Glory be to Spring – Story by Bartley O’Hara

by | Apr 4, 2024 | Residents Stories

Dante for sure captures it in his Paradiso–Can. 30; ll. 61-63

And I saw light that took a river’s form—
Flashing a reddish gold between two banks
Painted with wonderful Spring flowers.

After a very warm, dry Winter, Spring arrived with well-chilled air and perfectly timed rains that gave tulips and their cousins like the daffodils and jonquils ground so loose it allowed time to grow healthy leaves and strong-hued flowers.

Then, just on cue, from the West came light,  ala Dante’s “flashing a reddish-gold” that brought longer days, thanks to the Good Lord and our Spring bonus–return to Daylight Savings Time

And faithful resident Garden Club volunteers are quite proud to see their Fall bulb plantings literally spring to life.   Many, many thanks to Miles Lee from Forest Hills staff–the Garden’s Miracle.

Quite a sight, and what a nice way to get our garden party started.

And we’d also like to report for at least for this year, we fooled the squirrels; none of our bulbs ended up on the crafty critters’ dinner tables.

Moving Forward and Downward

For Summer and Fall, gardening plans include renewing our yesterdays and raising more tomorrows. As we move to more outdoor activity, all Garden Clubbers have access to every activity because every venue id wheelchair accessible. As a first experiment in renewing yesterdays, the Garden Club plans to save Christmas poinsettias.

Based on a nine-month plan from New Mexico State University, we sketched a nine-month plan that’s comparable to animal hibernation–deep rest, with only maintenance watering; trimming and repotting; encourage slow root growth; gradual rise of nutrients; dark; and, finally, fingers crossed.  We shall see.

Spring-Summer–A Two-Crop Season?
Our climate will continue changing, and at a minimum that means warmer weather.  We already have mild weather and we’re going to stretch a bit to see what happens.

First Crop–Looks Promising

The Garden Club has already planted seeds for seven to eight favorites–beans: radishes, cucumbers, onions, hot peppers, etc.  They sprouted and Garden Club residents will transplant them in stand-up tables for two to three weeks and then replant again in a no-dig garden located in one of the Forest Hills courtyards.

We will return periodically to harvest, which we estimate as beginning mid-June, which would be mid-June and last to mid-July.

Second Crop–Stay Tuned

Meantime, a second crop would be getting started as seedlings in, likely, late May and moved through the same planting cycle.

With some luck, harvest would be late September-early October. Again, we shall see and report throughout on our garden adventure.

Resident Bartley O’Hara came to Forest Hills with his beloved wife and best friend, Judy.  He volunteers to work with FH staff on projects ranging from speaking and writing to helping with community events, gardening, and landscaping.  Originally from Denver, Colorado, he is a graduate of Notre Dame and Catholic University Law School.  He is a legislative attorney who represented unions, NGOs and corporations, dealing with issues affecting safety, transportation and addiction recovery.  He spends his spare time with daughters Lizzy Lazo and Mary Ryan Newkirk and wonderful grandchildren Bartley, Peter, and Birdie Newkirk


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