Home & Garden

Gardener's almanac (Feb. 12)

A poinsettia Valentine's story -- Janice Jones sent me this lovely story about her mother's poinsettia. I can't help but think it makes a good Valentine:

"In December 2009, I gave my 81-year-old mother, Jean Domann, her annual birthday poinsettia plant from our local Stone Creek Nursery in El Dorado. The red-leaved plant normally adorned the kitchen table in her 90-year-old home, but occasionally it would move into the living room for bridge parties, Women's Mutual Benefit Club meetings, and family gatherings. In years past, as winter changed into spring, she would try moving her poinsettia outside before the plant would ultimately end up in the trash.

"The 2009 poinsettia plant was going to be different. Its leaves kept staying red, and Mom and our family would awe at red poinsettia leaves throughout the summer of 2010. Mom had been battling cancer for the past five years, and she bravely and faithfully endured multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. The radiation caused her to lose her saliva and much of her taste. She even had to take a bottle of water to daily Mass to help wash down her Communion. Despite all of this, she never complained. She persisted through her treatments, just as those red poinsettia leaves persisted at the kitchen table. She would sit at her table drinking her meal of protein powder in orange juice or her favorite Arby's Jamocha shake, admiring the poinsettia plant in awe and wonder. Mom sat up at the table until just several days before she died in September 2010.

"Mom's old, two-story house is for sale now, empty except for a desk, a wardrobe, the table and chairs ... and the poinsettia plant that remains on the table. There are many healthy green leaves and a few small red leaves left, and I continue to visit the house weekly and water the plant. Every time I see it I feel her presence and am warmed on these cold winter days by the many memories of her love and inspiration."

Enter your terrariums, houseplants, branches... Entries are being sought for the floral design and horticulture divisions of the amateur flower show that takes place during the Wichita Garden Show. The show will be March 2 to 6 at Century II.

Houseplants, a beautiful fruited or coned branch, or the branch of an evergreen that you prune from a tree outside, as well as designs of fresh flowers and dried flowers, can be entered in the show. For more information, call Mary Buffo at 316-755-2436. There is also a commercial division this year for businesses that want to set up a display of plants.

Daylily meeting — The Wichita Daylily Club will meet today at 2 p.m. at Botanica. The speaker will be club member Terry Pitts, who will talk about his "get-growing" experience when he started his nursery in Sterling and sought the expertise of a soil consultant to help him improve his garden for optimal growth. Visitors are welcome at the meeting, and attendance is free.

Aquifer storage talk -- Denice Bruce, communications specialist for the city of Wichita, will be at Botanica on Wednesday for a talk titled "If You Ran Your Garden Hose for Six Years." It will be about aquifer storage and recovery and its importance to our future water supply. The lecture starts at 12:15 p.m. and is included with membership or admission. Syl's will sell lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $7. -- Annie Calovich