Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dogwoods Provide the `Good News' This Spring

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dogwoods Provide the `Good News' This Spring

Article excerpt

The old saw about "there's good news and bad news" applies to most gardening seasons. Anyone who's been gardening a long time can remember some stellar springs when everything was glorious and other times, mainly hot, dry summers, when everything frizzled and sizzled.

Last spring, my first in my present home, was one of the good ones until the May wash-out put a damper on new plantings.

This year was discouragingly late in starting out, but now it's beginning to show promise.

The dogwood trees all over town have been one sign of the good news. Even the seventh-wettest April in weather history didn't deter the glossy white blossoms.

Early in the month I was invited to show my garden slides to a retirees meeting at Carpenters Hall, and the meeting led to visits to two pretty spring gardens.

Pauline Sanders, program chairwoman, invited me to see her dogwood tree. People have told her it's the prettiest they've ever seen. On the weekend of all the plant sales, I took time out to drive to her south St. Louis County home - just before one of those duck-drowner rains which brought some accompanying hail. The dogwood is a beauty and certainly one of the biggest I've seen. She estimates its age at 12 years.

At the same meeting I met Herbert Bilgram, who lives in the High Ridge area where we once lived. The rolling countryside around his home has a number of attractions - including a field of daffodils - but the big attraction for me was the primroses. We think of English gardens as having primroses, but they're rarer in our area. Bilgram's came from his father's German garden.

His birthplace is between Ulm and Kempen in the Lake Constance area.

On a visit back home, he brought the primrose seeds and planted them here. A year later, nothing showed, and he assumed the trial had been a failure.

"Then I learned it takes two years for primrose seeds to germinate," he said. …

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