Visiting plants people

Mary Sue Ittner
Sun, 25 Jul 2010 07:49:34 PDT

I've had the wonderful opportunity to visit bulb enthusiasts in New 
Zealand, Australia, France, Switzerland, England, Scotland, South 
Africa, and the United States. And I've had many people visit me in 
return. Being able to talk with people who share your passion is 
really special and along the way I've made many cherished friends. 
People have shared meals,  their houses, their favorite walks,  and 
given us tours of their gardens and plant collections. We have been 
invited to stay with people who had never seen us before. When we've 
been traveling with others, they too have been treated to the same 
hospitality we have been given and later talk about those visits as 
highlights of the trip. Some of my friends still talk about the visit 
to Maggi and Ian Young in Scotland. One of my friends who was not a 
plant person couldn't get over Maggi saying of a rhododendron she had 
grown from seed, "My boy is taller than I am now." And if Don Journet 
is reading this, my friends still talk about that amazing hike he led 
us on and his pulling out of his pack water for tea and 
coffee,  mugs, cake and other goodies when we stopped for "tea" on 
that hike when we visited him in Australia.

Although Lee started this with suggesting you visit people in another 
country, it is equally fun to meet people who live in your country 
(and easier to share seed and bulbs that way too.) In May I finally 
got to visit Jay Yourch who had become a good friend when we were 
working together on the wiki and to meet Tony Avent too when we went 
to a college graduation of my niece. We went a day early hoping to 
have this opportunity and were very glad we did.

None of this would have been possible if I hadn't "met" these people 
through the Internet and mostly from bulb and especially this bulb list.

Early on I visited Sir Peter Smithers in Switzerland. I was trying to 
get up my courage to ask him (I considered him a famous bulb person 
and me a novice) if I could visit when we were going to spend a month 
with a group hiking in that country. And then he wrote to the IBS 
list that he liked to think that all of the women on the list were 
beautiful and in addition were great botanists and horticulturists. 
That stopped me for awhile, but eventually I asked him anyway and he 
assured me that a real person was better than a virtual person any 
day. The day we spent with him and his wife was magical and one I'll 
never forget. And it has been followed by many more visits away and 
having people visit us as well. I have to say that some of the people 
I have met this way I consider to be some of my very best friends.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers 

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