. (Jim and Carrie’s prices are exceptionally reasonable, incidentally). They even brought it back to the stage where I was speaking all weekend so I used it as a prop in my talks, and hopefully brought them more business.

So my war with hollyhocks is over. But what do you bet I’ll have yellow hollyhock seedlings popping up everywhere, after throwing all those seeds around the garden last fall?


  1. How pretty! I'm sorry to hear that you have problems with hollyhocks. I have good luck with some pink singles that I grew from seeds my grandma gave me from hers. In fact, it reseeds so prolifically that I am constantly pulling up seedlings from the stone area adjacent to them.

    I'm in love with that echinacea metal art piece I see in your photo.

  2. Hi Kylee, I get a good chuckle out of my hollyhock woes...in fact, I poked fun at myself in my talks all weekend, and a friend and fellow writer interviewed me for a story she's doing about plants that do challenge us. We all have them, don't we?

    Yes, Jim and Carrie's work is marvelous...

  3. Hi Jodi. It was great to finally meet you. Thank you for the comments (and the plant)and we'll be seeing you soon.
    Oh, and Jim says tell your husband to ease up on that hand shake- he thinks he broke his hand.....
    ~ Take care,
    Carrie and Jim

  4. I love your Hollyhocks ... and I will go and check out the garden art at Metal Petals. Surely they ship??

    It sounds as if the Expo was a big success... we do have incredible creativity and talent in this country. But then we are saddled with conservative politicians who've never looked beyond their latest briefing paper.


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