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A Bea in the Garden column: Plenty of ways to make up for late spring

Bea Westerberg may be contacted at

Did you take part in the world event that happened on last Saturday?

Did you know that it was "National Gardening in the Nude Day?" I myself did not find out about it until well into the day so I am sorry I did not tell you in time to take part.

As it was, I got a lot of scratches and bumps from gardening that day, so it probably was wise I did not take part. Also, Neighbors Tony and Rose were having a family event and that would have been something way too far outside the box to put them through.

For the most part, it is probably something we would have to work ourselves up to. They said the nude gardeners do go out in public and have group bike rides and picnics in addition to gardening. Something also tells me that it would be a good idea to check on any laws and rules that could put one on the wrong side of the law. Or at the very least, be sure to stock up on sunscreen!

I think that almost all the signs of spring/summer are really here.

The grass is a bright green and has to have been cut a few times. The dog and cat have been eating grass for weeks. Tree leaves have been popping out in a wide variety of green colors. The wood ticks are here and roaming around on both people and pets.

The very early flowers are already gone and the daffodils and tulips are starting their shows. Sunshine and rain took care of the last of the local ice sculptures that used to be snow banks.

Gophers and voles did indeed make it through the winter and making up for lost time. The bird population is revving up and nest materials are in high demand. The gravel roads are drying out but our vehicles still all have that same dusty road dirt look unless we do a daily car wash.

Humans have come out of their shelters and have brooms, rakes and wheelbarrows attached or near them.

Magnolias are in full beautiful pastel blooms. The flower and plant sales businesses are now fully stocked and are becoming a beehive of sales. It was beginning to look like this was going to be the year spring and summer were cancelled, but we may be able to remove the winter boots and mittens from the entry ways. I am not saying put them away; I am just saying move them so you do not have to trip over them every time you come and go.

Husband Larry "clear mowed" the flower beds and they appeared to be just brown earth but in less than week there are areas that have plants up and the flowers are blooming on them! I did not get out there in time to take a picture of the brown earth and it is way too late for that now. The jungle floor is filled in and soon will be heading to the sky. You must have been able to hear those plants popping and breaking through the earth with held back power.

We go from next to nothing to do to trying to do everything at once and I am getting tired just saying that.

We will need time to take in the plant sales including the local Garden Club's upcoming sale on Saturday, May 19 at 8 a.m.-noon at the Vermillion Falls Park. This is the place to get things that truly will make it through the winter here and people who can give good advice are on hand to help you with questions.

Another event that is a bit farther away but is something you have to see and take part in to believe is the Friends School Plant Sale at the State Fair Grandstand Building from May 11 to May 13. This has to be the Mother of all Mother Plant Sales in size and variety and all done with volunteers of all ages. Google this puppy for information if you have never been there.

One of our local gardening and hosta enthusiast, Mary Schwartzbauer, played a key row in building this program to raise funds for the school. They started with just a few small tables with plants for sale in someone's yard. They now are scheduling a large number of semi-trucks making daily deliveries to keep plants in stock.

The outdoor planting sales areas at local businesses will of course be open for longer periods of time but here again remember that the early birds usually do get the best worms (in this case plants and flowers) so don't wait until the last minute to shop. Also, the Hastings High School students have their plant sale that usually lasts until the end of the school year.

Even without gardening this time of year, it is getting crazy busy with things to do.

Graduation time events are filling in many calendars. The Hastings Farm Market will be opening in mid June. The market has a Facebook page and is the place to keep up to date on happening taking place there. Spiral Nature Foods Co-op, another supporter of local farmers, has announced that they have extended their campaign for growth through the month of May. Stop by and see how you can become a part of this vital part of the community.

I suppose one should only garden in the nude on the official day so I will keep my clothes on and head out to the garden. I hear your thank you.