By Roger Erpelding
Sometimes things just don’t work out. Last Sunday Beth and I planned to do our initial yard work–raking up odds and ends and picking up trash. However, Sunday we awoke to clouds, wind and cold. The temperature was 23, not sunny and in the low 40s. So the yard will wait, and we’ll hope for warm and dry weather this weekend.
Monday, March 14, was a different story. It was a warm and sunny day. After work Beth and I went out for a walk, and I had to take a quick peak on the south side of the house upon our return home. I found daffodils, tulips and hyacinths up. Far from blooming of course, but they were all a couple of inches tall. The tulips were long and narrow. The daffodils felt long and thin. The hyacinths were pointed, and one of them was far enough up where the point had already split showing new leaves. The yard work will involve clean up of course, but will also involve reveling in all the new foliage we can find.
In the meantime, in the sun room, things just keep moving along. Mary, the kafir lily I talked about in February, has four large flower stalks, called peduncles. The calyx have split, revealing four large clusters of buds, which should break out into bloom in the very near future. The “gudesnik” tulip sprouts have grown to about six inches tall, and they are now pregnant. By the end of the week they will need to be transferred to the kitchen.
And in the kitchen, the “General Kohler” blue hyacinths keep on blooming. They may be skimpy, but they are long lasting. The pink “Hollyhock” are in their prime, showing off their double flowers on nice stalks, and greeting you with a heady fragrance once you enter the kitchen.
The early double tulips have shown their worth this week. Tight buds one day, buds ready to burst the next day, and a pot full of flowers on the following day–you can almost watch them develop. They are slightly fragrant as I thought they would be. The problem is that in a week they will be dead, shedding their petals on the kitchen counter, making them far and away the messiest bulbs I will force. But as I said earlier they have earned their place, and I’ll force them again next year.
When I ordered the early doubles, I ordered the 15 mixed colors. This is always a “pot luck” experience. Beth tells me that most of the flowers are pastel yellow, with a few white, and one pink. Not a real good mix, but their flower form and rather compact growth habit makes for a nice mass effect in the pot. I’ll take my chance on not getting a complete mix.
On March 15 Beth and I attended a planning meeting of the Demonstration Garden in Urbandale. This is a space Master Gardeners improve and maintain each year. Margaret Spikes, coordinator, asked Beth and I some time ago if we’d do a garden this year. We agreed, and part of the meeting involved The Plaza Garden. Upon our return home Beth and I brainstormed as to what we might plant in it, and we passed our ideas along to Margaret today. In taking the Master Gardener course, about 40 hours of education and 40 hours of community service work is required to become certified. This year we need 6 hours of education and 6 hours of volunteer community service. Beth and I completed our class time earlier this month.
During our stint of obtaining volunteer hours last year, we spent a considerable time in the Demonstration Garden. Margaret was eager to put me to work–blindness was absolutely no concern of hers. My tasks included planting, mulching, weeding raspberries, watering, helping with our July open house, and fall clean up. Look for further reports as we share our garden knowledge and fun with others at the Demonstration Garden this year.