Digging up gold for the garden

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

On The Way

By Olivia Fowler

There’s a section of old pasture in Rice’s Creek community that puts on a show every spring without fail. Jonquils, drifting down from the yard of the house on the hill, show their beautiful faces in dozens of natural bouquets.

They’ve bloomed every spring in the 41 springs we’ve lived on Fowler Farm, and no matter what else is going on, I slow down when driving past just to take in the view.

The people who planted the bulbs aren’t around anymore, but the flowers pay tribute to them each year. I imagine someone long ago digging into the rich earth and planting a few bulbs in a flower bed near the house.

The bulbs may have come from someone’s mother who divided her clumps of jonquils in the fall and gave the extras to a daughter or daughter-in-law.

The old pasture no longer has a fence, and there are no cattle grazing there. The fescue growing in abundance is faithfully cared for as J.T. Rogers cuts and bails it every spring and fall.

Fowler contacted the property owner and got permission for us to dig up some of the jonquils to transplant. Last week we walked through greening fescue and Fowler dug up a number of thick clumps. We hauled them home in the back of the truck.

They were destined to join a yard filled with transplants from friends and family.

Some of our lilacs came from Kay Deal, who shared some dug from her mother-in-law’s yard in Concord, N.C. Another lilac near the clothesline was a gift from Geneva Campbell, who lived in Liberty.

The single blooming jonquils came from the old Stewart homeplace across the road. The Seven Sisters rose and white iris were a gift from Ruby Cowan, who lived in Clemson. The Shasta daisies came from Roselene Sheriff’s yard. The white phlox was a gift from a beloved cousin, Lilly Grimes in Washington, N.C.

Grace Rampey gave us divisions from her beautiful yard of flowering almond, sedum, phlox and Iron Cross.

So, the jonquils were to join this extended family of plants, each with a story of its own to tell and a link to all those lovers of plants.

As always, what took about 15 minutes to dig up took half a day to put out.

The bulbs were so thickly matted together that they had to be cut apart with the tip of the shovel. All in all we planted around 150 bulbs.

In the beginning I bent over to put bulbs into the holes Fowler dug. Later I knelt in the dirt, and later still I sat in it. By the end of the afternoon, every article of clothing in use bore evidence of the activity.

Perhaps what was planted near the end of the day wasn’t as carefully spaced apart as those bulbs planted early on.

But it was finished. And next spring will tell the tale. They are already blooming in my mind’s eye.

And when they do bloom there will be a really nice memory attached of a day on the hill in early spring with the green grass growing all around.