Project brought decades of daffodils to Ashland park

Published 5:24 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

Remember Y2K?
I do. Ashland Central park will.
Even if they do not remember why, they do. But sometimes, we do things for those who have gone before, just because.
It was November of 1999 and the world wasn’t too sure what was going to happen. Some said the rapture was coming or that the world would end. Others said that all of the computers would crash and money would become incalculable. Most thought that things would go on, but nobody was quite sure.
It was that November on a warm Saturday after Thanksgiving that 12,000 daffodils were planted in Central Park.
Katana Bowling and I were finishing up our Master Gardener class and we had to do our projects. Most people did a church garden or taught a class at school or at the prisons, but I talked Katana into doing a little more. (That was a significant understatement, folks.)
When our teacher, Lori Bowling, heard what we were planning, she said that it could not be done. Since I deal with the nearly impossible on a routine basis, we didn’t really listen to her and soon Katana had convinced the park board that a field of daffodils would be a good thing and we finally had permission.
Fund raising for the Millennium Memorial Meadow was next. We sent out fliers asking for donations. I had a rather devastating pet loss that was still an open wound years later, so this was a rallying point.
Some people gave money in the name of a pet or spouse or someone else important. But there wasn’t enough, so I donated a $2,000 to buy a lot of daffodils. The next spring, Kurt and Carla Jaenicke donated $1,000 and then brought their staff (and families) from Ashland Women’s Care to help plant 7,000 more bulbs.
Knowing that we would need planters for 12,000 bulbs, Katana and I recruited help. Ernie Tucker had been vocal about needing to do some things to beautify Ashland, so we were soon pointed in his direction. Ernie rose to the occasion and helped with planning, fund raising and by giving his class extra credit, so we had lots of planters. Ramey-Estep Home, Girl Scouts and classroom children helped plant also. Some helped with fund raising.
Katana and/or I taught the classes about daffodils. Daffodils are toxic so pets, squirrels and other critters won’t eat them. Daffodils do well as long as they get sun, but they are up and done before the trees leaf out, so they can be planted around deciduous trees. They quickly multiply, so the Girl Scouts have gone back out and relocated and divided daffodil clumps.
Neither Katana nor I demanded the spotlight, so we gave credit to the master gardeners, but it has rankled to see the project credited to the City of Ashland, the park and various others in government.
This project came for a couple of reasons. The first came from a need. Steven Covey, of 7 Habits fame, says that we need to have legacy (among other very important things). Regardless of other things in my life, I will have done something good. And also, sometimes a memorial helps make sense of the anguish of grieving.
The Millennium Memorial Meadow will live on for decades or centuries and every time I see a daffodil, I will think of Chip, the chocolate lab that died way before his time. has a lot of good information about daffodils.

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. 606-928-6566

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