This is a guest post by Holly McCarthy, who also writes about tomatoes and online courses at her website. Bulbs haven’t even entered my mind yet–I didn’t plant any, and I haven’t noticed any coming up–but they obviously have hers. E-mail her with comments at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com.
I saw this fun story in Sunday’s Orange County Register and wanted to share it with you. The dedication of this man is heartening and I thought as we all waited for spring, we could use a smile and a glimpse into the life of a man who seriously loves tulips!
According to the article, “This year, Fullerton gardener Wayne Daniels planted 2,500 tulip bulbs, 600 daffodil bulbs and other assorted spring flowers – totaling 3,200 bulbs – for what he describes, simply, as ‘the enjoyment of visitors.'”
Daniels has been doing this for almost 40 years now and is still going strong. And each year he draws a crowd. This year’s is bigger than previous years because he was mentioned on a foreign-language radio station.
The tulips get planted for others, not Daniels. He does it so those around him can better appreciate their environment. But Daniels is not getting any younger, and this may be his final year. He is 72 now and is having difficulty getting down on his knees to plant the bulbs. It is not a tradition that will go quietly and people have begun to wonder who will continue it in the future. That question remains unanswered.
“Before my mother died last year, at age 93, she still liked to tell people how I would get the kids together in our Montebello community and snitch flowers from the neighbors. Then, we’d go and sell them up the street,” Daniels said. “It gave us spending money; for 14 cents we could see a double feature at a theater in East Los Angeles.”
Daniels is a natural-born teacher and taught biology at Fullerton Union High School for 31 years, and still substitutes in the science department at Troy High School.
The tradition started in 1971, when Daniels moved to the Golden Hill neighborhood in Fullerton. He liked daffodils, and decided to include some tulips to give the yard variety. Though they are perennials in more hospitable climates, tulips do not bloom more than once in Orange County.
“This year, Daniels figures he spent $600 for bulbs purchased at Costco. That didn’t include soil boosters such as Kellogg’s Amend that, over the years, has produced a rich top soil with good drainage.”