I enjoyed a marvelous career in public broadcasting — thirty-five years with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In that time, I held thirteen different jobs in radio and television, production and program management in four locations — Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Toronto.
You might say that I specialized in presenting a moving target.
In 1994, with my wife, Rosemary, I retired to the Pacific northwest, the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, not far from Vancouver, Canada.
My ambition was to create the perfect garden (which is about as realistic as finding the end of the rainbow), through devoting my time to gardening and plant propagation. Since then, I have fallen into what amounts to a second career, centred on Meconopsis, the Asiatic Poppies and, in particular, the Blue Poppy: progagating from seed, growing, studying, photographing, traveling, lecturing, writing.
My own collection of Asiatic Poppies is probably the most diverse on the continent. By “diverse”, I’m referring to the variety of species, hybrids and named cultivars in my garden. It’s certainly not the largest collection.
That distinction belongs to Les Jardins de Métis, on the St. Lawrence estuary in the Province of Quebec, Canada, which has a historic, massed show of some ten thousand plants of a single species of Himalayan Blue Poppy, M. baileyi, quite possibly the world’s largest single display. The story of how this came about is related in “Blue Heaven.”