In a moment of utter foolishness, I submitted a proposal to do a presentation at Ignite Portland 4, an event where presenters show 20 slides that change every 15 seconds. I believe I had a momentary lapse when I offered up my idea, because I just got a rejection notice. (I mean, I think you really have to be way way more hip and cool and geeky than I am to be selected for events like this one.)
But I had a lot of fun making my presentation. Uh, yeah, I already made it. (That’s how foolish I feel right now!!) So, Ignite Portland’s loss will be your gain, because I’m going to show you a blog-friendly modified version of my slide show right now.
How an X-Rated Plant Came to my Parking Strip
I come by my green genes honestly. Granny and Blaine (that’s what we called my grandparents on my dad’s side) always had the best garden and orchard and flower beds in their locale.
Granny’s delphiniums grew so high they loomed over her head. (Sorry about the shades of grey, but this was before we could afford color film.)
So it’s no surprise that I was drawn to gardening when in a home of my own, and I have known some success at this hobby. For example, check out the banana plant that grows in the Zone of Denial in our back yard.
And these fine specimens by the waterfall:
You get the idea… so several years ago — soon after the wheelchair ramp went in and provided a veritable clean slate for gardening in the front yard — I put in a bunch of wild and exciting plants in the Zone of Exuberance.
First, I planted some Love Lies Bleeding:
then another kind of Amaranth:
After they comingled and cohabitated, this is what happened:
No, I am not making this up, and this picture has not been modified to fit your screen. It looks exactly like an engorged erect penis. With testicles.
Here’s another view:
We dubbed it the Cockandballs plant. Our parking strip was full of them! Kind of a phallic forest, if you will.
We thought it was our private little joke until we overheard the embarrassed titters, admiring whistles and outright guffaws from passersby.
Then one day I was telling someone I had just met where we lived, and her eyes widened, her voice raised 12 registers, and she said, “YOU live in THAT house?!? The one with the PLANTS???” She fell to her knees in an “I’m not worthy” stance and said, “You do realize that people make pilgrimages from all over the city to see those plants!?”
Uh, no, not exactly. But come to think of it, we have noticed people — viz., gay men — showing up with landscape cameras and tripods and spending hours taking portraits. We have viewed our plants with renewed respect ever since. And watched them closely. We’ve seen a lot along the way…
On this day, two words: Lorena Bobbitt:
We call this section the Vienna Boys Choir:
They self seed, and the seed stays true to form. We’ve passed on a lot of seeds over the years, and we’re beginning to spot them elsewhere in the hood. Someday I expect to see the plant marching across the metro area… who knows where this will end????
So I may not ignite Portland, but we’ll go to our graves with the comfort that comes from knowing we are leaving a legacy.