In a typical winter, the early blooming daffodils would be starting to fade and the rest would be just starting to bloom, peaking the last week in February and the first week in March. But 2017 has not proven to be a typical Mississippi winter.
Pam Lee said they usually start blooming the last of January and something blooms until May, although most are typically blooming in February and March.
But this year, Snooky and Pam Lee have been enjoying the first flower of Spring in Mississippi for about three weeks, with many blooms already starting to fade. It is a strange year for winter weather.
The sides of their small front yard and large areas of their backyard have about 35 varieties of daffodils, and growing!
“Some are yellow, some white, some orange, some peach/pink – the green ones eventually quit coming back,” Pam Lee said. “Some of the trumpets are tall, some short, some split, some double, some single, some ruffled.”
Snooky Lee has been enjoying daffodils in his yard for many years. He said he chooses a new variety each year to experiment with to see how the plant tolerates the mid-Mississippi climate.
“Some make it, and others don’t, but it is fun to see what happens,” Snooky Lee said. “Some completely die out, while others may have just a few surviving bulbs.”
And then, others absolutely thrive, even in a non-typical Mississippi winter. Snooky Lee has been known to bring a large arrangement to Carrollton Baptist Church at least once a year, showcasing a daffodil from each of the current varieties in bloom. People say it is always fun to see all the different varieties of flowers together.
“They are so pretty and cheerful but they make me so sick,” Pam Lee said. “Some varieties make my nose run and/or cause my throat to hurt. Some give me a headache. Needless to say, there are NONE in our house.”
Snooky Lee’s love for gardening has sparked his interest in the Master Gardening Program held each Spring through the Mississippi State Extension Service in Montgomery County.
Barbara Collins of the Montgomery County Extension Service said the Master Gardener program began this week with potential gardeners getting started via interactive video training.
Classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Cost of the training is $90, and students will complete 40 hours of education, followed by 40 hours of volunteer service.
“Participants receive a whole lot of information about soil, weeds, bugs, and types of fertilizers,” Collins said. “It is a lot but it is a great course for those who love gardening.”
Once the educational training and volunteer service is completed, participants can be considered Master Gardeners. Each year, to maintain their certification, Master Gardeners must receive 12 hours of additional educational training and 20 hours of volunteer service. Most certified Master Gardeners serve 5-7 years to help “County Extension offices with horticulture projects that benefit their local communities.”
According to the Mississippi Extension Service website, “the Master Gardener approach helps the local Extension office reach a broader audience than is possible with only one or two agents. It also provides the local office a way to serve the public and, at the same time, develop a supportive clientele group.”
The Master Gardener Volunteer program is also a great way to gain horticultural expertise at a low cost, meet other avid gardeners and share gardening experiences. It can be of great value to anyone who has a passion for gardening.
The program is full for this year, but for additional information for upcoming Master Gardener programs, contact the Montgomery County Extension Service at (662) 283-4133.
See this story in the March 3, 2017 edition of The Conservative at http://winonatimes.com/news-lifestyles-conservative-conservative-top-stories/lees-daffodils-help-introduce-spring-town#sthash.qQRlP2