For more information about gardening in our southern Sierra Nevada foothills, check out Sue Langley's Sierra Foothills Garden blog.
Feb 17, 2015
By: William Miller
Spring has sprung already at the Frederick home. Oh boy, has it sprung — into waves of brilliant yellow-orange African daisies.
The yards at Monty and Mary Frederick’s Yosemite Lakes Park home at Corral Drive and Wickiup Court are ablaze with February color, what amounts to an annual treat for the eyes of Sierra foothills dwellers.
And people take notice.
“Oh yeah, they drive down through my driveway,” said the easygoing Frederick. “I had one from Lilley Mountain yesterday or the day before said she took a picture from her house down to here because of the flowers and then they drove down to actually see it.
“I have several people come through my driveway every year, which is fine I don’t care… It’s a good feeling.”
Not only the broad swaths of daisies are worth a look, but the landscaping of river rock and retaining walls that gently curve around the house under graceful oaks. Frederick also has worked California poppies and English daisies into his flowerbed mix.
It’s all a labor of love for Frederick, who can sometimes be seen weeding his gardens or working outside when he’s not playing golf at the Yosemite Lakes course with buddies.
Frederick said he had no background in gardening. “My mother was part of a garden club in Ohio. She came out and gave some suggestions, so I just went from there and it seems to work out all right.”
A YLP resident for about 25 years, he began the daisy beds around 2003 when he retired.
“I started with two packs of seeds from Lowe’s, and worked from there,” he said. Most of the African daisies are annuals that self-seed, so he doesn’t have to replant those.
It’s all a spring treat, of course, that doesn’t last long as summer heat approaches. “It lasts 6 to 8 weeks… depending on the weather and how much God helps me with the rain, because nothing gets watered” — except for a few trees and a bottlebrush bush.
He said it’s difficult to maintain flowers the year around because of the need for water in our hot, dry summers. “That’s why I plant these (daisies and poppies)…. When they’re gone they’re gone.”
Actually, his biggest challenge is from hungry creatures. “When they start coming out the deer and the birds will get in there and steal the seed, eat the little seedlings….They’ll eat the poppies, the tops of ‘em off.” But with the abundance of blooms, the damage is minimal.
You can tell how much Frederick enjoys having one of the most colorful landscapes in YLP.
“I do this for the kids, too. I’ve had children come up and say, ‘Mister, can I pick your flowers?’ ‘Sure, go ahead.’ They pick poppies and taken ‘em to school on California history day or whatever.
“It’s kind of nice, to see kids laugh and smile and enjoy it.”
Not to mention all the rest of us.