Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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Twittering “The Adventures of Black Adder & Tuxedo”

twitter2This is a story of how a great exchange of ideas leads to an exchange of great of plants, which leads to a greater exchange of laughs, all within the confines of Twitter’s 140-character limits…

First, a little background.  I get asked ALL THE TIME “What’s the deal with Twitter?  Aren’t you a little OLD for Twitter?  Doesn’t it just waste your day?”  The answer is a resounding “NO”.  First of all, I communicate with a group of amazing gardeners “ both professional and non-professional, who all have a passion for anything garden related.  We don’t often go down the super boring road of ‘I’m having a salad for lunch’ type posts, but usually send photos of our plants, links to articles, ‘mystery plants’ to ID, questions to answer, etc..

One day this Summer, though, things took a bizarre turn…

I had recently joined Twitter, and happened to click on a picture that some guy from Ireland sent showing the plants he breeds at his nursery in Ireland (Fitzgerald Nurseries).  The photo was amazing, showing things I’ve never seen – thousands of plants growing in little trays of agar – such a production line!   I was hooked! Patrick and I began exchanging ‘tweets’, and I discovered he was introducing some plants to the US, and was having one of our local growers (Native Sons & Pacific Plug and Liner) propagate them for him.

But wait – it gets even better.  The plant he’s breeding is one of my very favorites – a Ceanothus, which is native to Northern California – but one with black leaves (be still my heart) and light blue flowers, and it blooms in the FALL instead of the typical Spring Ceanothus ‘Tuxedo’.  I thought I’d drop over dead with excitement over this new variety!!  In addition to the Ceanothus, he’s breeding a new black leaved Phormium ‘Black Adder‘ – again, one of my favorite plants and favorite colors.

One of my new Twitter friends, Carrie Stokes (who lives in Sacramento) was kind enough to get ahold of several of these plants from Pacific Plug and Liner, and babysit them for several of us NorCal designers.  Well, you don’t have to ask me twice! So, while driving up to Lake Tahoe for a summer vacation, I stopped at Carrie’s home to pick up these amazing plants..

Now that I had them safely in the back of my car, we went on our way up to the Lake.  Once there, I had to unload them and keep them in a safe place, away from any critters that might come through and destroy them (ie: raccoons or bears).  So, I thought I’d send Patrick a ‘thank you’ for the plants, along with a photo showing their new temporary home…

The following is the exchange of events:


black adderFrom sweetrebecca to PatFitzGerald Hey Pat – I wanted to show you that so far the bears have left your (now my) babies alone..

His response : That’s a really cool picture Rebecca, thats up at Lake Tahoe? I am almost weepy seeing my poor babies..

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black adder at the beachFrom sweetrebecca to PatFitzGerald Yes we’re at the lake-took them to the beach today- had lots of fun- will send postcards…

His response: Now I am really splitting laughing that’s a really cool picture – you’ll watch they don’t burn right??

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black adder sunburnedFrom sweetrebecca to PatFitzGerald Uhh…okay…maybe a little late?  SPF 55 didn’t really work for their tender Irish complexion!!

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black adder in the treesFrom sweetrebecca to PatFitzGerald Hey Plants – get OUT of those trees!! Pat-this may be the last time I take them on vacation..gotta run

His Response: Just a comment- none of my biz now they’re yours but it might be better you dress them in same pots when taking them out

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blackadderbeer

Then Carrie Stokes (@betweenthelimes) sends us a photo of her plant’s behavior!

From betweenthelimes to sweetrebecca I think me & Black Adder will get along swell!!

My response: Okay- I laughed so loud it literally echoed thru the forest & scared the chipmunks…

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black adder tucked into bed From sweetrebecca to PatFitzGerald Patrick, they’re all tucked into bed ready for their goodnight story…

His response: Finally seems restful-not sure this Garden Designer knows much bout plant breeding – her plan isn’t going to work!

