For those readers of the Bicycle Garden that don't know about it, there is this simply amazing directory of garden bloggery called "Blotanical." The challenge of the blogosphere, of course, is that you could waddle along forever posting your polished little gems, without ever having anyone but your mother and best friend finding your site. Oh, maybe you'll pick up the odd neighbor or two (not that my neighbors are "odd," meaning "peculiar," though that could be the case, too...), but really, with all the stuff on the internets, the chances are that you could spend most of your days spinning your trails of wisdom out there into the vast emptiness of ether-ness with nary a connection to another living being. Or something like that.
So one day, shortly after I started on this dubious enterprise myself, I managed to find another garden blog. Over on the sidebar it had this little button with the name "Blotanical" on it, and out of curiosity I clicked it. Faithful Readers, shall I tell you that it was much like going through a portal to an alternate universe? There were garden blogs all the heck over the place, talking to each other. I signed up in a heartbeat and suddenly my little blog had a readership. (Well, it was not quite so easy as that. I had a little password problem, and for awhile nothing seemed to happen. Then Kate, over at The Manic Gardener, took pity and contacted me to alert me to the fact that I was not getting the full Blotanical Effect. I in turn contacted Stuart, the creator of all this bloggery goodness and he got me all straightened out...I am indebted to both. Truly.)
But the best part about the Blotanical thing is not that other blogs found me, but that I found other blogs. My goodness, Fair Reader, if you have never clicked on the little Blotanical button on my sidebar to check it out, hie yourself over there right away. There you will find multitudes of garden blogs so much better than my meager offering. Go ahead, do it now. I'll wait.
Hmm, hmm-hmm, mmm, hmm, I'll al-waaays love something something hair, dumm da dum, something something moooons and dah dah dah along the chicken wall, hmmm mmmhhhhm...
Are you back? Good. Anyway, one of the reasons I bring all of this up is that one of the many blogs I found through Blotanical was a British site called Veg Plotting, run by an energetic woman we know as "Veep." Earlier this week, in a fit of inspiration surely brought on by too much snow in the garden, Veep put out a dinner party challenge to her fellow bloggers on Blotanical. If you could invite three to five gardeners to dinner, she asked, who would they be? We were all supposed to think about this for a few days and post our guest list today.
Well, it was indeed a challenge, but I've finally finished my cogitation, and so without further ado, here is mine:
Sue Hubbell tops my list. For many years, SH was a professional bee-keeper on a small farm in the Ozarks. She has written two books about this experience that have become all-time favorites of mine, A Country Year, and A Book of Bees. Can I say that even before this challenge, every time I read one of those books (and since one of them is on a book list for one of the courses I teach, I read it often), I think I'd like to have SH as a neighbor. She is full of curiosity about the natural world, dryly funny, and down-to-earth. We could talk chickens and bees.
Michael Pollan is on the list, too. Yes, we all know MP from his writing about food, but he's also written two more of my favorite books, Second Nature and A Place of My Own (which is about building a writing hut from scratch, so you know that's going to appeal to me). However, where I think I'd have no trouble at all talking to Sue Hubble, I confess that I think I'd be too intimidated to talk to MP. I just get all tongue-tied when I'm around people I don't really know, and when they are famous people I don't know, the problem is surely compounded. Sorry, MP, I'm sure you're a nice guy and all, but I'm shy. So to take up the slack, I'll invite another big-name author to talk to MP for me,
Diane Ackerman, a poet and author who wrote a charming book about gardening called, Cultivating Delight. From her writing, I can say that DA seems like a very intelligent, interesting, and kind person, and I'm convinced that the conversation between SH, DA, and MP would be enriching and more than a little fun. And a shy person wouldn't have to make a peep.
But there's a bit of a problem left with which I must grapple, and that is who will do the cooking. In truth, I love to cook, and I think I'm pretty good at it. But I am absolutely phobic about cooking for people other than myself and my husband. Seriously. I hyperventilate and everything. I just can't handle the pressure.
So to help me in the kitchen I'd like to invite Lynne Rossetto Kasper, the host of The Splendid Table, a radio show that is all about food and cooking. I love this show. And I listen to it on podcasts when I'm out in the garden, so I'm thinking that qualifies LRK as a guest, even if it turns out that she is not a gardener herself (I have no idea about her status in this department, since I can't recall if she's ever mentioned it). I'm being a little devious here, since my impression of LRK is that she enjoys cooking so much, she wouldn't be able to stay out of the kitchen. And I could use the help in there.
She can pick the menu. And the wine.
Well, there you have it, my little dinner party. I think I'd like to have it during late summer, after I've started harvesting my tomatoes and peppers. We could grill outside. In the summer evenings here, after the sun finally sets, the air cools down marvelously in this dry air. I'll fire up the twinkly patio lights that circle the back garden and we'll sit around on the flagstone drinking wine and supping--it'll be like magic.