Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Trail of Flowers 2021

Daffodil sculpture, at Marble Farm
site during bloom peak.
The Trail of Flowers project (TOF; traillfflowers.com). began in 2018 with the concept that the entire length of the Assabet River Rail Trail could become the site of planting of tens of thousands of flowering bulbs, perennial plants, shrubs and trees. This, to augment the flowering trees that were planted as part of rail trail construction budget. Bulbs are beginning to bloom at various locations in Maynard, Acton and Marlborough, and should be reaching a peak in mid- to late-April.

Some of you may be familiar with the Bridge of Flowers (BOF; bridgeofflowersmass.org), in Shelbourne Falls. Starting in 1929, a no-longer-used trolley bridge over the Deerfield River was converted to a showcase of flowering plants through the actions of the Shelburne Falls Women’s Club. The bridge, 400 feet long, is normally open from April 1 through October 31. [The bridge is currently closed to the public because of the COVID pandemic; decisions on opening for 2021 will be announced at a future date.]

BOF, volunteer-operated, has a committee, a head gardener and an assistant gardener. The organization is funded by hundreds of annual donations of $25 or more, including a dozen or more in excess of $500, plus an annual plant sale. It has its own Wikipedia article! In stark contrast, TOF was launched with two $300 donations from Maynard Community Gardeners (maynardcommunitygardeners.org) and Assabet River Rail Trail, Inc. (ARRT; see: ARRTinc.org), used to pay for the purchase of 1,600 daffodil bulbs. The bulbs were planted at the Marble Farm historic site, which is adjacent to the north end of Maynard’s part of the Rail Trail, across Route 27 from Christmas Motors. Plantings were done by volunteers.

$10 at various Maynard
 stores; profits to TOF
For 2019, TOF raised $2,210 in donations, including the Maynard Cultural Council. Plantings – daffodils and tulips – were expanded to multiple sites in Maynard, plus at the north end trail head, in Acton. For 2020, TOF raised $4,025. That included a $2,500 donation from Dupont Imaging, Marlborough. In addition, more than $900 was raised through the sale of ONLY IN MAYNARD coffee mugs at various locations and events. Finances are managed though ARRT, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Fund raising efforts will be conducted in spring of 2021 to support summer and fall plantings.

Daffodils, April 2020
Suggestions were received from members of the Acton Garden Club and Maynard Community Gardeners that in addition to bulbs, plantings expand to include plants that are pollinator- and bird-friendly. Thus, plantings in 2020 were expanded to include day lily, hosta, iris and goldenrod as small plants (from garden club member donations), plus purchases of winterberry, aronia, white fringe trees, beauty bush, forsythia, viburnum, Rose of Sharon, purple-leaf sand cherry and ninebark. Some of the larger plants have, in addition to flowers, bird-edible berries or fruits. A Marlborough site was planted by Marlborough/Hudson Girl Scouts. Plantings in 2021 will continue the mix of plants and continue to expand locations.

 For spring bulb viewing, Maynard residents have two options. First is start at the footbridge over the Assabet River, then walk or bicycle toward Acton. Immediately, there are tulips and grape hyacinth planted at the east end of the bridge, and then more flowering bulbs just north of Concord Road. There are plantings along the stretch between Concord and Summer Streets, but those will be blooming later. A half-mile farther north brings travelers to the Marble Farm site, where more than 1,000 daffodils are blossoming. Extending the trip to the north end of the trail will find more daffodils at the Sylvia Street access and the trail head. The second option is drive to Marble Farm historic site, park at the small gravel parking lot, see the daffs, go home.     

At the May 2021 Town of Maynard annual meeting, there will be an item on the agenda calling for a vote to make Marble Farm an official town park and historic site. The site, a bit more than two-thirds of an acre is town property. The history is that Joseph Marble bought 140 acres of land in Sudbury in 1704, moving here from Andover. In 1730, his son John joined neighbors in petitioning that the land be ceded to Stow. And then, on April 19, 1871, it became part of the newly formed Town of Maynard. Joseph Marble’s descendants owned the property until the house burned in 1924. The genealogy: Joseph Marble, John Marble, John Marble, John Marble, then to daughter Sarah who married Daniel Whitney, then to daughter Mary who married Joel Parmenter. Their son owned it when it burned. Hence, some descriptions of it as the Marble/Whitney/Parmenter farm.   

Design for Marble Farm Park and historic site. Click
on image to enlarge. Lawns and parking already exist.
The site consists of a 28’ x 32’ house foundation and surrounding land and stone walls. In April 2009, Maynard’s Boy Scout Troop #130 cleared the site and installed a post-and-chain barrier around part of the foundation. Without follow-up maintenance, much of the site was again overgrown with Oriental bittersweet, sumac, blackberry and Japanese knotweed. Dead trees fell or were threatening. Starting in 2018, volunteers partially cleared the site and planted grass and the aforementioned daffodils. The vote is for $101,717, to be funded from the Community Preservation Committee budget, to replace the post-and-chain with a steel fence, to clear brush piles and dead trees, to add benches, and to improve the landscaping. This official park and historic site will become the third park on the rail trail, joining Tobin Park and Ice House Landing.

No comments:

Post a Comment