Springtime in Middleburg will be a truly colorful experience if plans to plant one million daffodils move forward in the coming years.
The Middleburg Garden Club, along with Southern States, on Sunday launched a project that saw club members handing out 2,000 daffodil bulbs to area residents, who were encouraged to plant the flowers at home or somewhere in town. The club is also distributing another 2,000 bulbs to area businesses, schools and churches. The club’s members additionally will be planting 1,500 bulbs at the Community Center and Post Office in the coming weeks.
And that’s just the start.
Before 2030 hits, the club wants to have planted a million of them across town.
According to Darcy Justen, the club’s vice president, the idea is to beautify the town like New York City has done since 2001.
Justen said the club plans to reach its one million target by planting bulbs at an exponential rate each year—starting with 1,500 this year, doubling that to 3,000 in 2020 and then doubling that number again to 6,000 in 2021, and so on and so forth. Using that formula, the club will plant 1.5 million daffodils by 2028. The majority of the daffodils won’t die out by that point, either. Justen said the flower comes back each spring and can live for up to four decades, as it’s weather and animal resistant.
“It’s the coolest project,” she said. “It’s really for everybody”
In addition to planting the flowers at locations where residents pick up their mail and attend community events, the club also plans to plant a bunch in spots where drivers entering the town will see them—along both sides of Rt. 50 on each side of the town near the “Welcome to Middleburg” signs.
Already, Justen said the club has spent more than $3,000 on 6,000 daffodil bulbs from the K.V. Bourgondien flower bulb wholeseller to plant and distribute to residents and local organizations. That money was pulled from the $24,000 the club generated from its Foxes on the Fence project this past spring, in which it sold 38 4-foot-long composite, hand-painted foxes and hounds.
Justen said the club is prepared to order 800 more daffodils, noting that it’s experienced an “overwhelming” amount of interest from area organizations and businesses wanting to purchase and plant the flowers on their properties, like the Boy Scouts, Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery, the National Sporting Library & Museum. “I’ve been absolutely floored by how many people want to plant them,” Justen said.
To pay for the additional bulbs, Justen said the garden club is looking to apply for beautification grants from the state and other organizations, such as the National Garden Clubs network. She mentioned that some towns have received $1 million grants from those kinds of programs and that in some instances, property values have gone up in towns that have undertaken daffodil-planting initiatives.
Town Administrator Danny Davis said the garden club recently worked with the town’s Streetscape Committee to identify areas in town that are best suited for daffodil planting. He said those areas would be based not only on beautification, but also safety. While the town is fully supportive of the project, Davis said it needs to identify planting locations that don’t put residents at risk of being hit by a car when planting near the road.
He said the area around the town office, which is already shrouded in different types of plants and flowers, might be a good spot for the daffodils.“Opportunities to add this unique sense and this unique feel to Middleburg is a great opportunity,” he said.
The idea for the project comes from one that New Yorkers for Parks and NYC Parks founded in 2001, following the terrorist attacks that September. Those organizations created The Daffodil Project as a living memorial to the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center. Since the project’s beginning, more than 400,000 students, park and garden groups, civic organizations, corporate volunteers and everyday New Yorkers have planted more than 7.5 million bulbs across the city—making it one of the largest volunteer efforts in the city’s history, according to the New Yorkers for Parks website.
That project continues each fall when the organization gives way about 500,000 bulbs to residents and groups to plant around New York in spots like parks, schoolyards, community gardens and street tree pits.
Moving past last weekend’s daffodil bulb distribution, Justen said the club is also looking to plant tulips in the town.