It's not often that gardening hits the headlines, much less the national news. But there it was on the CBS Evening News, a man growing tulips in Southern California. Not earth-shaking news, especially in California; it's technically possible, just more labor-intensive than your average garden.
The real story was the reaction of neighbors and passersby; true delight.
Wayne Daniels started growing a few tulips for novelty. The number of tulips grew with his audience, who look forward to the colorful and charming, but unlikely spectacle every year. They come with their kids and cameras, in cars and on foot. This front yard hosts quite the garden party for a couple weeks each spring.
The tulips now total in the thousands. He accomplishes it with the help of an old refrigerator that fools the bulbs into blooming without a chilling winter. It all started with a few flowers but now is more about the people. You never saw anyone get that excited about a front lawn.
As a University of Minnesota Master Gardener, I'll tell you time and time again, "right plant for the right place", to increase your odds of gardening success and satisfaction. As a lifelong gardener with a tiny subversive streak, all I can say to Wayne is, "Woo-hoo, way to go!"
Gardeners are generous people by nature and with nature. I recently realized the missing piece to my new garden is the human factor. It's lonely down in the cul de sac. My gardening efforts go unseen but for my family, the deer and a few lost souls looking for lake access. Surprisingly I find I miss traffic. I miss the sharing aspect of gardening.
I gardened before in front of God and everybody by a busy street where weary commuters used the shortcut past my house to save a little time. It was gratifying to see them pause at the stop sign, look over at me and my muddy knees, smile and sometimes yell out the window to comment on my huge climbing roses or whatever was blooming at the time.
Like Wayne I nurtured a noteworthy bulb display every year, adding to it until it was cause for celebration. Nice to know a middle-aged woman could still stop traffic, even it was just for her daffodils.
Check out the tulip-mania at CBS.