With a catch of my breath, amidst all of the confusion and novelty of this perilous time, I smile to greet this early spring. I smile to see this sunshine today. I am smiling, too, at you, my friends, in your little corner of the world. Safe and sound. Under these circumstances, I type away in my detective’s office and hope you are all well. We have many good things to discuss, so I will not dilly dally today.
Hello to you fellow detectives. I want you to know that I did not capture the lovely photo of the Dundee streetlight and basket above. I borrowed it from the Dundee neighborhood site. Thank you for understanding.
Since 1997, the glorious flowering baskets of Dundee have announced the arrival of spring. Always a marvel that I never really understood but certainly thought were attractive in passing. Each block in Dundee and Memorial Park neighborhoods, both north and south of Dodge Street display these quiet, hanging pretties, a mix of Algerian Ivy and Wax Begonias in a mossy basket. According to the Dundee neighborhood website, the idea for neighborhood baskets was hatched by Dan Rock and funded by each block of neighbors’ contributions. Beautiful idea!
But this year, due to the outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), there has been concern in Midtown that the volunteers couldn’t join in and the baskets wouldn’t get off the ground and hanging from those light poles in time for their traditional Mother’s Day weekend commencement.
Local Heroes and fifty-four year old business, Indian Creek Nursery and Garden Center, down on Saddle Creek Road and Wakeley (303 Saddle Creek Road) https://www.indiancreeknursery.com/ has been the backbone of the project for about 18-19 years. According to Scott Farrington, owner of Indian Creek, the Dundee neighborhood has gradually increased the number of baskets over time. They originally started with approximately 50 pots, and then grew to 200, 350 etc…My understanding is that Indian Creek Nursery was in charge of the planting and maintenance until the basket numbers grew into the 500s. This gave neighborhood volunteers a chance to lend a hand, ultimately becoming a great local community event. This year, however, it was wisely determined that the gathering of volunteers and the social event itself should be canceled.
A little bird told me that the Indian Creek employees are getting the job done and have been working the last three days to keep the Midtown tradition alive. Keeping a safe distance, the crew potted and toiled over each new basket, ensuring the darling arrangements are off to a healthy start. And don’t we all need a bit of good news?
This year’s hanging baskets are down to 435 from the 500 baskets in past years, for a total of 485 neighborhood poles. But no matter, soon enough that lush ivy and juicy begonias will begin spilling over the edges of those mossy bowls.
On that note–I am of the belief that gardening will really take off this year. Indoor, as well.
Everywhere, there will be the evidence of our collective passion and good will. Luxuriating in our private green spaces, picnicking out back on a checkered blanket or having tea under a big oak will be a breath of fresh air. I long for it. Smiling and calling to neighbors across the fence or through holes in the privet. I will look for you through the lilac hedge.
Are you sending us a message?
And I dream of those first time gardeners…with their bare stretch of ground. Mr. Cassette is somewhat jealous. Let us find a place to be fearless and experiment in any corner of our tiny plot or rambling estate. Why be orthodox? It’s time to be creative and we’ve got a great deal of work before us. I want to see things get really wild and beautiful beyond the crumbly path and behind the far end of the orchard wall.
I hope that in the coming months as you stroll through the neighborhoods (it’s already happening more and more!) or slowly toodle by on your drive, that you might be tempted to smile when you see fellow Omahans’ front garden gifts—small, tender, blooming contributions as evidence of their love and good state of mind. Make the tour. Make the rounds. Make the effort. Take the long way. Let us look for each other’s smiles too. And certainly, keep an eye out for those glorious Dundee hanging baskets. There are more mysterious flowers, waiting ’round the corner.
Cheers to the Indian Creek Nursery team! A special virtual hug to all of my service industry friends and warm wishes to those working the frontline in our local hospitals. Stay safe everyone. Beannacht leat!
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