BELFAST, Maine — Right now, a paved path that connects Front and Main streets in downtown Belfast is bordered by plain grass. Next spring, though, the path will be surrounded by a rippling, golden river of daffodils.
That’s the vision of Elisabeth Wolfe, a Belfast woman who dreams of planting a million flowers in the city. A team of about 15 downtown business owners and friends worked Monday morning to plant 5,500 bulbs alongside the path. More bulbs will be planted in other locations, including along the Belfast Rail Trail, around a parking lot near the Armistice Bridge and on Belfast Common.
Wolfe said that it is the fourth year people have worked to plant bulbs in Belfast through the Belfast Daffodil Project, and although the goal of a million bulbs is still far off, every fall they get a little bit closer. Volunteers have planted 26,000 bulbs so far this year.
“We had an amazing show last year. It was beyond expectations,” Wolfe said while placing bulb after bulb in the ground. “This is the fall planting … When we finish this year, we will have planted nearly 157,000 bulbs over the four years.”
The bulbs that were planted Monday morning, plus 3,000 more that are not yet in the ground, were donated by about 23 Belfast-area businesses. They’re easy to plant, Wolfe said, and although they look delicate, they are actually hardy plants that grow well in different kinds of soil and come back every year. They attract pollinators, and animals such as squirrels and deer rarely dig them up.
What’s more, according to those working to plant them, they are a happy flower that welcomes spring.
“I think it’s really great,” Annadeene Fowler of Thomas Fowler PE, a professional engineering firm, said of the daffodil project. “Everyone was so excited about last year in the spring. It was such a bright, cheery message of hope.”
Mike Cunning of Worth Real Estate, who also was planting bulbs, said that it wasn’t a hard sell for him.
“Business people love Belfast and we want to make it pretty in whatever way we can,” he said.
There will be other opportunities this fall to beautify the city with daffodils, including a planting party on the Belfast Commons on Saturday, according to Wolfe.
It’ll be worth it, said Glenn Montgomery, who rhapsodized about spring flowers as he slid bulbs into the ground.
“Daffodils are some of the first flowers to come up,” he said. After a long winter, it gives everyone a lift to see all that color. It just brightens everybody’s spirits after the winter.”
For more information, please visit the website belfastdaffodilproject.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org