The daffodils have come and go, we thought what better time than now to catch up with John Hirschboeck, Daffodillion Project Director, to discuss what we should do with our daffodils, find out where he is with his mission to plant one million daffodils, and to ask him about those yellow chairs across from Easton’s Beach.
Q. So now that the daffodil blooms have faded, what’s next for Daffodillion?
Hirschboeck: Right now, the important thing is not to cut or mow the daffodil leaves until early June. You can remove the dead blossoms, but the leaves should remain to rejuvenate themselves for next year. If they’re cut back too early, they’ll miss generating the nutrients they need to return next spring.
Some of the larger fields of daffodils with browning leaves look like they should be mowed, but they need a couple more weeks to “re-charge” – we hope people appreciate how important this naturalizing process is.
Q. That was quite a show the Daffodils put on during April. Where were the major new Daffodillion plantings?
Hirschboeck: Hopefully everyone got to enjoy the additional thousands of daffodils planted across from Easton’s Beach (+ 41,000), Cliff Walk (+ 20,000), Ballard Park (+ 17,000), the Train station on America’s Cup and Farewell Ave. (14,000), and at St. Peter’s – the entrance into the city from Broadway (15,000).
But just as important are the many small plantings seen at homes and businesses throughout Newport. I was told that we now have more daffodils per square foot than any other city in the country! I hope this continues; everyone should have daffodils in their yards.
We have now offered 50,000 daffodil bulbs to the town of Middletown, and, if accepted, we will plant these at Wheeler Park this fall with our bulb planting machine. It’s an ideal spot, right at the border between Middletown and Newport.
Q. What’s with the two yellow chairs in the daffodil field across from Easton’s Beach?
Hirschboeck: I honestly don’t know – someone decided to create a piece of public art and place it in the daffodil field. This might be something to explore next spring – -public art among the daffodils?
Q. How was the 5th Annual Newport Daffodil Days Festival received?
Hirschboeck: My totally biased opinion was that it was the best yet. Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and sponsors, we had twenty daffy events throughout town enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Our local merchants stepped up and did a terrific job decorating their storefronts and creating “daffy deals” for those who were wearing their daffodil pins. All the proceeds from the Festival now go to purchase more bulbs to give-away and plant this the fall.
Q. So how what’s the count now? How close is Newport to a “Daffo-dillion?”
Hirschboeck: There were 687,500 daffodils in bloom. That means we need to plant another 132,500 this fall and we’ll all become “Daffodillionaires.” With the help of our bulb planting machine and additional fund raising, I’m cautiously optimistic we can reach our goal.
Q. So who will get to plant the one-millionth bulb?
Hirschboeck: We’ve invited the Governor to plant at a spot reserved right in front of City Hall.
Q. Will you be having another free bulb-giveaway this fall?
Hirschboeck: You bet. This will be our 6th annual give-away. We’ll have 40,000 bulbs, 2 dozen to a bag, to hand out. That’s a retail value of over $15. Mark your calendars: Saturday, October 20 at Easton’s Beach from 9-noon.
Q. How can people find out more about volunteering to help to plant in the fall and supporting Daffodillion?
Hirschboeck: Simply go to our website at Daffodillion.com. Sign-up and you’ll learn when and where we’ll be planting.