I have been teaching my “Roses Then and Now” class for close to 15 years. In that class, I talk about the history of roses, what varieties of roses were grown during the SCA period (600-1600 AD), and how they differ from the roses we commonly grow today. Back at the beginning of this year, I developed a follow-up one-hour class I call “How to Grow Period Roses” where I talk about common methods of propagation, where purchase rose bushes of period varieties, what you get when you order rose plants, what roses need to prosper, how to plant and prune, and what to do about pests. In the past month, I have travelled to two events and taught both classes. As it happened, both of the events were at Elchenburg Castle campground near Boonville, NC.
The first event was Gardens of Thyme, an Herbal Collegium held May 21. I was teaching in the morning and had about 8 people for the Roses Then and Now class, which was really good. However, they all moved on and I had no one for the second class on how to grow period roses. Eventually I did have one person join me and I generally covered the material in a casual manner but spent more time answering specific questions regarding growing roses.
Three weeks later, on June 11, I was back near Boonville to teach my both of the classes at Atlantian Summer University. This time my classes were scheduled for later in the afternoon, from 3-4pm for Roses Now and Then and 4-5pm for How to Grow Period Roses. I had about 5 people signed up for the first class but only 1 person showed up and they were late so I was a little pressed for time. The second class was better attended but I still had the issue of people showing up after I had started so that threw off my timing so the second class ran over time by about 15 or 20 minutes. However, since it was the last class session of the day and we were not at a site that we had to then rush to clean up and vacate (unlike most University events I have attended), running over was not really a problem and I did have a chance to cover almost all of the material I wanted to talk about. I do think I need to tighten up the presentation in the second class and I also need to keep an eye on the clock so I know when I should start wrapping up Of course actually starting on time and not being interrupted at the beginning would also help a lot.
I am signed up to teach both classes back-to-back at Pennsic on Monday August 8 from 9-11am. Generally I have had an almost over-flow crowd when I have taught the “Roses Then and Now” the last couple of years so we will see how things go this year.