Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Flower-viewing Trail Walk

First daffodils, blooming, week of April 7-13, 2019. 
Several efforts about town can be cataloged under “making Maynard interesting.” These include free band concerts in Memorial Park, “Maynard as a Canvas,” which brought us the murals on the Murphy-Synder building, two years of Maynard Rocks, and more recently, “Trail of Flowers,” started by yours truly.

Last fall, generous donations from Maynard Community Gardeners and the Assabet River Rail Trail organization made possible the purchase of 2,000 daffodil bulbs. Volunteers helped plant those in various locations. First flowers began appearing the week of April 7, with expectations that a peak will be achieved late April into mid-May. (A mix of early-mid-and late-blooming was chosen to prolong the flowering period.)   

A flower-viewing walk is planned for May 4 (rain date May 5). The event will start at 10 AM on the trail behind the CVS parking lot, to go north one mile to the Marble Farm historic site, where the largest number of daffodils were planted. Light refreshments will be provided. Given young children are expected to participate, please no dogs and no bicycles.

More in bloom, April 20, 2019
Daffodils were chosen because deer eat tulips, because daffodils have a good chance of naturalizing, meaning continuing to bloom for many years, and also creating multiple bulbs where only one was planted. Tulips, on the other hand tends to disappoint after three years. First year every bulb is synchronized to timing, flower size and height; second year the timing is not as tight; by fourth year some have stopped blooming entirely (instead managing only one large leaf), and the others are a chaotic mess on size and timing. Going forward, this project will still plan for tulips in flower beds closer to the center of town, with the understanding that more frequent maintenance will be necessary. Small bulbs – such as crocuses and snowdrops – will be sprinkled in.

What meaneth “Trail of Flowers”? Naming was borrowed from the Bridge of Flowers. This now-famous tourist attraction is a 400-foot long footbridge spanning the Deerfield River, between the towns of Shelburne and Buckland. Once a trolley bridge, its use for transportation ended in 1927. A few years later, the Shelburne Woman’s Club sponsored a proposal to cover the bridge with topsoil and plant flowers. Ever since, the bridge has been a free display of flowering annuals and perennials, open April through October. The Bridge has its own webpage, Facebook, non-profit status, donation program and cadre of volunteers. Worth a visit if ever out in northwestern Massachusetts.

Sign at Marble Farm historic site (across from Christmas
Motors) for
The impetus for Trail of Flowers was the realization that now that the north end of the Assabet River Rail Trail is completed, there is not much scenery to see, especially traversing Maynard. From north to south, the Maynard section starts across Route 27 from Christmas Motors, then wends southward between backyards to Summer Street. En route, it passes the Marble Farm historic site, and Cumberland Farms gas station. Beyond Summer Street: parking lot, bridge over Assabet River, parking lot, Main Street, High Street, and then a tree-bordered stretch to the Stow border.

When this project was first proposed to the Town of Maynard, there were three questions: Will this cost the town anything? Will maintenance by the town be needed? Will this interfere with the town’s intent to periodically mow grass and weeds immediately adjacent to the rail trail? With the answer being “No, No and No,” the Town replied “This is a great idea!”

Going forward, plans are for a planting of flowering annuals later in May, plus suggestions made to homeowners with yards abutting the rail trail that they consider planting annuals, perennials and flowering scrubs and trees next to the trail. In the fall, another round of bulb planting, perhaps extending into Acton. And so on, and so on.

More about the Assabet River Rail Trail can be found at a Wikipedia article and at the organization’s website: Current status is 3.4 miles paved in Acton and Maynard, 5.6 miles paged in Hudson and Marlborough. The gap between can be negotiation trough Stwo on a combination of dirt road and public roads. More on Trail of Flowers at  

No comments:

Post a Comment