By Lila Johnson, Mill Creek Garden Club Publicity Chair.
Ahh, there’s a chill in the nighttime air, pumpkin spice lattes are back AND Mill Creek Garden Club held their first meeting of the 2021-2022 year! Even though we couldn’t meet at our favorite Shawn O’Donnell’s, there was a sea of smiling faces at our Zoom meeting as everyone logged on from the comfort of their homes.
President Lyndal Kennedy warmly greeted our members and expressed hope we would be meeting face-to-face soon. She thanked all who worked so hard over the summer to keep the Garden Club connection going with raffles, a mini-garden tour with a garden party lunch, and a school supply drive for the Mill Creek Food Bank. A special Thank You was extended to our “Zoom guru” April Guentz. It’s good to have a techie thriving in the garden!
Our meeting featured amazing guest speakers, Kelly Dodson with his wife, Sue Milliken. They are proprietors of Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend which features unusual plants. They also run the non-profit organization, Far Reaches Botanical Conservancy. With the conservancy they travel the distant corners of the world (the far reaches, so to speak) to acquire and conserve horticulturally and botanically important rare plants, learn about them and teach what they know. Interestingly, technically they met at an airport (LAX) in 1997, but it sounds more romantic to say China, as they were both on their way with an expedition there……and the rest is history.
Although Covid has shut down their travels and impacted their farm/nursery, they provided fascinating photos from previous trips to China, Vietnam, England, and Myanmar. Their last trip in early March 2020, was to Argentina just before Covid hit hard. That trip was shortened to 3 ½ field days so they wouldn’t be stuck there for several months! (Check out the fun photo of the pair in the tree).
They shared photos of overnight accommodations—a “bunker” on the border of China and Vietnam. Their bed was a cement floor in a crowded narrow room. I won’t mention the encounter with a poisonous snake!
We learned about the tedious procedures of getting the plants and seeds back into the US and how they nurture them in their greenhouses to share them with other botanists around the world. They are an amazing couple whose presentation sparkled with their congeniality and knowledge. It is obvious, as their website states, they have a “lifelong obsession with plants!” They received an appreciative round of applause from the ladies of the dirt.
As is always a Mill Creek Garden Club meeting occurrence, April spun the Raffle Wheel and member Carol Taylor was the lucky winner of the “Hello Fall” basket full of pumpkin goodies. Congratulations Carol!
Currently Garden Club is not open to new members but follow us here in the News of Mill Creek to learn about upcoming activities and what’s been happening our way. Now it’s time to curl up with a garden book and that long-awaited Pumpkin Spice non-fat latte!
Guest speakers Kelly Dodson with his wife Sue Milliken in Argentina tree. Photo courtesy of Mill Creek Garden Club.