BELFAST— One woman may have gotten the idea for it, but now the entire town of Belfast has caught on to The Daffodil Project, a plan to plant one million daffodils all around Belfast for the next 10 years.
Elizabeth Wolfe and her husband, Michael Cunning, have been residents of Belfast for more than 35 years. She got the idea for this project one day while driving.
“I’m at this stage in my life where I have some time to volunteer and I got to thinking about what I wanted to do with it,” she said. “I was thinking of the community in Belfast, who welcomed us with open arms and it’s been a fabulous place to live and raise our children. So, I started thinking of a way to give back to Belfast and this idea of planting daffodils everywhere just muckled on to me.”
The idea has now spurred a grassroots movement to plant 100,000 daffodils each year for 10 years all around Belfast: from private properties to public city parks to edges of woods, fields and gardens that don´t have to be mowed. The purpose is not only to creates a more beautiful, colorful and inviting town, but also to encourage intergenerational community of Belfast to work together on it and plant together.
“The ones we’ve picked, which will come from Holland, will come back year after year,” said Wolfe. “You don’t have to water or feed them; they hold the water in the ground on their own. They’ll prevent soil erosion and nutrients to surrounding trees and bushes. It will be this huge of color every spring when we’re just coming out of winter.”
Wolfe said the idea of so many daffodils seems daunting to some, but she breaks it down into small goals. “This summer we’re only aiming for 50,000 bulbs as the starter year,” she said. “They’ve all been bought from FedCo seeds, a great Maine organization through private and city donations. The community has really jumped on board with this, including a number of businesses and community organizations such as the Y.M.C.A., the Waldo County Hospital, and Keeping Belfast Beautiful to name a few. The city of Belfast just voted to co-sponsor the Project and we’ve additionally gotten about 60 or 70 private donations.”
The plan is to get the delivery of bulbs by September, organize and distribute the bulbs for pick up and delivery by the second week of October, and have community volunteers plant the bulbs two to four weeks before the ground freezes.
“I also want to organize a spot where we plant a ‘Mother’s Garden of daffodils,” explained Wolfe. “People can plant a daffodil to honor their mother, or if their mother has passed, plant one as a way to memorialize their mother. This is especially symbolic for people who learned gardening from their mothers to be able to plant a daffodil in this particular garden.”
After that, Wolfe said the Project will continue to work on next year’s goal of obtaining 100,000 bulbs for the following year.
“A donation of $25 gets you 100 bulbs,” she said. People can participate in three ways. The first is to buy the bulbs and givethem to the Project to plant. The second is to buy the bulbs through the Project and plant them yourself. The third way for those who don’t want to buy them is to just help volunteer to plant them.”
Penobscot Bay Pilot will follow this story as it progresses
For more information and to purchase bulbs for the Project call Wolfe at (207) 338-4783
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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