Rebecca Stewart & Old GardenersWednesday, September 02, 2009
In the last few days with the death of my friend Abraham Rogatnick my blogs have been a bit on the gloomy side. On Monday my wife Rosemary and our daughter Hilary returned from a wedding in Maitland, Ontario. That removed a bit of my gloom. Then later in the day I told Rebecca that we needed a picture of the two of us together to illustrate our separate articles for the publication of the American Hosta Society, The Hosta Journal. The purpose of the two articles is to promote the idea that many botanical organizations are dying off and getting few younger members to take their place. In the several American National Hosta Conventions that I have attended I have seen very few younger people and no children. When Rosemary and I took Rebecca to a convention in Washington DC in 2004 she was unique. There were not other children. It was a pleasure to see our 6-year-old granddaughter go bonkers over a tiny and very blue hosta called Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'. In 2004 it was most rare so I was not able to buy her one. But I did manage to get her another tiny hosta called 'Cat's Eye'. It came in our suitcase between two sheets of moistened newspaper. Now Rebecca has at least 10 different hostas. But her interest in the plant has waned as she has transfered her allegiance and interest to fragrant old roses and the equally fragrant but more modern English Roses. But both of us agree that hostas were our entry into gardening. In the case of Rebecca her transition from hostas to roses was more quick.
In 2004 many of the hosta guru/legends were still alive. On of them was Alex Summers, the founder of the AHS. He died earlier this year. Alex was a notorious mumbler in his old age and many in the society avoided sitting next to him in bus tours to hosta gardens. Somehow Rebecca and Alex got along fine and they talked to each other in the bus. I have no idea if Rebecca understood anything that Alex told her. Alex may have mumbled but what he always said made lots of sense. The other hosta legend that Rebecca met was Mildred Seaver from Needham Heights, Massachusetts. They had lots of fun together and when Rebecca and Mildred parted Mildred gave Rebecca a cute stuffed toy cat that Rebecca called Rosa.
As we walk the garden Rebecca and I can see many hostas and we love to put on them the faces of these hosta people Rebecca met in Washington DC. I have no idea if her interest in gardening will continue. Suffice is to know that she has been touched by many wonderful gardeners and that is one thing she will never forget.
Rebecca took this picture. Note the bulb in her right hand. In front of us is a yellow hosta that is the last in the catalogue as it is called Hosta 'Zounds'. In my hand is a potted hosta that is very difficult to grow as it is chlorophyll deficient. Janet's claim to fame is that no two leaves are ever the same. If you don't give it enough sun she sulks and dies. If you give her too much her leaves burn right through and you get ugly holes. The trick is to find that balance.