Keith Kridler, Texas

Tyler, Texas Master Gardener bulb sale

October 12, 2008
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Categories: Bulb Information, Growing Daffodils

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Three months ago the Smith County Texas Master Gardeners were worried that high gasoline prices would cut down on the numbers of bulb buyers coming from the normal three or four states to attend the information programs, bulb sale and all day demonstration/information tables. This is normally one of, if not the largest annual retail bulb sales, in the shortest number of hours in all of the USA.
127 people signed in for the morning programs delivered by Chris Wiesinger, owner of Southern Bulb Company here in Golden/Alba Tex. He is really known better as “The Bulb Hunter. The great Dr. William Welch from Louisiana came and presented a collection of world famous gardens and lesser known but equally stunning backyard gardens designed by common folks! Really great programs…wonderful information for the novice and or professional landscaper/designers! Each of them presented how plants will grow under ideal conditions but then told and demonstrated how each of us can create our own little back yard plots of Heaven on Earth no matter how bad the weather can get!
Each program took you along on a journey to far away places as the men shared their passion for plants and the people they have met who also share their obsession with natures wonder and beauty. Sometimes the peace and beauty is simply hidden behind the next bend in the road or across the street! We just need to search out these rare places.
Then Merlin Eck presented a Power Point program with killer shots of daffodils that Nancy Tackett provided them from Daffseek. Merlin gave a short description as the colorful shots exploded across the huge screen in a kaleidoscope of colors. The program was held in a sanctuary hall at the Methodist Church that could have seated 500 people. The images of the flowers seeming to create an entire wall of stained glass that changed form every few seconds. The entire room glowed with the softly changing colors reflected off the walls and high ceiling. Hard to believe such a large room warmed gently by reflections.
Merlin gave a whirlwind description of each flower as one variety after another flowed like a forest stream into view up on the wall and faded into the next. I could NOT believe that he gave the entire program on so many different types of bulbs all from memory. For those attending the program with far less memory capacity than Merlin or those too mesmerized by the beauty, each person had the list of bulbs with their descriptions printed out so that they just had time to mark the ones they wanted and still have time to enjoy the beauty of the photos. Each photo also had the name of the flowers super imposed upon the image so that you had visual and audio confirmation of those you just had to add to your collection.
Many people coming to this event were like Sandy and I and the rest of the Texas Daffodil people who had gotten up before 5 AM and drove the 80<200 miles to come to this event. I don’t know if it was the beauty and or serenity of the church setting. Maybe it was the lack of sleep these last couple of days as we work dawn till dark getting ready for winter. Could be the horrendous damage from the hurricanes or the turmoil in financial markets but from the back of the room the impact of Merlin’s presentation on my tired brain is really hard to describe even this morning. It washed over us like a series of powerful Tsunami’s but they were soothing and peaceful like a warm hug at the same time.
I hope that this was a preview of Heaven yesterday where you have perfect wall to wall images of all sorts of fabulous flowers. Each flower will be perfectly labeled when we get there with the correct name and some voice will gently inform you that YES you really can recreate a tiny piece of Heaven. You really can touch it or smell it for a fleeting moment in time with every flower you plant. One bulb at a time, you can weave a new color into tapestry surrounding your world!
For the Tyler group who spent a year working on this and worrying about their only fund raiser and seeing some of the bags of bulbs still sitting on a few of the tables as the sale was winding down, I am sure they were a little disappointed. I believe they were just involved in this project too deeply and or sitting too close to the screen for the rest of us who were sitting in the gallery it was an awe inspiring event. Keith Kridler

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