As the weather warms and the snow finally melts away, one of the most welcome sights of spring is seeing all the green sprouts poking out of the ground and growing into colorful flowers. For the town of Lewisboro, about a 90-minute drive north of New York City, that means daffodils, and tons of them. A dedicated group of garden club members, volunteers, and local residents have worked together over the last 14 years to plant nearly 100,000 of the bulbs, and each year they add several thousand more. When all these cheerful yellow and white daffodils bloom, they create a spectacle so stunning that people come from miles around to admire it.
Jacob Fox The Lewisboro Garden Club uses donations to purchase all of their daffodil bulbs, plus the proceeds from their annual bulb sale, which makes it easy for local homeowners to buy and plant the same daffodils the project uses.
Dubbed the Golden Roads Daffodils project, it all started when the Lewisboro Garden Club planted a few hundred daffodils in a small garden at one of the town’s road intersections. It was meant to be a one-time event, but that first planting inspired more and more daffodils each year. Club members, along with other community volunteers, have continued to plant a total 47,000 daffodil bulbs around the town public spaces, funded by donations and the club's annual bulb sale. Local homeowners have planted another 38,000 on their properties.
Every fall, volunteers plant 4,000 new bulbs along roadsides. To plant so many at once, the volunteers use a shovel to hinge back sod-covered soil, then drop in two or three bulbs before replacing the sod and tamping it back down. Both local authorities and private property owners cooperate to delay mowing the areas until the daffodils have faded away for the season. By giving the plants' leaves enough time to recharge the bulbs, they will continue to bloom year after year.
To create rows upon rows of lasting blooms, they plant a custom mix of daffodil varieties, including 'Barrett Browning', 'Dutch Master', and 'Ice Follies'. The mix features varieties with different ranges of bloom times, creating a flower show that lasts for about six weeks each spring. Daffodils are a smart choice for the project (and for gardeners) because they’re equal parts beautiful and tough. The bulbs don't need much maintenance once they've been planted, and typically, you don't have to worry about deer or squirrels munching on them.
Jacob Fox Hundreds of daffodils bloom every spring near the stone walls of Lewisboro's Onatru Farm Park.
Much as the daffodils are treasured by the townspeople, they’re equally popular with out-of-town visitors and commuters who drive through Lewisboro on their way to New York City. To see them for yourself, head to Lewisboro anytime between May when they start blooming and mid-June, when the last of the flowers start to fade. You can spot them on many streets throughout town, and you especially won't miss the thousands of blooms along a stretch of road near Onatru Farm Park.
You can also create a show of daffodils in your yard to enjoy (they grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8). Though it’s a little too late to get them in the ground now, if you plant daffodil bulbs in the fall, they'll bloom next spring and for the years after that. It's also possible to force daffodil bulbs to bloom indoors and then transplant them to your garden after the flowers fade (though it might take a year or two for them to rebloom). Their bright, sunny colors add cheer wherever they’re planted, whether it’s along the road, inside, or in your garden.