2013-12-27 / From The Garden

Newport Narcissism

By John Hirshboeck

Is Newport narcissistic? Well, maybe just a little, but in the best possible way. Newport is such a beautiful place to live – just ask any of the hundreds of thousands who visit each year and wish they could stay – but we want to be even more lovely, for residents and visitors alike.

Narcissus was the vain, beautiful boy in Greek mythology on whom Cupid cast a spell so that he would fall in love with the first face he gazed upon. As the young man leaned over a pool of water, he saw his own image and immediately fell in love with himself. Narcissus wasted away with unrequited love until the gods took pity on him, turning him into a beautiful daffodil for all to love. Today’s daffodils are members of the botanical genus Narcissus, and their flamboyant bright yellow appearance heralds the end of winter in Newport. It is only fitting that a major campaign is under way to add more of these harbingers of spring to the landscape.

Members of the Seaside Garden Club gathered at Fenner Hall to arrange Christmas mugs with holiday greens. The club then delivered their gifts to the various Nursing Homes on Aquidneck Island. (Photo by Lorraine McLeish) Members of the Seaside Garden Club gathered at Fenner Hall to arrange Christmas mugs with holiday greens. The club then delivered their gifts to the various Nursing Homes on Aquidneck Island. (Photo by Lorraine McLeish) Next April, during Newport’s 375th birthday celebrations, almost a quarter million daffodils will be abloom across the city. Nearly 100,000 new bulbs were planted this year, adding to the crop of 160,000 already placed over the past seven years, all part of “Daffodillion,” Newport’s drive to beautify itself with one million daffodils.

Who founded Daffodillion and why?

Daffodillion is an outgrowth of the Daffodil Project, founded seven years ago by a group dedicated to beautifying our city. Work crews from the city, Newport Restoration Foundation, Salve Regina University, the Preservation Society of Newport County, and the Rhode Island Turnpike & Bridge Authority plant the bulbs throughout Newport with the assistance of volunteers. These large-scale plantings are supplemented by residents and businesses that cultivate their own daffodil beds at home and at work. With the help of many, Daffodillion is now at 25 percent of its goal.

Where did the bulbs come from and what type are they?

The bulbs are shipped in from DeZilk, Holland by A.D.R. wholesalers, who generously donated 10,000 of the bulbs. All are Dutch Masters, one of the hardiest strains of nearly 400 different varieties.

How many of the bulbs did Daffodillion distribute to Newporters?

Over 31,000 bulbs were given away free of charge, with a retail value of $25,000.

2013 Plantings

Brick Market Place &
America’s Cup
Castle Hill Hotel & Restaurant
Cliff Walk @ McCauley Hall
Cliff Walk @ The Breakers
Columbus Statue
Edward King House
Equality Park
Ft. Adams entrance
Girl Scout Camp Rocky Farm
Harbormaster's Office
Harrison Ave. & Ft. Adams Dr.
John Martin Park (The Point)
Memorial Blvd./Cliff Walk sign
Newport Art Museum
Newport Library
Pell Bridge exit/entrance
Perrotti Park
Queen Anne Square
Rogers High School
Sherman Publishing
St. Michael’s Country Day School
The Cluny School
The Pell School
Thompson Middle School
Touro Park

TOTAL: 67,500
Residential Plantings: 31,000
2013 GRAND TOTAL 98,500

Flower Show Recognition

The Garden Club of America (GCA) has elevated the Newport Flower Show to the level of three of America's greatest flower shows- -Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia- -with the designation of Sanctioned Non-GCA Major Flower Show.

The recognition will allow the Newport Flower Show to award GCA's highest Flower Show awards.

The phrase "Non-GCA" references the fact that the Newport Flower Show is not sponsored by an official GCA club, but rather by an independent organization.

The 2014 Newport Flower Show, with the theme "Journey: Grand Vistas," will be held June 27-29.

Who Donated

Alliance for a Livable Newport
Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County
Castle Hill Inn & Restaurant
Gansett Tours
Kate Leonard
Newport County Chamber of
Newport Restoration Foundation
Pell Elementary School

Preservation Society of Newport
R.I. Turnpike & Bridge Authority
Rogers High School
Ronald Lee Fleming
Scenic America
St. Michael’s Country Day School
Susan Ruff
The Chanler Hotel
The Cluny School
Townscape Institute
Worldways Social Marketing

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