Reprinted from Pond & Garden May-June 2000
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I really wanted a fifth "victim" for this article and decided that, since I have been so blatant in my curiosity about the others, it would only be fair to reciprocate. When it came to the PCL, my email voice was probably all business, only part of who I am.
Though interested in plants as a child, the idea of creating the garden we have now didn't really occur to me until Ben and I were married 10 years ago. He is a Family (sometimes Emergency) Physician, today just keeping his hand in with friends and family. A seemingly unlikely couple, the "Paradise" we have created is even more unlikely! We are hobbyists gone mad.
Ponds are everywhere. We dig a hole to get dirt to fill waterlily pots; it eventually becomes a pond which needs more dirt for the pots of waterlilies. The ponds have to have decoration around them -- all sorts of plants, exotic tropicals, natives, orchids. The passion has really become full-blown with Victoria.
We both also have a passion for learning. Though many of Ben's interests have been within medicine, mine have been widely divergent, from journalism and photography to art galleries to real estate development to gourmet cooking and wine to horses and gardening. Each area of interest has been very rewarding and I have a thing about giving back in the areas that are so good to me. As a result I have been involved with local, national and international organizations, undertaking very interesting projects for them.
These have included writing for various national publications in many fields, organizing national and international meetings, art shows, horse shows including an Olympic Selection Trial, writing the dressage tests performed by riders throughout the US, setting up and keeping records of these activities and more. When our dear con-artist Betsy broached the possibility of undertaking the Registry project for the IWGS, I said "Piece of cake!" HA! Think again!
Let's come back to the fact that we are hobbyists! We have learned a lot as we've developed the garden but that was no preparation for the intricacy of the PCL. We have a basic botany text in our library now and of course "The Code". The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants is always at hand, as well as the dictionary needed to read it.
The work itself, the challenge of finding all the missing pieces of the puzzle, was almost addictive. Keeping up with John Wiersema when he was on a roll or Walter Pagels or Piers Trehane when they were sending information as fast as I could enter it in the database was almost obcessive. Now, the PCL is as finished as it ever will be, it's waterlily season and the garden bekons.