Lily of the Valley and How to Grow Them on the Balcony

Seeing my lily of the valley finally coming to bloom on the balcony, after four years or more in waiting, makes me happy. This potted plant had been sent to me from Switzerland on Mother’s Day.

In the language of flowers, the lily of the valley symbolizes marital happiness.

The following spring, I transferred the plant from its small pot into a wooden flower box on the balcony. It spread its green leaves throughout the box, but that was it.

Yes, after five years at the least, I was tempted to throw it out and told the plant as much. That was sometime in March of this year. It worked! Out came a single flower.
It used to be my mom’s favorite flower, so I did not want to give up so quickly. But the pep talk surely helped.

Mid-April 2018

By mid-May, I had the nicest lily-of-the-valley on my balcony. One of my friends wondered why I did not cut them, and put them in a vase. I have no need for cut flowers! Potted plants are much better anyway – perennials are good for the cycle of life, and bees and other insects appreciate them too.
Cut flowers are for consumerism.
And yes, I get a whiff of them on the balcony with every breeze.

Early to mid-May

By early June, I noticed the first seed pods.

Early June 2018

This is what they look like in August. A bunch of orange berries decorate the balcony. It will be time to harvest them when they are shriveled and dark.

Mid-August 2018

Today, on 31 August 2018, the first seed pods have entered the shriveling stage, and it’s getting closer to harvesting time.

End of August 2018

Read more at Gardening Know How: Lily Of The Valley Seed Pod – Tips On Planting Lily Of The Valley Berries https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/lily-of-the-valley/lily-of-the-valley-seed-pods.htm

 

Bomber B17 Delegation visiting Camp King Oberursel, Germany

Eleven relatives of the B17 crew (shot down in August 1944) came to Camp King Oberursel to follow the whereabouts of the five crew members interrogated at Camp King.

Mr. Manfred Kopp, also known as Mister Camp King, welcomed the group and later on, historian Ms. Susanne Meinl (the one in charge of organizing this Germany-wide tour), also joined us.

Here, Mr. Kopp explains Thomas Kilpper’s art work. The artist used the old wooden floor of the former basketball gym to carve events and memories of the U.S. occupation time. This relief art was then poured into cement, and can withstands any kind of weather (our first rainy day in months…).

Visitors chuckled at first, when they realized the former Commander’s House was now an after-school day care center.

This very house, today’s Kinderhaus, was built in 1921 by a Jewish professor from the Frankfurt University. He was one of the first ones to come out to Oberursel to help start classes in farming, which was by then required from university students.

In 1939, this same house did not meet Nazi standards anymore, and had to be changed into a more German look: the half-timbered house.

The visitors enjoyed this presentation given by Mr. Kopp, and they also had many questions.

One question was – is there any knowledge of POW abuse during the interrogation process? The historian, Ms. Meinle, responded with ‘Yes, they turned up the heat in the room’.

Presentation at the Kinderhaus, Camp King Oberursel

I spent 2 1/2 hours with the delegation. By then, they were ready for lunch (catered from somewhere), two more visitors joining the tour had to be picked up from the airport, and the tour would continue.

One of the visitors was a 90-year-old lady, the widow of waist-gunner, Richard C. Huebotter. We all had a little chuckle, when she joked Mr. Kopp was still young at 85 years of age.

My role in this was to lend a helping hand, such as help greet the visitors, serve drinking water, and get everyone’s attention when moving to the next point of interest.

Bomber B17 ‘Hard to Get’ Delegation of Relatives coming to Camp King, Oberursel

A delegation of 11 relatives to the bomber crew B17, shot down near Rheinberg on 26 August 1944, is coming to Oberursel to learn more about this fateful day.

Manfred Kopp, the local historian, and I will welcome the group this coming Friday, 24 August 2018, at one of the Camp King facilities for the afternoon. After that, they will go to Aachen.

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26 August 1944

After being hit, three crew member die on board of the plane, while others try to get away by parachuting. Gunner Michael Vlahos is dead by the time he hits the ground,  gunner Richard Huebotter falls into the Rhine River, and is saved from drowning by a German, and then turned over to the German Forces.

While on the train to Oberursel Dulag (Transit Camp), two of the survivors are able to escape. Charles Evans and Harvey Purkey are caught and turned over, in the name of “self-justice”, to the population in the Hessian part of Groß-Gerau. A mob of 300 townspeople attack them with stones and iron bars. Severely injured, they try to get away, but then are beaten to death by two German soldiers (these two soldiers were hanged for their crime in 1946).

The other three – Huebotter, Dean Allen, and James Carey, are interrogated for a week at Camp King, before being sent off to a prison camp. At the end of the war, they are able to return home to their families in the U.S.A.

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The Institute for Stadtgeschichte is looking for contemporary witnesses at: 0209 169-8551 (isg@gelsenkirchen.de) or historian Ms. Susanne-Meinl@web.de

If you know a contemporary witness, please ask them to get in contact with one of us. Thanks.

The Horse Farm behind Camp King, Oberursel

One of my readers, a former soldier stationed at Camp King from 1970 to 1972 and assigned to USTRANSCOM EUR Headquarters, wanted to know what happened to the horse farm/riding school adjacent to the northern end of Camp King.

The Siedlungshof, a.k.a. the Reichssiedlungshof in former times, was constructed in 1939.

Siedlungslehrhof Oberursel

It is still there, and as a matter of fact, a number of renovations and improvements have taken place over the years, especially when management changed hands in 2010.

On the other hand, Oberursel City plans more housing projects, and a much-discussed one is the one right next to the horse farm, which is the wide open space between the Mountain Lodge and the horse farm’s main buildings.

On 6 July 2018 though, it was decided to keep the new housing area smaller than the original design had called for. Instead of building 36 townhouses, the number was reduced to 23, among other concessions.

The final decision has to be made by the Siedlungsförderverein, the city of Oberursel, as well as the other current tenants of leased land.

You can read more about the current plans here (in German): Ergebnis der Begehung des Siedlungslehrhofs

I started my walk from the Rosengärtchen end, so I first arrived at the northwestern end of the horse farm/riding school.

After that, I had to turn around, since this is a Privatweg (private lane). I cut through the northern end of Camp King, and passed the Mountain Lodge in all its morning glory.

Mountain Lodge Camp King Oberursel

Then I proceeded to the other end of the horse farm.

This is the same private lane, from the other end.

Heading back, I crossed through the park around the Mountain Lodge. The big old trees are still green after this summer’s drought.

… but the grass is dying to tell its story.

The town of Oberursel seems to be imploding at the moment. There are quite a few new housing projects going on.

It is good to take some photos now, because these views of nature could change all too quickly.

German Word of the Day: der Dorfweiher

Hundreds, in same cases a thousand years ago, most villages had a little pond in the center. Back then, most houses were made from wood and covered with straw, which posed a substantial fire hazard.

Each village generally had a Löschweiher* (a.k.a. Löschteich, Feuerlöschteich oder Feuersee), or in English: firewater pond, pond with water used for firefighting.

This one we found in the village of Vasbühl (Werneck). I was pleased to discover a remaining village pond. Over the years, many of them have been filled to make space for other facilities.

A long time ago, the village pond was also essential as a water source for cattle on its way home from the fields. Women also used to wash their laundry there. Wash machines did not come to Germany until 1951. My mother got her first wash machine in 1965, I believe.

Not so long ago, when we were children, we had fun skating on frozen ponds. This was very popular in the 1960s.

Nowadays in Vasbühl, with the fire brigade having a central water supply, it still sits right next to the pond.

This is Saint Florian, the patron saint of the fire department.

 

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