Archive for Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Tonganoxie woman’s flowers adorn Pleasant Village patio

July 6, 2005

Flowers flourish under Dian Barfield's watch.

Barfield, who lives in an apartment at Pleasant Village, near Eighth and Pleasant, surrounds her patio with summer's blooms.

And whether planted in the ground or packed into pots, all Barfield's plants have one thing in common -- they bloom.

Barfield, who grew up about two miles northeast of Tonganoxie, said it's only natural she would like to garden.

"When I was young, around 5 or 6, our summer job during the summer at home to keep us out of trouble was to raise a garden," Barfield said.

Barfield is the daughter of Charles Haines, who still lives on the family farm. Her mother, Wilma Haines, died in 2004.

Barfield said her mother, and her grandmother, planted marigolds to keep insects out of their gardens, Barfield said.

So the bright yellow- and orange-colored marigolds, as well as zinnias, were a staple sight among the vegetable plants -- and on the kitchen table.

"We'd go up and pick bouquets of flowers and take them to Grandma or to Mom," Barfield said. "It was just something that I always loved to do as a little girl."

Later, when she was married and living in Virginia, she continued planting flowers each year. She enjoyed it, and it provided a chance for her children to do a little birdwatching.

"Petunias attract butterflies and hummingbirds," Barfield said. "The kids and I would sit early in the morning and watch the little hummingbirds come by and suck the nectar from the plants."

Though Barfield, who is divorced, has lived in Tonganoxie for the past six years, her children, Galen, 17, Joshua, 14, and Kylie, 13, still live in Virginia with their father. But they stay in close contact with their mother, and each summer spend several weeks in Tonganoxie with her.

They understand their mother's love of flowers, Barfield said. For instance, a Mother's Day card Kylie sent her has part of this poem by Rebecca Armstrong: "I am your little flower, Mom please help me grow and bloom, take the weeds and leave the roots and give me lots of room."

Partnering with Barfield on her shopping ventures to pick up flowers in the springtime is Callie Murray, who also lives at Pleasant Village.

The two drive from Lawrence to Kansas City to shop for plants.

"We look and buy and get the bargains," Barfield said.

And if the plants look as if they're too dried out to sell, they'll ask if the store will give them a discount on them. Usually, she said, the answer is yes.

"We take them and cut them back and repot them and they'll grow for us," Barfield said.

Murray, whose apartment is also surrounded by blooming plants, shares Barfield's love of gardening. Though Barfield and Murray are frugal on their flower-buying ventures, it's difficult to keep their purchases to a minimum.

"You just walk in (to a store that sells flowers) and you wish you could put your arms around all of them and bring them home," Murray said.

The women are known for their flower shopping trips, Murray said, chuckling as she added, "We went so often, we thought they'd start calling us by name at Wal-Mart."

And, as for their success at gardening, Barfield said there's nothing fancy.

"Lots of water, sunshine, and pinch them back when the blooms wilt or fade," Barfield said. "It produces new blooms and makes the plants healthier and stronger."

Barfield, who works at a Basehor child care center, enjoys filling her yard, and other areas at Pleasant Village, with flowers.

"No space goes left bare," Barfield said, smiling. "If I would have anything to do with it, it wouldn't."

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