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The moral of this story?  Twitter isn’t only informative – it’s FUN.

And where are Black Adder and Tuxedo now???? They’re back at my home in Los Altos, waiting to find their new places in my garden…



18 Responses to Twittering “The Adventures of Black Adder & Tuxedo”

  1. Such a fun post, Rebecca. I remember the original exchange; I loved it then, and do so even more now that you’ve recapped it here. You have also reminded me that I must have Pat’s Phormium ‘Black Adder’ next year, even if it is tender in N.H. Do you know there is a Black Plant Society? Let’s join together!

  2. So happy that you shared this great sequence of fun Tweets, Rebecca. I was there the day all of this went on and I have to say it was a hoot!
    Camera hasn’t left my side since!

  3. Love this (though now I’m worried that all my plants will get jealous because I never take them on vacation). Love twitter. Who would have guessed that a vibrant gardeners’ community could grow and thrive in just 140 characters. My family is threatening a Twitter intervention.

  4. OH MY! How did I miss that twiiter exhange with you guys? I must have been on vacation at the time. Thanks for posting it all here…I can’t stop laughing!

    I’m going to show this to all my friends who think I am nuts to twitter. Well, maybe after reading this they will think we are ALL nuts! LOL

  5. My friends think I’m nuts for tweeting, too. I like blogging because it’s thoughtful and twitter because it’s fast and fun so they complement each other. Oddly, the social media I don’t get much out of is Facebook – the most popular one!

    FYI, had a grilled chicken breast and sauteed spinach for lunch, in case you were wondering ; – )

    • I agree – I have a hard time with Facebook, too. Definitely my least favorite (besides LinkedIn, that is…) I’m having iced tea now. And sitting in the sun. 😉

  6. I was in tears from laughter when you started posting those pics on Twitter! Poor Pat, I wonder if he’ll ever give me plants again! He probably thinks us NorCal girls are a bit crazy! I still crack over his ‘breeding” comment to you!

  7. I’m waaaaay on-board … bring on the gossip in the garden!
    Had been reading along on this exchange, but until now had not fully appreciated the creativity & humor of the accompanying photo-essay.
    What I’m hearing is this: “I don’t know what twitter is and I don’t want to!”
    They’ll never experience the community we seem to have created online and in life!!!

    • I don’t know what it is with people and their nervousness over Twitter. I’m having a meeting with a woman tomorrow to show her how to set up a Twitter acct – yeah!! another convert! I agree with you, we’ve really created a great community of gardeners who talk about RELEVANT issues (as well as the funnier side of life)….

  8. BAHAHAhahaha!
    You have KILLED me with funny! I have to admit to being VERY leery of twitter, and now I am SUCH a convert (as you know!) Not only have I ‘met’ some incredible gardeners and learned about new plants, I am continuously inspired by the spirit created on this online garden club we have!
    This post is a wonderful example of what I’m talking about – learning about great new plants and laughing while doing it? What more can a Plant Fiend want?

    • I’m SO glad you like it! You never know, ya know?? I, too, am leery of all things touted as the ‘latest, greatest in social media’…but Twitter is different. It takes a certain amount of ‘creativity’ to get your point across in 140 characters without sounding boring, too… pretty cool!

  9. Great post Rebecca! Love the quick exchanges and the great links I’ve found through all you more knowledgeable tweeters. This exchange between you, Pat & Carrie is a riot!

  10. That is hilarious, Rebecca!! I love Twitter, too – the fast pace is nice, as is the feeling that you don’t have to absorb everything – just dip in when it’s convenient and see what’s going on with the people you like and respect. People who think it’s a time-waster probably try to consume it all.

    LOVE the Tuxedo – must get one for my own garden!

    • Thanks Gen! I agree – Twitter is so ‘quick’ by it’s very definition..140 characters – love it!! No rambling, no extra words…the ultimate in a fast read! I’ve seen the ‘Tuxedo’s’ for sale at Annie’s Annuals, too!