Tauy Creek Apartments named ‘Block of the Week’
Marge Bell, our former neighbor when we were all country folks, was waiting to greet Danny and me when we arrived Thursday morning for our tour of the Tauy Creek Apartment gardens. The apartments have been awarded the first-ever "Block of the Week" designation in the "Yard of the Week" program.
We agreed to meet early, trying to beat the heat. Luckily the humidity had taken a short vacation. The Purple Martins, very sociable birds, were out to greet us, too. Their constant jabbering and chuckling, as they swept down and around the yards, got even louder as we talked. Marge says sometimes it's as if the birds are trying to out do the Tauy Creek residents as they visit in the yards in the mornings and evenings. Two apartment birdhouses in the middle area of the complex are home to the Purple Martins. One house is completely full this summer.
Another reason we arrived early was that Marge was going to a birthday party, which we later found out was for her. She was celebrating her 83rd birthday. Calls of "happy birthday" came from various apartments and across the walk as she showed us around.
We started our tour with Marge's apartment. A mixture of white, pink, salmon and purple petunias in a pot were sitting by her door. This is where we had mentioned seeing the pink hydrangea a couple of weeks ago. The older blooms are huge and still blooming with new blooms coming on. In her flowerbeds are Crystal Palace coral bells, mums, astible, a mix of impatiens, roses and hen and chicks. Deep blue lobelia add to the variety of colors. There is a basket of impatiens hanging from a shepherd's crook. A pink perennial hibiscus plant was full of buds ready for the next burst of color in Marge's bright, cheery area.
Next we visited Marjorie Traul and enjoyed seeing several pots of mixed flowers. A vining geranium mixed with gazina, also called New Mexico's treasure flower, took my eye. A cherry tomato, Sweet Million, was setting on with little tomatoes and a few were beginning to ripen. Baby's breath had reseeded itself along the walk. I recognized a plant but couldn't recall its name. Marge laughed and replied, "why that came from your own greenhouse years ago. I'm still sharing it with other gardeners. It is a strawberry begonia and it has white flowers in the spring."
Marge's next door neighbors on the other side are Lloyd and Donna Reynolds. They have a John Deere weather station by their door. Their flowers include a pink hibiscus bush, an Easter egg plant, impatient basket, rose moss, mums, a peony bush and a rose called Barbara Bush. A wind chime hung above the flowers. Donna has an Easter lily she planted that not only bloomed again, it shot up another plant. It is always fun to try something in gardening that may not work, but what a pleasure it is if it succeeds. She was letting her mums bloom early rather than pinch them back. They go to Texas in the fall and she never gets to see them bloom otherwise.
Margaret Brown, a volunteer we've met at the library, came outside to show us her flowers. A deep purple lisanthus was in full bloom. She had a fairy rose, rose moss, a bright foliage called bloodleaf (iresine herbistill), columbine, astible, pansies, a toad lily, volunteer Wave petunias and a hanging basket of vining geraniums that had a variegated green and white foliage. A lily, Pandora's Box, had opened for the day. Around the corner were fantasy petunias, lythrum, a rose bush, oregano, meadow sage and Kansas gay feather. There were several buddleia, a deep purple (Black Knight) and one in lavender. A golden rain tree was beginning to bloom in the back yard. She was growing tomatoes in a box which is one of those new ways of growing tomatoes in a small, hot area. Parks Whopper and Jet Star tomatoes were in the box with a screen, soil, fertilizer, a pipe down the side well, just ask her about it. It's a unique system.
Mildred Davidson had some beautiful tuberous begonias in a hanging basket. She didn't garden as much this summer but her baskets looked bright and pretty. It is better to cut back and have some beauty that one can still take care of each day rather than have none at all.
Daisey Deay was recuperating at Brandon Woods but was expecting to come home soon. Her flowers were being cared for by her daughter and friends. A brilliant red hibiscus and a white hibiscus with a red center by the front door will be there to welcome her home. Pots of red geraniums with dusty miller, New Guinea impatiens, hen and chicks, a purple clematis, a hot pink mandavilla in a hanging basket, pink geraniums and a mix of pink and purple petunias make quite a splash.
