The "Practical Spirituality" Newspaper

The Spirit of Gardening

In News on November 5, 2009 at 8:31 am

There nothing I love more than buying new plants. Whether it be recieving boxes in the post from a mail order catalogue, buying plants on ebay or raiding someone else’s collection for new treasures that they don’t want to part with – I love it all.

Many years ago when I was working at Gardenworld, I was heavily involved in the Victorian Cactus & Succulent society. There was one particular event that was held every year that I really loved going to. They called it a ‘one day happening’. It was a day where the Melbourne, Gellong and Ballarat cactus societies got together in a big scout hall and talked, sold and traded plants. It was great because you got to meet new people as well as paw through other people’s plants trash-n-treasure style! It literally took you hours to get around the hall!

Recently I got to thinking about this special plant-buying day while I was trawling through the trade tables at the Bromeliad Society of Victoria’s annual show. After purchasing some 70 odd new plants for my collection I got to thinking about how plants come to be ‘bought and sold’ and generally shared out.

Sure, you can buy stuff. And that’s great. For mine however, I prefer to trade my plants. Selling plants has never quite suited me 100%. There’s something about trading a plant for something else – i.e. coins or notes. I like exact trades, whereby you receive something similar to what you have given. ( And anyway, money is no good to me because I’m only going to buy more plants anyway! )

So as I raced around the Bromeliad show with my heart pounding, scouring for the new and delicious, I thought I might put on a field day of my own. A day where people could come and inspect my garden as well as buy, swap and trade their plants.

Usually with plant field days where a group goes to a person’s private collection, the host of the day is the only one who sells plants. This is good, but I wanted to go one better. I wanted a day where people brought their own plants to sell, trade in or simply show off. Old, new, ratty, raggy or just surplus plants – it didn’t matter.

The key to the day was sharing out what you had. And this is a key element that I feel is missing these days from gardening – unless you strike an old timer who wnats you to take home a fistful of geranium cuttings. What’s missing is the sharing part.

Gardening, when you think about it is a luxury pastime that has it’s roots in farming. And farming was a survival thing. A tending to plants for the sakes of getting by. When the need to farm died out so many of the finer qualities of gardening. Sharing out what nature had shared with you became optional – and not mandatory.

So, Bromfest is my attempt to change all that. To rewind the clock to the farming days where you could bring your sack of spuds and take home some tomato’s, some Walnuts and a live chook. Not exactly tractors and haybales, Bromfest is a day where you get to ‘bring your garden along’ to share with others. To let go of your surplus harvest, show of what’s in flower and generally talk plants.

It doesn’t have to be Bromeliads, I’ve just set that tone for the day. It could have been called flowerfest, or gardenfest but I prefer my broms. And let’s face it, if you come over and see the garden and walk along “Bromeliad Boulevarde”, you’ll see Bromeliads. And plenty of them!

Bromfest will be held seasonally, with the exception of Winter.

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