I'm summing up two events in one post, so hold on tight! Meadowbrook Farm has two employees that are very supportive of Women in Horticulture, Jenny Rose Carey (go check out her blog post on the Featured Horticulturist Section), and Julie Bare. Both women gladly worked with me to coordinate the first event at Meadowbrook in October of 2017. As I was to be away on a wild collecting trip the date of the event, they reserved the site, provided lunch for the attendees, and ran the event without me present. Lucy Dinsmore the Happy Hour Coordinator for Women in Hort stepped in to be the token Women in Hort leader attending the event, it truly takes a village!
Attendees were treated to a tour and history of the garden, as well as an opportunity to network and discuss industry topics. Julie Bare reported back that many were interested in how Meadowbrook Farm prepares for the PHS Flower Show. She asked if Meadowbrook Farm could host ANOTHER event for us! Of course I said yes, and immediately penned that date in my planner to ensure I would not miss this one!
This second event, occurred just a few weeks ago on a sunny February morning. We were greeted by "Garden Closed for Private Event" signs, that made me feel like a very important guest! From there we shuffled in our winter jackets across the grounds, passing statuary, and gardens that were "just resting". Julie greeted each attendee warmly, provided us with tea or coffee, and reviewed the history of the garden. She lead us to a toasty greenhouse to meet with our tour guide, Nate, the one-man-show responsible for a large percent of the plant material at the PHS Flower Show.
Nate explained in detail about the quantity, variety, and growing needs of the plants in his care. There were plants in greenhouses, cold frames, hoop houses, and a cargo container that was refrigerated to stabilize plants that were progressing too fast for the March opening of the Show. As we went from greenhouse to greenhouse, I felt he was opening up chest after chest of the treasures that each of us on the tour valued most. Flats of onyx Ophiopogon, innumerable adorable hypertufa containers with their trendy succulents, and 6' Cercis that were just about to pop into flower.
The PHS Flower Show has always been remarkable to me, but now I think the wonders of our "behind the scene" tour with Julie and Nate might be right up there with the show itself. Many thanks to all those that have attended, and coordinated the events at Meadowbrook! You have provided wonderful experiences for Women in Horticulture