By Christy Nadalin
In partnership with the Bristol Garden Club, the Town of Bristol has received a $2,000 grant from the National Scenic Byway Foundation and American Park Network. The “Love Our Byways” micro-grant is sponsored by the Foundation’s official automotive partner, Toyota Motor North America. The Bristol project is one of 25 selected from across the country.
The application for the grant noted that the newly-designated Revolutionary Heritage Byway is the only national scenic byway in the State of Rhode Island, and the town, in collaboration with the Bristol Garden Club, has existing plans for a Daffodil project that would greatly benefit from grant funding at this time.
The Delightful Daffodil Project is a community effort to enhance the natural beauty of the town by promoting the planting of thousands of daffodils each fall. The goal is to ultimately create a pathway of 1,000,000 golden daffodils winding through town. Daffodils, which naturalize easily and become more numerous each year, will draw more attention to the national byway with each spring season, and create a flush of cheerful color at sites along the route and around town.
The multiple-year venture began modestly in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced limitations onto large events. Now that Bristol has reopened, a Planting Day event is planned for Sept. 25.
The main event will be located along the southern gateway of the byway at Roger Williams University, with smaller satellite events located at other public properties along the route, with these additional locations to be determined.
“We reached out to Bristol Toyota, and they are also helping to sponsor the event,” said Community Development Director Diane Williamson of the matching grant offered by dealership owner Edward Veader. “I told him about the project, and he said that daffodils are his favorite flower, and he offered a generous matching grant.”
“Our plan is modeled after the one in Newport, where they have planted a million daffodils in the past decade,” said Pam Delaney of the Bristol Garden Club. “The organizers in Newport recommended the King Arthur variety of daffodil. It’s a big, hardy, beautiful flower.”
The Garden Club has ordered 5,000 bulbs for the event, and some of these will be available for purchase. “We want to encourage residents and businesses to buy and plant these daffodils on their own property,” said Ms. Delaney.
“The Garden Club is so good at this,” said Ms. Williamson. “We just got the grant, and the terms include holding the event before the end of September, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to plan. The Club quickly met, laid out a plan, and bought the bulbs. It’s a great partnership.”
“They have been scouting locations around town to identify good places for impactful planting.”
Organizers are looking for volunteers to help with the planting — they will need at least 35. In addition to the grant-funded planting event along the byway on Sept. 25, an additional town-wide planting day is being planned for October, date to be determined. Keep an eye out for more information as the Garden Club finalizes those plans (www.bristolgardenclub.org), and call 401-253-3939 to be added to the list of volunteers.