Editor's note: Having always admired the traffic-stopping efforts of a former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, to brighten the landscape of this country's highways and byways with a colorful wealth of wildflowers, I was intrigued that, at the time of her passing, this story came my way. This one's for Lady Bird.



On any given day, Bob and Jean Citkovic enjoy a close-up view of a variety of birds fluttering in and out to feast at the bird feeders on the back porch.

"There's a blue finch," Bob points out as it pecks away at what's in the feeder. "It's rare to see them more than once a day."

But, if you let the eye roam beyond back porch, it would be hard to miss the stunning patch of colors in the distance, an artist's canvas made up of wildflowers of every imagination. Lilac, blue, red and yellow, the many colors of the rainbow dancing in the breeze.

Planted in the rough near the #3 hole of Heatherhurst's Crag course, what started out as an idea is now in full bloom.

"I had seen pictures of large wildflower patches and some along the highways too," said Bob Citkovic, the Glade's #1 firefighter.

"I thought the color would be nice, so I talked to Mark Knaebel of golf maintenance."

"It turned out good, didn't it," said Mark. "Great project! The players in the Ladies Invitational last weekend were so taken with it.

"I'm so glad Bob and his wife helped to fund it."

Golf Director Steve Kraft added, "I applaud our residents for stepping up."

Now if you live on the golf course, don't get the idea you can just go throwing seeds anywhere. The golf department has to determine the area for something as big as a wildflower patch.

"It has to be somewhere that no one will go tromping through very often," said Steve. "We basically defined this out-of-play area, and now it's very pretty."

Bob counted it as about 8,000 square feet. "We provided the seed, topsoil and the deer-off," he said. "The club came in with their equipment and dug up the spot. There's no way I could have ever dug anything that big," claimed the firefighter. "The course provides the water for it at night. It was the two of us working together that has worked so well."

The seed was ordered from a company that sells a wildflower mix created for this zone of the country. It has about 20 different kinds of flower seed in it and is supposed to provide blooms of one kind or another throughout the growing season. That claim was holding true last Wednesday when the place was flooded with (my guess) double lavender cosmos. Tucked in among the almost irridescent lavendar petals were lots of daisies, something small and blue, a dot of red, the bright yellow of black-eyed susans, and some more lavendar, taking a spikey form.

"We want to make it prettier with more flowers, maybe some azaleas, like Augusta," said Bob. "I've heard the deer like the azaleas so much there they even leave thank you notes. That's been the only downside to the project, the deer. They rip the whole plant out of the ground when they feed.

"But, we have seen an increase in the number of birds and there are butterflies all over the place.

"We'd like to make it the prettiest hole on the course. Our neighbors have kicked in to help decorate with some stonework and flowers in their backyard.

"We've had nothing but great remarks.

"I'd like to thank Mark and Steve for allowing us to do something like this. It has made the view out my back window better," said Bob.

Mark summed it up with an enthusiastic, "It was fun!"

Steve Kraft offered, "It was just an idea that fit well with my idea of a flower bed, something on a massive scale. I think it's a great addition to the golf course."

The golf director added that if others are interested in a similar project, they should talk with him and he'll consider whether it fits the concept of the course. He's particularly proud of another project the club undertook by itself on Dorchester's #13 hole.

"I love those kind of areas," said Kraft.

Lady Bird would be proud.



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