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City of Detroit planting 1 million daffodil bulbs as part of neighborhood beautification efforts

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Detroit – City crews are underway with an ambitious beautification program to plant 1,000,000 daffodils across the city by the fall of 2020.  Evidence of this effort went on display in spectacular fashion this week as 265,000 bulbs planted over the past few years began to bloom along medians and near parks. 

Brad Dick, who runs the city’s General Services Department, said that the planting effort, which will place another 209,500 bulbs this year, is just one of the many ways his department and others are working every day to beautify the city.

“City crews have done a lot of the basic things to remove the unattractive things Detroiters have had to deal with for years, like graffiti, illegal dumping and blighted buildings,” Dick said.  “Now we are transitioning to programs that actually beautifies our city, whether it’s improving our parks, planting 10,000 new trees or something as simple as planting flowers.  It all adds up to a more beautiful and attractive city for everyone.”

Dick said the program had its genesis in fall of 2014 with a small staff of four employees who planted 16,000 bulbs at Palmer Park, and has gradually grown into a major citywide initiative.  In 2015, another 34,000 bulbs were planted in Rouge Park, Belle Isle, Balduck, Boyer, and Pingree Park.  In 2016, 21 parks and medians were included in the beautification plan with the idea to “paint spring throughout the City.” Some of the species of flowers often used to create the painting effect are the ‘Dutch Master’ Daffodil, ‘Mt. Hood’ Daffodil, Blue Scilla, and Tulip 'Teletubby' Orange, to name a few.

However, it wasn’t until last October when the effort really reached full bloom.  By year’s end, a team of nine workers planted more than 209,000 bulbs, thanks in large part to a donation of 50,000 Dutch Master’ Daffodils from the Michigan Division of the Woman’s National Farm & Garden Association, lead by Robin Heller.  

“Residents have really responded well to the daffodils program and we love doing it,” said Dick. “So we just decided to keep going until we planted one million, and we may not stop there.”

Robin Heller, Chair for the Daffodils 4 Detroit, reinforced her goup's commitment to donate a portion of the City's annual plantings.

"We are excited about this announcement to plant 1,000,000 daffodils in the city of Detroit and we will continue our daffodil commitment as symbol of hope and rebirth," Heller said.

When asked “why daffodils over other species of flowers?” Dick had a simple answer: “Aside from being beautiful, the squirrels leave them alone.  If we planted one million tulips, they’d be gone and we’d have a lot of well-fed squirrels.”

Daffodils-Small

Below are the locations where daffodil bulbs will be planted this fall:

Location Total bulb ct.
Jefferson medians (at Altar going west) 2,500
Erma Henderson Park 1,200
*Belle Isle – Jefferson grass medians 50,000
Lincolnshire Park 17,100
Lafayette medians 14,000
Riverside (E. Grand Blvd Medians) 13,700
Rosa Parks medians 12,700
Higgins Park 9,450
Oakman (medians at Davison) 8,800
Mansfield-Diversey Park 8,050
Viola-Liuzzo Park 7,100
Jefferson/Belle Isle Entrance (flower beds) 7,000
Simmons Park 6,300
Syracuse Park 6,000
LaSalle Park 5,700
Gordon Park 4,600
Lafayette Park/Jefferson 4,250
Szafraniec Park 4,000
Gorham Park 3,850
Hackett Park 3,600
Doan Park 3,300
Wells Park 2,800
Field Park 2,400
Luce – St. Louis 1,800
Chandler  1,600
Yakisch Park 1,300
Sak Park 1,200
Boyer Park 1,200
Latham Park 1,050
Mack and Warren  800
Scripps Park 800
Hansen Park 600
Cross Park 500
Davison 400
2018 TOTAL 209,650

*Donated by the Michigan Division of the Woman’s National Farm & Garden Association

Spring-flowering Tip:

Bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, must be planted in the fall or early winter to bloom in spring. The flowers require a long period of cool temperatures to start the biochemical process that causes them to flower. The blooming takes several weeks to complete once the winter thaw has begun with expectations of seeing the beautiful results in early to mid-April.

Below is a map of the 2017-2018 season which includes species type:

Bulbs Map

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