Spring plantings produce blooms of all kinds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 22, 2012

I have an April birthday, so this makes a total of 68 springs I’ve observed. After witnessing so many, I am a little surprised to find how my heart still unexplainably lifts when the first warm winds blow and the first purple violets make their appearance in our neighborhood.

Spring and hope all mix together somehow.

Emily Dickinson writes in one of her poems that “Hope is a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul.” Another writer declares that “the only emotion stronger than fear is hope.”

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As February’s starkness turns into veritable clouds of dogwood and wild fruit tree blossoms followed by that delicate green budding that has now come to our surrounding hills. One’s depression often disappears and most problems, big or small, somehow seem more resolvable.

I would guess that some of that seasonal elation common to many of us is innate, but I would also wager that a lot of it is cultural and is passed on from generation to generation.

I lived away from this area most of my adult life and my mother always wrapped the first violet she found in plastic wrap and sent it to me, often when I lived farther north and no sign of spring could yet be found in my own neighborhood.

About the same time of year on Easter morning, she would call and hold the receiver next to her old record player so I could hear the “Hallelujah Chorus” from her recording of Handel’s “Messiah.”

Consequently, daffodils always make me start humming hallelujahs.

I invited my Coryville friend, Sharon Gothard, who has trained as a Master Gardener and is getting ready to open an iris farm business, to bike around town with me recently looking for likely April Yard Winner nominations. We stopped by her uncle’s home on 7th Street and found him in his backyard tending his, yes, irises-big healthy purple ones, the first I’d seen bloom this spring.

This family’s shared love for growing these early spring beauties was instantly apparent in their warm conversation.

With all the new technology keeping both children and adults inside doing isolated activities nowadays, I worry that we might neglect passing this love of spring and growing things on to the next generation, and perhaps with it, that seasonal lifting of spirits.

A primary reason for Ironton in Bloom’s efforts to make the town as green and blooming as possible is to encourage our youngsters to take pride in and feel a responsibility for their community. We are involved with several school efforts to increase this awareness, and hope parents and grandparents are pitching in to do the same.

May 5 is Ironton Clean-Up Day, as well as County Clean-Up Day. From 9 a.m. until about noon individuals and groups pick up litter, pull weeds, mulch and plant flowers around trees. Pizza and cold drinks are served for lunch to those who work downtown. Both of these events are free and fun ways for youngsters to get involved. An adult to supervise children is required.

If you are planning on buying Mom something to plant for Mothers’ Day, come on down to the municipal parking lot on 2nd and Vernon the Saturday before the big day, (from 2 to 9 p.m. May 12) and purchase a nice container from Ironton In Bloom’s selection. All proceeds of this one-day sale will go toward beautifying the city.

National Arbor Day, set aside for the planting of trees, is always the last Friday in April. Ironton in Bloom is partnering with the US Bank on the corner of Second and Park Streets to plant a tree on their business lot to celebrate this special day.

Mike Pearce, a lifetime resident, says he remembers when trees were so tall and prolific along Ironton’s streets that their meeting over the streets to form shaded canopies for long stretches was the norm instead of the exception.

Planting a tree is an act of optimism. Kids love it since it grows right along with them and is a way of marking time and maturity. Consider planting a tree (or trees) with your family this Arbor Day, or donating one to be planted as a memorial to someone special or to enhance a city playground, school, or church lot.

My granddaughter, Ellie, is in her first year at Ohio State and loves to chatter away about her life there. But today I received an email message that was just an excellent photo of one of her campus’ gloriously blooming trees.

Now that is what really warms the heart of a grandma experiencing her 68th spring!


Judy Sanders is an Ironton resident and a volunteer with the Ironton In Bloom organization.