Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another University Club Luncheon

It seems that the University Club regularly
has luncheons with interesting speakers.
Hooray for me.
Today's luncheon featured Greg Speichert,
director of Hilltop Garden and Nature Center
at Indiana University Bloomington.

Mr. Speichert (pronounced Spike-ert)
is a nationally recognized expert in
water gardening, has written several gardening books
and has introduced several new plant varieties.

Don't you just love these beautiful arrangements
on the table?
Such lovely flowers.
And real they be.

Today's menu included a
bibb and watercress salad
with grapefruit and avocado,
served with a delightful lemon cumin dressing.

I have so got to figure out that recipe for the dressing.
I want that recipe.
I need that recipe.

The entree was
Fischer Farms sorghum glazed pork loin,
mashed parsnip potatoes
and sauteed green beans and cherry tomatoes.

Those desiring a vegetarian option received a
quesadilla with pepper jack cheese, sauteed onions
and peppers and topped with
tomato salsa and sour cream.

The desert was a strawberry mousse
layered with chocolate genoise.

Once again,
the food was superb
and the service excellent.

Then Greg Speichert presented his show on
Color in the Garden
(or how to do it right).

His suggestions were to follow the color of the seasons.
Plan for oranges, reds, yellows, browns and blacks in the fall.
Spring calls for pastels
while summer demands bright colors that can stand up
to the bright sun.

He asked us to remember the color wheel and how it works.
Colors opposite work,
as do adjoining colors.
And of course, green goes with everything.

Mr. Speichert also recommends going to the paint store
and picking up paint chips that coordinate
and then picking out plants with those colors.

He told of his revelation while a nurseryman and
that they are in essence outdoor decorators.

Apparently, the gardening industry grows plants
to last only 30 to 90 days at our homes.
"If they survive longer, 'we are gods.'
If not, toss the plant and get another."
Sounds like a marketing plan to me.

Placing an inexpensive garage sale-find mirror
in the garden can help to visually expand
the space.
Just don't be surprised if guests walk into it.

Here are some more tips for color in the garden:
dark purple is "the little black dress" for the garden;
the color of furnishings, hardscapes, foliage,
flowers, fruit and seeds
should be considered in the overall color scheme;
use a punch of bright color
at the end of a dark path
or dark color at the end of a bright path
to draw the eye down the path
and make the path look longer.

One of the sadder items we learned was that
Indiana University has gone from a staff
of 80 people to tend to the gardens and lawns
on the Bloomington campus to just 8 people.
How's that for budget cutting?
Despite all this,
IU is planning on participating in
our town's bid to win the
America in Bloom competition for our size city.
This was a wonderful, informative program.
And now we slide (or is that slid) to the left.

On the way home I stopped at my neighborhood
I found a small refrigerated case
holding small hamburger patties.
"Try a Slidder"
Or should I try a slider?
Slidder, slider, whatev.

It's all good.

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