Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blue skies and sky blue penstemons

Penstemon crandallii (formerly known as P. teucrioides) not far from its type locality near Como in South Park. The name change is appropriate, since this really is the Prince of to speak! The picture was taken last week, as I drove a van full of North American Rock Garden society annual meeting attendees back to Denver.

This is the fifth annual meeting the Rocky Mountain Chapter has hosted in the last 28 years, which means we have averaged a meeting every 5-6 years. Thanks to (primarily) the enormous efforts of Randy Tatroe, Hugh McMillan, Lee Curtis and a terrific team of guides this meeting was special...there were others who helped a lot, but there are always a few who expend the most effort. The logistics of this sort of thing boggle my mind. So I am grateful that there are those who are good at it. I was not alone in being charmed by Salida, one of Colorado's loveliest and least kitschy mountain towns. The tundra bloomed obligingly, if not quite as vociferously as other years (although reports are that Cottonwood Pass was awesome)...and the venue at the Steam Plant was terrific. Great plant sale. And the food was the best ever!

I feel sorry for those who boast that they are not joiners (loners presumably): the pleasure of the multifarious company of rock gardeners is not to be gainsaid. Such a mottley crew of scholars like the redoubtable and loveable Tony Reznicek, and keen private gardeners (how to pick from the dozens?) from all over North America. I have made many of my dearest friends at these meetings, and reconnecting with them at again is a perennial pleasure. I see Ted Kipping in many guises in my life, but most frequently at meetings where he is a pantemperate endemic. And the charming, beautiful, powerful women of the Rock Garden leadership: Grazyna Grauer, Maria Galletti, Joyce Fingerhut: it is worth the price of the meeting to watch them waft hither and yon like exotic antelopes on the plains of the Serengeti....or perhaps birds of paradise !

On my tombstone let it be engraved: "Here lies the body of a proud NARGS groupie!"


  1. Loners are in good company: David Letterman, Johnny Carson, H.D. Thoreau, Emily Dickenson, Stanley Kubrick, Isaac Newton, Barry Bonds, Rachael Carson, J.D. Salinger, Einstein and Piet Mondrian to name but a few. Most of us, however (75%+)are joiners or at least gregarious if political rallies, car races, parades, swimming pools on a hot day, Sunday school, college, and rock concerts are indicators.

  2. Ruth Carol CushmanJune 21, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Thanks to your wonderful blog, I identified P. crandalli in the Tarryall Hills with Como visible below. Also, thanks for making me laugh--I loved your comment about ancient Greeks!
    Ruth Carol Cushman

  3. What a treat to see that you've found Prairiebreak! I'm glad it's proving useful to you! I may have become ancient, but you've stayed the same for oh so many years!

    Have a great summer: it's going to be an amazing one!


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