Friday, May 2, 2014

Collaboration Produces Colorful Palette

Do you sometimes catch yourself wondering, “Would a massed daffodil planting work there?”

I was caught up in this thought several times when departing the parking lot at the Gasconade County RII School, where my Master Gardener classes are held.  Directly across from the Owensville High School, on MO Hwy 19 stretches a very nice, slightly sloping right-of-way, which ironically happens to be comprised of very good soil not typically found in Gasconade County.  What a perfect location for a mass of daffodils.

Upon contacting the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to discuss planting this area, I was informed that such a planting met the criteria for a MoDOT Growing Together beautification program.  So, I met with our local MoDOT road supervisor to discuss the current mowing practices and schedule, the feasibility of such a planting and where a sign could be placed to recognize the planting,  should it occur (currently, MoDOT has a mandatory seasonal mowing of 15ft from the road’s edge by May 31, with the remainder of the right-of-way getting mowed after  July 1, to provide the necessary habitat for ground-nesting birds).  The delayed mowing area was an ideal location for the planting site, as it would provide the daffodil foliage ample time to mature for next year’s bloom.  An application was submitted and eventually approved, the site was planted, and a sign was erected honoring the Greater St. Louis Daffodil Society, the Gasconade County Masters Gardeners Association, and the Owensville High School horticulture classes, each of whom played an integral role in the endeavor.

Fulfilling a community outreach clause in our organization’s by-laws, the Greater St. Louis Daffodil Society provided the bulbs used for the display, procuring them from local Midwest daffodil growers Oakwood Daffodils, in Michigan, and PHS Daffodils, in Missouri.  The Gasconade County Master Gardeners Association also has a goal to support the local community through volunteering. The hours earned by planting were eagerly put toward maintaining the Master Gardeners’ required yearly hours.  And Ms. Sherry Byrnam’s horticulture classes at the Owensville High School provided much enthusiastic support with students planting and working very efficiently to complete the project (as it turned out, a day out of the classroom to plant daffodils was really a lot of fun!).

Everyone involved enjoyed the project, and the community now reaps the benefits with a colorful palette of springtime daffodils for many years to come.

Bloom results from planting

For more information on how you can support the roadside planting, please contact the Greater Saint Louis Daffodil Society ( or the Gasconade County Master Gardener’s Association.

This article also appeared in the 2013 Summer Edition of The Daffodil Rave newsletter.

By Cindy Haeffner, President, Greater Saint Louis Daffodil Society
Member of Gasconade County Master Gardeners

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