Penner shares humorous look at the diverse world of horticulture
Lyndon Penner highlighted a smorgasbord of foods NOT to eat during his season opening presentation at the 2018-2019 Write Out Loud series.
And, for the record, you just might not enjoy Noni fruit or Wood Apple.
Penner, who has written four books about gardening on the Canadian prairies, said he chose to make his presentation on a topic which would appeal to the diverse crowd attending the author series.
“If I’m asked to speak about writing or to appear somewhere as an author, I have to assume that at least some of the people in the audience aren’t gardeners. So I have to do something that is going to be fun for those who do garden, but also not going to be absolutely boring for those who don’t. And everyone eats. So if you talk about fruits and vegetables, everyone has a frame of reference for that,” Penner said following his September 19 presentation.
“I talked about some things that you will probably never encounter anywhere in your entire life. But also at the same time, we go to the grocery store and we think apples and bananas are the end all and be all of fruits. But there are thousands for fruits in the world. There are thousands of plants. There are thousands of fascinating life forms that share a planet with us. And the natural world is never dull.”
Penner did share some of his gardening expertise during a question and answer session following his presentation. Penner clearly has a vast knowledge of horticulture, and has taught classes at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of British Columbia, Olds College, and the Calgary Zoo Botanical Garden. In addition to his four books, Penner appears as a gardening columnist with CBC radio stations in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and he is a frequent guest speaker at universities, colleges, and gardening associations across Western Canada.
He is passionate about horticulture, noting that people express themselves with what is in their yards and gardens.
“Everybody’s garden is a tool of communication. Your garden says something about you.”
“Gardens should not be random. They should be thoughtful and planned, and that will increase the pleasure you get from them. There has to be an end game. Why are you planting this? What is the goal of this plant? What need is being met by you occupying this space with a shrub? And a lot of people don’t stop to ask that.”
Penner says his job in a sense is to facilitate self expression through gardening. And while some gardeners prefer structure while others prefer ‘gently controlled chaos’, both provide equal pleasure for the person who is putting it there.
“Sometimes you go to a nursery and you say ‘I would like to grow a hedge’ and they say plant Cotoneaster or Alpine Currant. And I don’t believe that gardening is a one size fits all thing. Something that grows really well in your yard might not like my yard at all. And just because something is popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best thing.”
“If your garden is going to say something about you, you should be deliberate about what it says. It shouldn’t be incidental.”
Local musician Sheyenne Funk supplied the musical entertainment before Penner’s presentation.