The other night, I told my son that someone special was coming to town.
Santa? he exclaimed with a look of amazement (followed by confusion, because thats how a 5-year-olds brain works), knowing that it seemed early for Christmas. Obviously, I couldnt end the charade there, so I let him know that the person that is coming is a man, with a beard, who seems quite jolly.
More confusion as I could see the images of Legos dancing in his head. Could it be, we skipped Halloween and Thanksgiving? I knew what he was thinking, but I could also pick up a little bit of disbelief; the kid is getting older, and I think he may be onto his dads ability to pull his leg.
Is he bringing presents? he asked, realizing that this was like Twenty Questions and he was confidently on No. 19.
Well, yes, I proudly said, seeing the chance for an escape. If you like plants, hell be bringing all sorts of cool things.
I went too far, and the 5-year-old had me. He quickly realized that we wouldnt be tracking a NORAD Santa tonight, but instead it was just another plant or garden thing that dads involved in.
My guess is hell still get the Legos, but not for three more months.
The bearded, jolly fellow who will be coming to Durango one week from today is the senior curator and director of outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens, Panayoti Kelaidis. A second-generation Greek-American born in the mountains north of Steamboat Springs, he is a man of many talents, and they all inform his profession in inspiring and entertaining ways. His work includes the introduction of hardy ice plants, many Salvias, Penstemons and cacti, and scores of other plants to Rocky Mountain horticulture. He has traveled around the globe in search of plants that might prove as durable and responsible introductions to our plant palette.
And the Durango Botanical Society gets Kelaidis for five days.
Luckily for us, he seems to have endless energy and the gift of gab because from Oct. 6 to 10, he will give three talks, lead a plant hike in Mesa Verde National Park, act as a purchasing consultant at Native Roots Nursery and Durango Nursery and Supply, and even cut a ribbon at the new demonstration garden at the Durango Public Library.
All of these events are part of the Durango Botanical Societys inaugural fundraiser and educational outreach event. For details, contact me or visit www.durangobotanicalsociety.com. It has shaped up to be an amazing weekend, full of something for everyone. Maybe even my son.
email@example.com or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.