Deay's flower bed adjoins with neighbor Patty Roberts and pink and white periwinkle, a mix of impatiens and petunias continue this bright array right around the corner with hostas, and a wonderful mix of rose, pink, white and salmon impatiens. A statuary of a little boy in overalls is in the front area and many of the seven dwarfs were hiding among the impatiens in the side area.
Wanda and Stan Cook have added a Texas flair to their area with a Texas poinsettia by the front door. Hanging in a nearby tree were colorful pots of begonias. Perennial hibiscus were beginning to bloom with one large pink bloom among the first. Tomatoes and peppers were growing along the side of their apartment home.
Josephine Routh brought flowers with her to Tauy Creek apartments that were originally from her 99-year-old mother's garden. She had many spring plants that had bloomed of columbine, dwarf iris, tulips, daffodils and old fashioned spicy carnations. Her flowers included basil, a pot of lavender geraniums with iboza vine, red geraniums and a German ivy in a goose planter. She even had a candy striped vining geranium started from a broken stem off her neighbor's plant that was already blooming. My mother-in-law kiddingly calls that method of propagation "pirating." In a trouble area of her garden where the water dumps from the gutter, she has filled in with decorative rock and made a small dry stream area such as in Japanese gardens. It is attractive and practical, too. We could see that the Easter egg plant has also been shared in this garden. Tropicana rose vinca, mums, a red miniature rose and a volunteer tomato with large tomatoes on it fill this area. Volunteer old-fashioned petunias are mixed in with some of the newer varieties of petunia and Lilliput zinnias for an attractive border.
Frances Pippenger hasn't felt like gardening this summer since she fell this spring but a double begonia in a wishing well looked lovely. Several pots of geraniums, (including the pirated, candy striped one), rose moss and a geranium called "bubblegum" were blooming. A spring blooming cactus and tuberous begonia sat on the inside window sill. Frances commented that African violets are also a flower she can grow inside. She told us a story of how a start of one violet she once had, came back to her through a long line of sharing with other gardeners. It was one she had lost and was glad to get back.
Maxine Rogers in the corner apartment had a visiting great-grandson, Reece, racing her toward her front door. When he saw us, with excitement, he told us about the magic man he had seen at the library. (Reece is one of my story time children in the winter.) When Maxine caught up with Reece, she showed us her rose bushes, one pink and one red, in full bloom. There was a red geranium with a spike in the center hanging near the door. Pink and white vinca and begonias were blooming and a lavender clematis grew on the side wall with deep colored coleus below it.
Mary Spencer has a lovely garden in the back of the apartments with a purple and yellow dahlia, roses, live-for-ever and colorful annuals. Birdfeeders hang above the flowers.
Bob and Edie Needels have planted chrysanthemums that will be pretty this fall. We enjoyed seeing Bob's wood carvings that had recently been on display at the Baldwin City Library. He showed us hummingbirds in their apartment he had carved and painted that looked almost real hanging from the ceiling by several fine lines.
Wilma Rockhold also has chrysanthemums and several hydrangea bushes newly planted, as well as spring blooming perennials.
As we finished our walk, we were near the Purple Martins apartment again and their chattering was delightful. Marge invited us to the office to share some of her birthday morning pastries. Most of the residents had been in and out for their mail as Marge showed us around. We talked to office manager Ellen Shumate and enjoyed visiting with Marge and Mrs. Routh a while longer. We talked about how many of the residents of this pretty spot in Baldwin learned about growing and enjoying flowers from their mothers. What a wonderful legacy to pass on to the next generation.
Marge had a birthday lunch to attend so we said good-bye. All of the residents hope people will drive by and take a look at this week's "block of the week." It is as pretty as a park with its wonderful array of flowers, birds and interesting people. Baldwin City is fortunate to have such gardeners in our community.
Occasionally some of the residents don't feel up to their gardening chores. Wouldn't it be nice if some younger people in the community could help them once in a while in exchange for learning about how to grow flowers? They also have several benches that need sanding and revarnishing. This would make a good project for a youth group in Baldwin City.
Gardening quote for the week:
To care for the living earth is to care for ourselves.