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Flowers are Coming!

by Patricia L. Cook Now that the end of April is here, and we look forward to May, flowers are popping up everywhere. Remember, “April showers bring May flowers.” • The man who has been credited with coining the above phrase actually said it a little differently. Thomas Tusser was a poet and agricultural writer in the 16th century. He published “One Hundred Good Points of Husbandry” in England in 1557. Later, in 1573, he expanded the writing to “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry.” • Tusser’s writing was in old English style where he wrote, “Sweet April showers, do spring May flowers.” His books were collections of instructions on housekeeping, gardening and farming. His poems contained humor as well as wisdom. • Despite his wisdom, Tusser’s fame did not come until after his death in London in 1580. His words have lived on for centuries. • Other familiar quotes attributed to Tusser include: 1)“A fool and his money are soon parted.” 2)“God sendeth and giveth both mouth and meat.” 3)“Always look at the sunny side of life.” Many quotes from his writing have been changed to more modern language styles. • While flowers bloom at different times in many locations, Tusser’s rhyme points

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to the time of year when most flower gardens are beginning to show their colors. Of the many famous gardens around the world, there are some, such as in Holland, that are devoted to specific flowers while others offer a menagerie. The tulip fields that bloom near Amsterdam are among the most famous in the world. The Keukenhof Gardens southwest of Amsterdam in the small village of Lisse are only open from March to May. Keukenhof translates to “kitchen garden,” and the historic park is known as the “Garden of Europe.” Every spring more than seven million flowers bloom with tulips the most abundant but also present are blooms of daffodils, orchids, hyacinths, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and more. Nearly 50 acres (20 ha) of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers have been blooming on the rolling hills of North San Diego County in Southern California for over 60 years. Known as the Flower Fields® at Carlsbad Ranch, the flowers only bloom for six to eight weeks each year from early March through early May. It is one of the most beautiful and spectacular coordinated displays of natural floral beauty in the world. The flowers announce the arrival of spring to Southern California. Giant Tecolote Ranunculus were brought to Southern California by Luther Gage, an English horticulturist, more than 60 years ago when his

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family left England to establish a home in California. Enamored with the flowers in England, Gage brought their seeds with him. These seeds became the first ranunculus known to be planted in North America. If you love the beauty of azaleas, Callaway Gardens in Georgia is the place to visit. Located at the southern end of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Callaway Gardens’ 13,000 acres (5,261 ha) include the world’s largest azalea display. Callaway Gardens opened to the public in 1952. There are two areas that are bursting with azaleas. The original “Overlook Azalea Garden,” planted under the guidance of the founders, Cason and Virginia Callaway, has more than 700 varieties of cultivated azaleas that were planted many years ago. The “Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl” was opened in 1999 on 40 acres (16.2 ha). It has more than 3,400 hybrid azaleas in pinks, reds, whites and more. Both areas also boast trees, shrubs and other flowering plants to complement the azaleas. Azaleas are scattered all over the Southern states, and there are many azalea festivals to highlight the showy plants. While many of those festivals occur in March and April to welcome spring and the masses of colorful blooms, there are many yards and gardens with azaleas blooming well into June. Peak blooming time in the Gulf Coast states, including Texas, is from February to May or June, and in the Carolinas and Virginia, it is from April to June. Even though azaleas are mostly found in the Southern states, Brookings, Oregon, a small town just six miles north of the California border on U.S. Highway 101, has a history that includes azaleas and an Azalea Festival dating back to 1939. To live up to its tagline, “Where flowers meet the sea,” five varieties of native azaleas are cared for in Azalea Park, considered the “crown jewel” of Brookings City Parks. Another flower that blooms brightly and keeps Brookings, Oregon, “on the map” with flower lovers is the Easter lily. The flower is native to Japan, but Louis Houghton, a World War I soldier, is credited with bringing bulbs of this flower to the United States. By 1945, there were about 1,200 growers on the Pacific coast from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Long Beach, California. Today almost all of the bulbs for the potted Easter lily market are grown by 10 farms in a small coastal area along the California-Oregon border. Appropriately, this region is called the Easter Lily Capital of the World. According to the National Geographic book, “The 10 Best of Everything,” the best garden in the world is at the Château De Versailles in Versailles, France. The garden was the desire of King Louis XIV and was designed by French landscape designer, André Le Nôtre in the 17th century. Over 250 acres (101 ha) of ornamental lakes, flower beds, and over 200,000 trees graced the park. A storm that struck Versailles in December 1999 caused major damage. Two tulip trees from Virginia planted by Marie-Antoinette in 1783; the oldest tree in the park, planted during the reign of Louis XIV, known as “Marie-Antoinette’s oak;” the Corsican pine of Napoléon; and more were damaged. In all, 10,000 trees had to be removed. Even though the damage was extensive, good has come from the storm. Neglected areas of the park have been restored and over 50,000 new trees planted. Springtime is a great time to see the blooms of Versailles, as well as those close to where you live. The April showers hopefully have given new life to the green growing things in your neighborhood as well as to those in famous gardens. Take time to smell the flowers!

