Gardener's Grapevine 2012.04.11

Written by David Green.

Easter Sunday has always been a favorite day for me. It is far more relaxed than when I was a small child. I still remember my Grandma Katherine putting my little hand in white gloves, and what a struggle it was when my fingers would not go into the right spots. I felt so grown up and special in a new dress, shiny shoes, gloves, an Easter bonnet and my own little purse.

My dad always gave his girls corsages for Easter. We all trotted off to church, and what agony it was to sit between the songs and be good! Like all small children forced to sit in church, it is so agonizing to sit still. I loved, and still do love, the songs—those beautiful old hymns and all the blended voices.

Today as I sat in church, which is a rarity as I’m usually back in Sunday school, a sweet little boy named Carter sat behind us with his momma and great-grandma, Wilma Fink.

Our family has been friends with the Finks for many generations and Wilma has taught many of us in school. She is a dear lady and so is her great-grandson. Like all kids, he was having a hard time being still. All of a sudden I heard a whispered, “Sit still or we will be going to the bathroom.” This made me giggle in church as my children swear we beat them to within an inch of their lives in every public bathroom, which is a very gross stretch. But we did, however, make many trips to the restroom in public when they could not behave and we stayed there until the child could get ahold of themselves and behave. Mr. Carter is a little doll, but inevitably he did make the dreaded trip to the restroom.

Easter, obviously, has many memories for many people. Flowers play a big part in that and they are usually flowers from bulbs. Many people do not realize that bulbs represent renewed life because they bloom year after year. That is the reason lilies, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are so widely associated with Easter. Millions of flower bulbs are greenhouse forced just for Easter.

To reuse bulbs, cut off the bloom and leave the rest. Put the pot in a sunny place. Keep the plant lightly watered and feed with a soluble plant food once a week. A bulb puts everything into making its flowers, so the bulbs must be built back up. After the leaves have dried up and turned a yellow-brown color, then they can be planted in the yard for enjoyment next year. 

Easter lilies are a whole other matter entirely. Most Easter lilies are not hardy, and they are not intended for reuse. To reuse an Easter lily, care for it as noted above. If it is planted in the ground and it re-blooms later in the summer, it is not a hearty bulb. If it comes up the following year, it is hardy. Sometimes the plant will come with a tag, and sometimes it does not, in which case just give it a try and time will tell. I wish you luck. My bulbs normally come back, but I’ve never tried an Easter lily.

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