Monday, Oct 23, 2017

Harvard resident’s flowers bloom

David Chase.JPG
Harvard resident David Chase trims the clematis on his trellis in his backyard. HML photo by Jay Schulz

David Chase, a former Floridan who has lived in Harvard for the past 11 years, loves to garden.

He loves to garden so much, in fact, that 67 different types of day lilies and hundreds of species of perennials and annuals adorn his lawn on Orchard Lane.

Due to his vast flower collection, he spends a good portion of his days outside, taking meticulous care of his floral kingdom.

“It’s not work when you are enjoying it,” Chase said, when asked about the garden’s demanding upkeep. He said he has a penchant for day lilies for a few different reasons.

“They are long-lived and easy to grow,” he said. “I enjoy collecting different cultivars of day lilies, and my son, Jim Chase, and I give two day lilies to each other every year for our birthdays.”

Chase also attends regional and national day lily conventions to keep up on what is happening with the flowers. Other plants he fancies are geraniums, coral bells, clematis and flowering bushes as well as special varieties of trees.

“We have just about everything imaginable,” he said.

When asked if he’d ever been asked to join a local garden club, Chase said no.

“There are no men’s garden clubs in Harvard,” he said. “But when I go back to Florida to visit, I try to stop by the men’s garden club there.”

In order to keep all his flowers looking their best, Chase spends a good deal of time weeding the garden by hand as well as sometimes fending off pests such as Japanese beetles.

“We do have problems with rabbits,” he admitted. “But I think they are cute.”

He added that he likes the rabbits enough that he “kinda” lets them damage his plants.

Despite the mild threat from chewing beetles and thieving rabbits, Chase’s garden continues to bloom and thrive.

Though he said he admires many flowers, he is not “crazy” about irises as “the leaves don’t look that great as time goes on.”

He also likes to divide and give away plants to members of his church and women of the Harvard Garden Club. So what sparked his interest in gardening?

He said he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service for 31 years. Following that, he said he had a perennial nursery for 10 years in Maine. He met his wife, a longtime Harvard resident, in Florida, and eventually moved to Harvard.

His main reason for continuing to work with flowers is because he loves seeing them grow.

“I love seeing flowers in bloom,” he said. “All flowers.”

He offered the following tips for aspiring gardeners.

“Just keep on doing it; enjoy what you do,” he said. “My advice [also] is to fertilize plants well. Make sure everything is well fertilized.”

Chase doesn’t sound like he plans to halt his flower collection any time soon.

“It’s like collecting stamps or guns,” he said. “You keep getting more.”