Page 3

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• It was 17th-century French author Francois de la Rochefoucauld who made the following sage observation: “It is more often from pride than from ignorance that we are so obstinately opposed to current opinions; we find the first places taken, and we do not want to be the last.” • You probably know that Robert E. Lee was a general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and that he ultimately surrendered the war to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at the courthouse at Appomattox, Va. You might not know, though, that Lee had a pet hen that traveled with him everywhere. It’s said that the chicken laid an egg under Lee’s cot every morning. • The National Restaurant Association, which tracks dining statistics, says that the most popular day for eating out is Mother’s Day. • In 1954, Swanson pioneered the frozen dinner when, after Thanksgiving sales had been lower than expected, the company found itself stuck with 10 railroad cars of unsold turkey. • It’s a timeless truth that many kids go through an awkward, gawky period during adolescence. In the 16th century, a boy experiencing this phase was known as a hobbledehoy. • On the morning of a traditional Vietnamese wedding, the bride’s mother visits the groom’s family and presents them with a special plant, representing respect, and chalk that is pink, the color of happiness. • The 1935 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Carl von Ossietsky, a German writer who spoke out about Nazism in general and Adolf Hitler in particular. Hitler was so offended by the actions of the Nobel Committee in honoring his critic that he issued a decree forbidding any Germans to accept a Nobel Prize in the future. *** Thought for the Day: “History is a vast early warning system.” -- Norman Cousins (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Did YOU Celebrate May Day?

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May Day is a special day celebrated in many places around the world in different ways. The United States and Canada do not consider it as important as many other countries, but nevertheless, it can be fun for children. • May Day is usually observed on May 1, although some countries have it as the first Monday in May. It is a celebration of spring when flowers start blooming and brightening the outdoors. Many believe that the day started in Roman times as a festival to welcome spring. • May Day has been linked to the Feast of Beltane held by the Celtic religion, which was a pagan festival welcoming summer, dating back to before the birth of Jesus Christ. Activities included dancing around a fire, burning effigies of witches, and herding cattle between bonfires. The Celtic religion existed mainly in Britain but also other places in Europe. The Celts were very superstitious, and the religion claimed more than 400 gods and goddesses. • When the Roman Empire occupied of most of the British Isles, including the United Kingdom, in medieval times, the Feast of Beltane was mostly cast aside. The Romans celebrated the goddess Flora, the goddess of flowers, with a festival called Floralia. Subsequently, the festivals of Beltane and Floralia were combined in many areas that held celebrations. • May Day is still celebrated in Britain today, and many workers get the day off. As described below, May Day is celebrated in other countries in a variety of ways. • May Day includes a flower festival in France. Delicate flowers known as “lilies of the valley,” are a major part of celebrations. People believe they bring good luck. Lilies of the valley are also used in Denmark, where sweethearts are gifted with flowers on May Day.

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FAMOUS LANDMARKS:

BUTCHART GARDENS

• A tulip festival is celebrated to commemorate May Day in Holland, the home country of millions of tulips. • In many countries, May Day is associated with the labor movement and known for the start of the eight-hour work day. This came about after labor unions in the United States protested 10hour work days in 1886. • Schools are closed for May Day, in Greece. People head to from cities to the countryside to gather wildflowers. They make wreaths from the flowers for their front doors and then burn them later in bonfires. • May Day is actually “Lei Day” in Hawaii. It is a colorful day that honors the culture and traditions of Hawaiian natives. • A common modern-day tradition for May Day is to secretly leave a basket of flowers or other gifts on a neighbor or friend’s porch. This usually involves ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door and hiding. If the friend sees you before you escape, you owe him or her a kiss. • Another May Day custom is to erect a tall pole at playgrounds, schoolyards and parks. The “Maypole” is decorated with streamers and children dance and sing around it. Maypoles were usually erected for the day in small towns, but cities such as London had Maypoles that stayed up all year. This custom originated with the Germans. The Puritans believed Maypole dancing was equated to heathen behavior, like idol worship, so they didn’t allow the practice when in power in Britain in the 1600s. • The Maypole song is: “Dance around the Maypole, In and out, in and out, Weave the ribbons tight, ‘Round the Maypole we will dance, To the left and to the right.” Consider observing May Day with your family and welcome this warm, sunny month! We’re glad you read Tidbits! There will be more fun and exciting Tidbits next week!

Butchart Gardens was once a limestone quarry but is now a National Historic Site north of the city of Victoria, British Columbia. • Robert Pim Butchart was a dry goods merchant before he began manufacturing Portland cement in 1888, near his birthplace of Owen Sound, Ontario. Butchart learned of rich limestone deposits, which were vital for cement production, on the west coast of Canada. He built a factory on Vancouver Island at a location known as Tod Inlet. In 1904, he built the family home there. • It didn’t take many years for the limestone deposits at Tod Inlet to become depleted. Butchart’s wife, Jennie, was ahead of her time in the art of reclaiming depleted land. She set about to refurbish the pit from which limestone had been quarried. Jennie obtained tons of top soil from nearby farmland that was brought to Tod Inlet by horse and cart and used to fill in the floor of the abandoned quarry. Under Jennie’s direction, the quarry became the spectacular Sunken Garden that is still there today. • By 1908, the world-traveling Butcharts had added a Japanese Garden on the sea side of their home. Shortly thereafter, an Italian Garden was established where the family had played tennis on their private court. By 1929, a beautiful Rose Garden had replaced a large vegetable garden. • The gardens are planted annually with over a million bedding plants in approximately 700 varieties with bloomings continuously from March through October.

