My wife Marcia and I have a tradition each year regarding the Academy Awards. Being movie buffs, we try to view all of the nominated films (next to impossible since they have expanded the field to 10) and then have a special evening on the night of the Oscars. Our “off-the-hook” Oscar party typically goes as follows: we open a bottle of our best Virginia Wine, cook a nice dinner, watch the red carpet festivities and promptly fall asleep after the Best Supporting Actress Award, around 10:30 pm eastern time.
The perfect dress for the gardening Oscars.
For those of you who think this is lame, I would remind you that 10:30 is a full hour later than we usually fall asleep on a Sunday. (Jack Nicholson has several times requested to come to our Oscar party and we have politely refused.)
The first one to wake up the next morning checks their smartphone, nudges the other one and mumbles something like: “Eastwood…thank God,” or “No Country for Old Men,” which elicits groans, since we didn’t like that one. As old married people go, we do have different tastes in many things, but when it comes to movies, we typically agree. And when we don’t, that’s OK.
Awards should be for those they honor, don't you think?
It’s time to have an awards ceremony for my other best friends; I’m talking, of course, about my plants. (My profession of school administrator has required I give up real, human friends.) For the next few blog entries, I will be nominating some of my “Chlorophyll Companions” in a series of categories as part of Jim’s Garden Awards Oscars.
I probably should have this award in the spring or fall, though, so my plants could get dressed up, slap on a flower and parade the red carpet. There are no azaleas in my garden, on account of the fact that Barbara actually had taste, so they can’t steal all the attention and win all of the awards. And we won’t have to look at their dress, which would almost certainly show too much cleavage. Yeah, I’m not an azalea fan.
Followers of this blog will remember that I do, in fact, have an award winning plant in my garden. Nellie Stevens, my charming Holly tree, was named holly of the year for 2011. That got me thinking, how many of my other plants are current or future award winners? A quick googlesphereosearch revealed one clear fact: this plant awards thing has gotten completely out of hand. It’s like schools these days–every kid gets an award. For example:
Nellie's award now means that she gets to be on this real poster from the American Holly Society.
The PPA Perrenial Plant of the Year: Amsonia Blue Star (Score! Got it!); The American Hemerocallis Society Arlo Stout Silver Medal Winnner: North Wind Dancer cultivar. (There were rumors of voter fraud from Persian Ruby, which lost by only ten votes; lawyers representing the Persian Ruby are trying to sort it out.) My personal favorite is the 2011 Rhododendron of the Year awards, given to 28 different plants, depending on the region. (What do you expect from a category that includes azaleas–every spring the bushes in my neighborhood wait for their medal and the attention they so richly deserve.)
Since winning this year's award, my Blue Star Amsonia has demanded to be fertilized more and wants to renegotiate her gardening contract.
I mean, seriously, who votes for this stuff? I sure didn’t get a ballot. Here is an actual quote from a posting on rosesuk.com about the 2010 novelty rose award winner “Souper Trouper.” This bright floribunda has vibrant orange blooms that are well-formed and freely borne on a neat bushy plant of medium habit. This rose caused quite a stir at the judges’ final selection meeting for Rose of the Year 2011.” Wow, quite a stir. Like what, a football riot featuring matronly British rosarians? Or is this more civilized Oscar style debate? Ordinary People beating Raging Bull was wrong, but we got over it.
There are also many smaller awards based on the state or region you live in. Did you know that the Mapleleaf Viburnum is the Georgia Native Plant Society’s Plant of the Year for 2011? Or that the Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association’s 2011 Shrub of the Year is the Heptocodium Miconioides? Feeling a little out of touch, are we? So why shouldn’t I have my own awards? Everyone else does.
Mapleleaf Viburnum. I wonder how many votes it got from members of the Georgia Native Plant Association. Was there any controversy?
Truthfully, though, I found one plant awards that has all kinds of plants I like, or might grow in my garden: The Charleston Horticultural Society Awards. Their 2011 “Lowcountry Gold Medal Plant Award” (Alright, stop laughing…) features a plant I have been researching to plant in my garden, to replace the Powis Castle–Little Henry Sweetspire. And since the award is restricted to Zones 8a, 8b (that’s me) and 9, I scrolled back through past winners. I’m pretty sure most of these plants would survive both my climate and my incompetence. I hope to vote in next year’s CHS awards. But in the meantime, I am going to have an Oscars just for my garden.
The future of my front bed. Little Henry Sweetspire. Maybe I should put in plants with awards..
I do need a host for the ceremony. P. Allen Smith seems to be too obvious a choice, but Audrey the plant from Little Shop of Horrors would certainly be more entertaining. There are no gardening movies to speak of, which I complained about in this early blog entry, read by almost seven people. on account of the fact that gardening is so boring. (Which would you rather see: “The Hunt for Red October,” or “The Hunt for Red Clematis?” Just saying.) I could get Billy Crystal, who keeps coming back like a bad penny, but I think I’ll host it myself. Considering that I will cast the deciding vote in every category, it does have a certain logic.
But crap. I’m gonna have to rent a tux. Call my agent!