Are you longing for flowers during winter’s dark days? Try forcing flowering tree branches to bloom indoors.
Cut branches from spring-flowering trees such as forsythia, dogwood, and crabapple and place them in container of warm water for an hour to bring them out of dormancy. Then re-cut their stems to enhance their water absorption and arrange them in a vase which has warm water in it with a drop of bleach added. Set the vase in a sunny window and before you know it, Alakazam, flowers appear!
Sandersonia aurantiaca, a member of the Colchicaceae family, is a native grassland plant in the eastern areas of South Africa. It’s often called ‘Christmas bells’ because in the southern hemisphere it blooms in December. Sometimes it is also referred to as Chinese Lanterns. Highly prized for a long-lasting cut flower, New Zealand cultivates them for the cut flower industry.
Much of the trip between Ashland and the Bay area via I-5 can be tedious, but now Ashland has its own novelty to rival the lineup of all those colorful tanker trucks at Truck City at the base of Black Butte near Weed, Moo Donna and Baby Moo as well as Priscilla the Dragon in fields south and north of Yreka. A wonderful, colorful sculpture by southern Oregon artist Cheryl Garcia has been installed on private land south of the freeway, just east of the Skylark complex, between exits 19 and 14. This whimsical installation of a giant (8’) red flower, with three bees hovering over it, is courtesy of Marge and Dave Bernard. The Bernards cannot see this sculpture from their nearby home, but they do have a smaller version (three red flowers, with one bee hovering) that is visible from their home. They chose simply to enliven the view for travelers along that stretch of highway; their good deed for passersby.
Dave Bernard commissioned the sculptures as a birthday gift for wife Marge who is a beekeeper. The installation was completed over Mother’s Day weekend. Cheryl Garcia’s work is well known in Ashland, not only for the enchanting metal flowers at Walker Elementary School but for other metal sculptures in private collections all over town. Garcia spent 200 hours creating this charming work. It is such a gift to the community and to travelers, for which Garcia and the Bernards are to be thanked.