It will definitely be spring at Crossroads this week, at least on their Lecture Hall screen. On Tuesday, April 9 and Thursday, April 11 (7:00pm), Master Gardeners will bring Mark Konlock, Director of Horticulture at the Green Bay Botanical Garden to Crossroads, to present Bulbalicious – Adding Spring Blooming Bulbs to Your Garden. Wild Ones of the Door Peninsula will bring naturalist Karen Newburn to the lecture hall to offer the program Bugs Are Our Buddies.
Konlock certainly know about planting bulbs. The Green Bay Botanical Gardens boasts 250,000 spring blooming bulbs, and according to their website, they planted 44,000 bulbs last fall. (It’s certainly worth a visit to the Green Bay Botanical Garden in May—it’s magical.)
The appearance of daffodils and tulips in spring really does seem like magic. One day, it’s winter – and suddenly daffodils sprout and bloom and it’s spring! Anyone who has ever planted seeds and then waited and waited for sprout to appear finds this near-instant growth amazing. But it’s all about the bulbs. Essentially, a bulb is a cluster of modified leaves (referred to as “scales”) which store food to carry the plant through winter. An unexpanded flowering shoot and leaves are tucked into the center of the bulb.
Most of the growing takes place in the previous summer. After the blossoms die, the leaves collected the sun’s energy and stored it in the bulb before dying back. Oddly, during the summer, the daffodil roots wither. Below the ground, new leaves and flower stems form inside the bulb. Bulbs are dormant during winter, but with the first promise of warmth and water from spring rains and melting snow, the already-produced leaves and flower stem to expand into the sunlight. The “instant” flower show is a year in the making.
Once flowers are blooming in spring, are insects far behind? In nature, insects are categorized as predator and prey, but we humans tend to divide them into insect pests and beneficial insects. Newburn is the Retail Nursery Supervisor at Door Landscape, so she is well aware of the importance of beneficial insects. During the Thursday evening program, she will explain why we need insects and how to attract them to our yards. The program is free and open to the public.
Insects aren’t quite out yet which is a good thing for the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society. On Saturday, April 6, starting about dusk, members of DPAS will open the Astronomy Campus for an evening of night sky viewing. Usually the Spring Viewing Nights come between massive snow drifts and mosquito season. April often has pleasant evenings and should offer great views of the Orion Nebula, galaxies in the constellation Orion, and star clusters. AIf the night is cloudy or otherwise unpleasant, a program will be offered in the Stonecipher Astronomy Center.
Crossroads is a donor supported educational center made up of three preserves. The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay (just east of the highway roundabout) is open 2:00-4:00 daily and during scheduled events. Trails and restrooms open 24/7 and are free and open to the public.