August 18, 2018
By Tara Law
More than 100,000 daffodils are expected bloom across Queens next spring thanks to a bulb-planting program led by New Yorkers for Parks.
New Yorkers for Parks plans to hand out about 500,000 daffodil bulbs to neighborhood groups from across the city this fall. The program, called the Daffodil Project, has been held annually for the last 17 years to honor the victims of 9/11.
About 110 Queens neighborhood associations, school PTAs, nonprofits and other groups have already signed up to plant bulbs in public places in their communities. Approximately 118,000 bulbs were planted in Queens last year.
The Queens distribution station will be located in Forest Park this year. The bulbs will be distributed from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 22.
Megan Douglas, New Yorkers for Parks’ communications director, said that the program is supported by donations, and that the overwhelming majority of the people who plant the bulbs— and buy gardening supplies— are volunteers.
“They’re community members who want to get together and improve their neighborhoods a bit,” Douglas said of the volunteers.
Douglas said that the program first started in fall 2001, when Dutch bulb supplier Hans van Waardenburg faxed a letter to his colleague, garden designer and New York for Parks board member Lynden Miller.
Waardenburg told Miller that he was brokenhearted about the events of 9/11, and that he wanted to do something to honor the city.
Waardenberg partnered with the Dutch city of Rotterdam, and together they sent New York a gift: one million daffodil bulbs.
The tradition has continued in the years since, and in 2007 Mayor Michael Bloomberg named the daffodil the city’s official flower.
People who would like to help are encouraged to donate to the program or to volunteer for the “Bulb Brigade,” which distributes the bulbs. Organizations and volunteer group can also sign up to take and plant bulbs on the organization’s website.