Irene Virag's Garden Party

I'm Irene Virag -- a writer, a gardener, a cancer survivor. I think ideas are like plants. They need nurturing to grow. And gardeners share both. So welcome to my blog. It’s all about what’s happening in my garden and beyond.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Great American Gardener

It's nice to be recognized for what you do. And so it was a real kick to learn that the American Horticultural Society named me a "Great American Gardener" as the recipient of the B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.

It's usually hard for me to toot my own horn but quitely honestly I can play a fanfare on this one. You can visit my website -- just click on "Kudos" -- and read all about it.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Click on Spring

Okay, so spring is official as of 5:58 this morning. But if you're like me and you can't wait till it looks and feels like the real thing, just click here. It may look like a black space but keep clicking -- all over the place -- and see what happens.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Fooling Mother Nature in Philly

So here I am jazzing it up at the 179th Philadelphia Flower Show. I thought I’d post a quick blog before the saints come marching in. I’m invoking the saints because the show was inspired by the aura of New Orleans – at least that’s what the press releases say – and it’s entitled “Jazz It Up.” Besides, when the saints come, I’m not sure they’d let me in that number.

I brought pen, pad, laptop and camera. But it wasn’t until I had to put in a new memory card that I realized I’d forgotten the cord I need to download the images. It was a lot easier when all you needed was a portable typewriter.

The show tries to reflect the joyful spirit of the French Quarter with ferns dripping from faux balconies. But it’s not quite the same. You have to be there. I was there just before Mardi Gras and indeed there were plenty of ferns and ivy but the brightest blossoms on the balconies were girls going wild. If I have any real criticism of the show, it’s that there is nothing to remind me of Katrina. Plenty of sadness still permeates the devastated neighborhoods of New Orleans.

Nevertheless, the show is very pretty, as usual, and it’s worth seeing. Some people don’t like the idea of fooling Mother Nature with forced flowers. I’ve always been one of them, but I’m coming around. It does warm the spirit to see rhododendrons and roses and clematis and calla lilies in full bloom on a blustery March day.

I especially like the way the designers sprinkled the motifs of music and Mardi Gras through many of the gardens. For instance, a saxophone moonlighting as a flower vase for orange tulips. Mardi Gras beads hanging from crabapple trees. A waterfall cascading from the frame of an old upright piano. Clematis climbing up a pole fashioned from trumpets and trombones. A bed of red and white carnations arranged in the shape of a guitar.

I’ll leave you on that note. In my next post I’ll tell you more about the flowers that caught my eye. And, if all goes well, I’ll even show you what they look like.