Bring Back Balance Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? You knew how it worked because you often watched your big brother jump on his bike and ride down the street. How difficult could that be? Just push down on the pedals and steer. So you climbed on, pushed Dr. Ron Ross down on the pedal, lurched forward a few feet and immediately crashed. What happened? You had not learned how to balance the darn thing. So you got back on and tried again and again, each time increasing the time and distance of your ride without crashing until one day you had it down. Once you learned how to balance yourself on the bike, your mobility and personal happiness dramatically increased. Now you’re all grown up and probably a reasonably skilled bicyclist, but have you learned the importance of balance in your life? Is your workload stressing you out? Are you involved in questionable relationships? Are you eating or drinking too much? Is it tough to roll out of bed in the morning? Are you frequently frazzled, frustrated and forlorn? Are you giving the truly important things in life the least amount of time? If so, you are living out of balance. You’re just like that little child trying to ride a bike but always crashing, sometimes resulting in significant pain. It’s time to bring back balance to your daily life but how do you do that? First of all, stand on solid ground. If you’re living your life according to your own personally selected moral principles you may be in a sinkhole of sin and indulgence that will never allow you to stand up straight and become the person you were meant to be. Second, keep getting up again and again. Sure you’ve made some pretty stupid mistakes – who hasn’t? You’ve crashed and burned more than once. However, you are still a person of great promise who has within you far more intelligence, wisdom and potential for good than you realize. Be like that child who keeps getting back on the bike. No matter how many times you collapse, get up again until you return proportionality and balance to your daily life. Third, get some help. Find someone who lives their life in ways that you find attractive. Find out how they found and maintain their evenness, harmony, proportion and poise and ask them to help you. Fourth, pray. Balance is stability produced by the even distribution of weights on each side of a vertical axis. There will be balance in your life only when you take on the counter-weight of Almighty God.

“Prepare for the Boom” is a series of columns that will appear over the next six months. A compilation of the series will be made available toward the end of the series. Dr. Ross is the publisher of Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County. To contact him email: RonaldDRoss@gmail.com


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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County

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wo friars are having trouble paying off the belfry, so they open a florist shop. Everyone wants to buy flowers from the men of God so business is quickly booming. The florist across town sees a huge drop in sales and asks the two friars to close their shop, but they refuse. A month later the florist begs the friars to close because he’s having trouble feeding his family. Again, they refuse, so the florist hires Hugh McTaggert. Hugh is the roughest, toughest thug in town and is hired to “persuade” the friars to close. Hugh asks the friars to close their florist shopWhen they refuse, he threatens to beat the crap out of them and wreck their shop every day they remain open, so they close.

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wo older ladies were sitting on a park bench outside the local town hall where a flower show was in progress.

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One leaned over and said, “Life is so boring. We never have any fun anymore. For $5.00 I’d take my clothes off right now and streak through that stupid flower show!”

Waiting outside, her friend soon heard a huge commotion inside the hall, followed by loud applause. The naked lady burst out through the door surrounded by a cheering crowd.

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2012_04_CarHop_$99_Down_Denver_GreeleyTidbits_6.75x7.8.indd 1

“Why, I won first prize for Best Dried Arrangement.”

Gardening Rules:

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

Why are husbands like lawn mowers? They are difficult to get started, emit foul smells and don’t work half the time.

T

wo men were talking one day. “My wife asked me to buy ORGANIC vegetables from the market garden,” said the first man. “So were you able to find some?” the second man asked. “Well when I got to the market, I asked the gardener, ‘These vegetables are for my wife. Have they been sprayed with any poisonous chemicals?’”

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How do “Keep off the grass” signs get where they are?

Top Quality Mattresses �������� at Rock Bottom Prices �������� � ����������������������������������� ��� ������� ����������������������������������� ��� ������ ��������������� �����������

The first man continued, “The gardener said: ‘No, you’ll have to do that yourself.’”

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“What happened?” asked her waiting friend.

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

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This proves once again that Hugh and only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

“You’re on!” said the other old lady, holding up a $5.00 bill. As fast as she could, the first little old lady fumbled her way out of her clothes and, completely naked, streaked through the front door of the flower show.

To advertise call 970.475.4829

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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County Published by Handshake Publishing Ron & Amy Ross All inquiries: 970.475.4829 or 720.934.7677 1813 N. Del Norte Aveune - Loveland CO 80538 www.TrustTidbits.com - GreeleyTidbits@gmail.com


Tidbits of Greeley Issue 825