Chuck Strauss’ backyard bears an uncanny resemblance to a Disney forest — lush, verdant and prepossessing of a certain fairytale quality that you just know some poor animator in Anaheim skipped his child’s high school graduation to achieve.
Sacrifices of a different magnitude were required in Strauss’ State College garden, or as it shall henceforth be known, the land of the many bulbs — almost 2,000 of which he planted during the last vestiges of fall in late November and early December.
When I was working I would often come home and plant my fall bulbs late into the evening with a flashlight.
It’s easier now than it was when Strauss was still strapped into the grind of your average 9-5, teaching forest economics at the Penn State School of Forest Resources.
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“When I was working, I would often come home and plant my fall bulbs late into the evening with a flashlight,” Strauss said.
Back in 1961, Strauss and his wife, Carol, built their handsome little house on Princeton Drive and set about raising a family that has long since grown up and out of the nest.
In the interim they’ve accumulated a couple of extra rooms, a lengthy list of cable channels he says that they don’t really need and several generations worth of daffodils.
When you’ve been at a place 50… 60 years, if you keep at it, you make progress.
Strauss’ father helped kick-off the backyard garden with the gift of rhododendron. The green thumb, as it turns out, was a hereditary trait passed down the family line like some kind of antique spade.
“I gathered that in as kind of an avocation from my dad,” Strauss said.
He’s patiently waiting for a hoard of tulips and daffodils to emerge and pay off the many man-hours and bulbs he invested with the soil. After you’ve been at this for as long as he has you start to appreciate what a little time can do for things like daffodils and tulips.
“When you’ve been at a place 50 ... 60 years, if you keep at it, you make progress,” Strauss said.