Saturday, May 4, 2019

Trail Of Flowers Event, May 4, 2019

Flower at peak bloom, May 4, 2019. Click on photos to enlarge.
A flower-viewing trail walk took place on May 4. It started at 10 AM, on the Assabet River Rail Trail behind Maynard's CVS pharmacy, then proceeded one mile north, passing flower beds along the way, to end at the Marble Farm historic site, where ~1,000 daffodils were planted. Light refreshments were provided. There were about a dozen walkers.

BACKGROUND: The concept of making Maynard more interesting by converting the 2018-completed Assabet River Rail Trail section in Maynard and Acton into a "trail of flowers" was the brain-child of David Mark, Maynard resident since 2000, long-time volunteer on ARRT projects prior to the actual construction, and author of the column Life Outdoors in the Beacon-Villager. the weekly newspaper for Maynard and Stow. The kernel of the concept was the idea that every fall, volunteers would plant flowering bulbs (daffodils, tulips...) along Maynard's section of the trail, followed by a flower-viewing trail walk in the spring. Repeat. 
David Mark, wearing daffodil headgear, standing next to
daffodil sculpture. Where from? The national flower of  Wales
is the daffodil, traditionally worn on St. David's Day. Fans of
the Welsh rugby team wear these hats when cheering on their
team. The ONLY IN MAYNARD sweatshirt is from ~2005,
now a collector's item. David made the sculpture. 

FALL 2018: Donations from the Assabet River Rail Trail organization and Maynard Community Gardeners made possible the purchase of 2,000 daffodil bulbs from K. van Bourgondien. The order was for a mix of early- mid- and late-blooming varieties so as to prolong the blooming period in the spring. Email blasts solicited potential volunteers. On October 20, 2018, sixteen volunteers showed up at the Marble Farm historic site to put in a damp Saturday morning digging out an area about seventy feet long, four feet wide, six inches deep, bordering the stone wall at the back of the level area that faces the Rail Trail. Into this were placed roughly 900 bulbs. Over the following two weeks, other volunteers planted the remaining 1100 bulbs: more at the Marble Farm site, 250 parallel to the trail near the Cumberland Farms gas station, 250 at the intersection of Summer, Maple and Brook streets, and hundreds elsewhere adjacent to the Rail Trail.

SPRING 2019: First daffodil bloom was April 2, 2019. Over weeks, green sprouting leaves broke the soil's surface in ever-enlarging numbers, followed by flower buds and yellow flowers. A four-foot wide sign was painted to identify the connection to It was installed at the Marble Farm historic site on April 13, 2019. By the end of April the earliest flowers were beginning to fade while the laggards were still emerging. Peak impact spanned April 28 through May 11.   

TRAIL OF FLOWERS: Surprisingly, the website was available (as was Both were registered through GoDaddy. The .com website stays current with project activities whereas .org is being held in reserve in case this project ever becomes an official not-for-profit organization. The short-term goal is to add more bulbs, flowering annuals and flowering perennials to the borders of the Assabet River Rail Trail in Maynard, with Acton, Hudson and Marlborough to follow. Coordination may be possible through each town's garden clubs. Donations will be solicited from local businesses with a natural tie-in to flowers, gardening and landscaping. Additionally, people who have property abutting the trail will be asked to add flowering plantings to the bordering parts of their property.
Steps to cellar of Marble Farm
historic site, built circa 1705.

MARBLE FARM: A plaque erected adjacent to the Rail Trail explains the nature of this historic site of one of earlier homesteads settled in what would become Maynard. Historic maps show the property as the Marble, Whitney or Parmenter homestead, but the true history was the farm staying owned by one family for 220 years. The name changes reflect Sarah Marble marrying Daniel Whitney and their daughter Mary marrying Joel Parmenter. Through the years the farm was part of three different towns. Joseph Marble and his family moved from Andover, MA to 140 acres of what was then part of Sudbury in 1704. His son and neighbors petitioned to become part of Stow in 1730. Then in 1871, with the creation of Maynard, this property became the northern border of the new town. The two family, Georgian colonial style house in the photo burned to its foundation in 1924. What you see is the 28' x 32' foundation, with stone steps to the basement and the crumbled bases of two chimneys. 

Artemas Whitney (1815-1907), seen in the second photograph, was the sixth generation to live in the house. His parents were Daniel Whitney and Sarah Marble Whitney. With him are his daughter, Lucy Jane Whitney Case, his grandson Ralph Case, and his great-grandson Frank Case. The Case family owned W.B. Case & Sons, a large clothing and dry goods store on Nason Street. Artemas was in charge of construction of the Ben Smith Dam and the canal that conveyed water to the mill pond. He was one of the signers of the 1871 petition to create the Town of Maynard. Prior to that, all land north of the Assabet River was part of Stow, and south of the river part of Sudbury. The fast-growing community, centered around the woolen mill, had been known as Assabet Village. It is likely that Artemas constructed the stone walls at this site. 

Maynard walkers posing with the daffodil sculpture.
MAY 4, 2019: The day started with steady rain early in the morning, tapering off to showers that ended around 9 a.m. The temperature was in the low 50's. Turnout was smaller than expected, probably because of iffy weather. The group walked north on the Assabet River Rail Trail, passing the clusters of daffodils and tulips at the Summer/Maple/Brooks streets intersection and by Cumberland Farms gas station. At the Marble Farm site, people posed for a photo with the daffodil sculpture that had been created for the planting event the previous fall. Everyone snacked, and had coffee or apple cider. The sculpture was left on site, to be dismantled May 11th. The Trail OF Flowers sign will be removed at the same time.

FUTURE: Tentatively, there will be summer plantings of annuals and perennials at the Marble Farm site and elsewhere. followed by another bulb planting weekend in October. Currently, the intent is to add plantings in Acton and central- and south-side of Maynard.  


  1. How fun! Was this event advertised? First I'm hearing of it. How wonderful!

  2. It was the topic of a column in the Beacon-Villager, April 25, and email blasts went to past volunteers and the donor organizations. Flowers still near peak through May 11, so do-it-yourself.