March 14, 2010

Matthew Wilson

February 17, 2010

Whoever gave Matthew Wilson the moniker “The Heathcliff of the Hedgerow” did him no favour.

I must say that when I read Sonia Day's article about Matthew Wilson, I was intrigued. Sonia described him as a “Hunk” with “movie-star good looks.” “Woo hoo. Here's a hot date not to be missed.”

From his press photo you would assume that Sonia's evaluation was correct.

Matthew Wilson

Matthew was on a promotional tour of his latest book “Royal Horticultural Society, New Gardening, How To Garden In A Changing Climate.”

New Gardening by Matthew Wilson

I arrived at the Toronto Botanical Garden expecting to see this horticultural heart throb.

Toronto Botanical Garden

The floral hall was packed. You must excuse the photo below. I think this is the first photo that I have ever used where you have people blinking, but I did want to show you how packed the hall was. That is Mary Fran McQuade in the denim shirt with Lorraine Flanigan, with the gold scarf. Lorraine had told me earlier, through twitter, that she was very excited about attending.

Floral Hall, Toronto Botanical Garden

By the time I finished schmoozing, all the seats were taken except in the far back, so I didn't bother trying to get any photos of the presentation.

I must say I was rather cynical. I expected to see a gigolo oozing greasy charm.

Instead I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was just a normal average guy, typical of the horticultural industry. And he does have a fantastic sense of humour, more of an eco-comedian rather than a hedgerow Heathcliff.

His personal stories about himself and his family were funny and entertaining.

He didn't do what most people interested in spreading the ecology gospel would do. He did not make the lecture a platform to share political views. So often, if you attend a lecture on ecological “green” gardening it is slanted toward left of centre politics, usually on the far left, so much so that it can turn off anyone with a moderate opinions.

His lecture was informative and engaging.

Toronto garden enthusiasts (below left to right) Brenda McCrank, Barry Parker, Helen Battersby and Sarah Battersby, attended the lecture. Helen and Sarah have written a great article on the lecture.

Floral Hall, Toronto Botanical Garden

I ran into my old friends from The Southern Ontario Orchid Society, (from left to right) Linda Kafka, Cathy Tacoma, Inger Brania, and Cathy Mills.

Floral Hall, Toronto Botanical Garden

I hadn't met Linda Kafka before but I knew her late father, John, years ago. I still have a plant, Epiphyllum oxypetalum, which came from a cutting from Cathy Tacoma, which came from a cutting of the original plant that John Kafka collected in the wilds of Central America. Here is Linda, below, with Marjorie Mason, Horticulturist and Radio Host.

Floral Hall, Toronto Botanical Garden

Eventually, Lorraine had her chance to meet Matthew and get an autographed copy of his book.

Matthew Wilson & Lorraine Flanigan

You can read about it on Lorraine's website, City Gardening.

Matthew Wilson & Lorraine Flanigan

As I left, I passed by the TBG store. It was nice to see that the shop was getting some traffic. It has been a hard space to fill in its' new location.

Toronto Botanical Garden Gift Shop

If you are hosting a garden related event in the GTA and would like it covered in gardentoronto.ca or would like to place an e-poster about it on our Events Calendar, just contact me. I am always delighted to promote anything gardening in Toronto.

Mark Disero

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