"Free daffodils"? A medium size City in Oklahoma woke up this Spring to hundreds of Yellow Blossoms blooming in the City right-of-ways. Our landscape was changed by Citizens cooperating together the previous fall and planting donated Daffodil bulbs. You can do the same in your City.
"April, they are giving away free daffodils!", my mother said excitedly over the phone. I quickly arrived at the designated pick-up location but the bulbs were all given away. However, some of them were placed on reserve so my name was placed on a waiting list. A few days later, we received the call; 50 Daffodil bulbs were waiting for me. The rules were simple:
Tell the City the approximate location of your planting
The planting must be on City right-of-way
The planting must be able to be seen from the street
Once again...the planting must not be on private property (no decorating your house or garden).
Don't plant in the City parks (City workers were planting there).
Kevin and I grabbed our shovels and scouted our location. We decided to plant them by the side of a main road that we drive on frequently so we could watch the progress and the blooms.
We probably looked quite strange; digging holes, placing something in the hole and doing a stomp dance by the side of the road.
The wait for Spring was long. The Winter of 2007 was hard on plants and trees. The Huge December Ice Storm took down trees and plants that had survived everything, including tornado force winds. We wondered what Spring would look like in Tulsa and Green Country. But we knew that a new treasure was planted beneath the brown grass and under the downed trees. Every time we drove past the planting area we said something like; "Our flowers are going to be beautiful in the Spring!" or "Whoo hoo...that is going to look great!" or "I can't wait; this is going to be beautiful!". I could not believe how excited we were that we helped beautify our City.
Then Spring was here and the Spring flowers, including Daffodils in private yards and gardens were blooming. "Our" adopted Daffodils had not even seemed to sprout. We wondered if they were dead or if we had planted them too deep or if rodents had eaten them for lunch. The urge to dig called. Then, ever so quickly...green...and more green. First the leaves, then the flower stalk, then the bud. We were so excited. YELLOW! Our flowers bloomed. The City bloomed. The people bloomed; it was all about our flowers; the City's flowers. Ownership in the beauty of the City was offered and accepted. Yellow Daffodils nodded their lovely Sunbonnets in front of subdivisions, schools and even a hospital. Sparkling yellow Daffodils were seen dotting roadways and highways.
The beauty was worth the wait; I hope the Daffodils in the City continue to multiply and whole roadways sparkle with yellow Daffodils every Spring from now on. (I didn't mean to do this, but look at the car in one of the pictures...it is bright yellow...a perfect echo of color.)
I would have done only two things differently. First, I would have asked for more Daffodils to plant. And second, I wouldn't have planted so close to a busy sidewalk. Both Kevin and I had to fight feelings of ownership when we noticed that walkers picked "our" Daffodils.
Wouldn't you love to do the same? You may be surprised to see what changes you can make in your City and how excited both the adults and the children will be to create a living work of art. I believe that the children who planted the bulbs near their school and then waited for months to watch the ground turn into beauty, will never forget this lesson of the Daffodil. Perhaps this CityGreen exercise planted a love of gardening in more than one youngster's heart forever.
These pictures are of multiple locations throughout the City and I have no idea by whom the Daffodils were planted. I would like to express thanks to the people and companies that made this happen. Thanks mom and dad for calling, thanks for the free Daffodils, thanks to the radio station for the announcement, thanks to Broken Arrow for letting such a wonderful idea grow and thanks to all the secret gardeners. Together, a joy forever was created. Spring sang a joyful song in the hearts of many.
When I looked upon Broken Arrow, with tiny sparkles of golden yellow bells dancing in the rain and in the springtime cold, I felt a bit like William Wordsworth as he penned so many years ago, in 1804. The last lines of his poem (titled simply "Daffodils") are : "And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils."
All of these pictures were taken by me, April Campbell, and are copyrighted.
The garden in my head is better than the one in my yard. However, I plant at least one tree every year and have left every home with a little more green than it had before. I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I enjoy writing them.
Editor's note: Aunt_A passed away on 12-06-2010. We will miss her greatly and are thankful for her legacy of wonderful articles.