Thursday, November 2, 2023

Trail of Flowers 2023 Maynard MA

In the fall of 2018, Trail of Flowers ( was started as a program, with the intention of using volunteers and donations to plant flowering bulbs, shrubs and trees along the Assabet River Rail Trail, in eastern Massachusets. This was shortly after the north end of ARRT - 3.4 miles in Acton and Maynard - completed paving and was open to the public. (ARRT in Marlborough and part of Hudson were paved in 2005-6. Stow, the middle section, may never be completed.) 

To date, TOF has raised and spent about $10,000 and has planted thousands of daffodil bulbs, hundreds of daylilies and irises, and scores of flowering shrubs and trees, primarily in Maynard and Acton, but with modest plantings in Marlborough. The intention is to add Hudson in 2024. 

Dedication event - May 2, 2023
Plantings and more were accomplished in 2023. The creation of Marble Farm Historic Site was dedicated in May 2023, bringing to a conclusion 3.5 years of applying to the Community Preservation Committee for funding, putting out to bid, and construction. The park is on the north side of town, adjacent to the Rail Trail, across Route 27 from Christmas Motors. 

There is a little story about the sign. Requests for bids were solicited for incising the lettering into three cedat planks. Bids came back at $1,100 and 1,700. Taking this as unreasonably high, the Assabet Regional Technical High School wood show was contacted. Butler Lumber donated the planks and posts and the school incised the letters for free. 

Plantings in 2023 took place in three phases. First, Acton-Boxbrough High School has a senior students community service day. TOF took advantage of this to have eight students plant 15 shrubs - forsythia, weigela, verburnum and winterberry - in Acton, near the Sylvia Street access ramp. The area was chosen because it gets good sunlight. The new plants join winterberry, white fringe trees, royal purple smoke trees and daffodils from earlier plantings. 

One of six 'art posts' donated to TPF by the
Honeybee Meadow Committee
The second phase involved plant donations from the Maynard Community Gardeners annual plant sale.Over 100 irises and dozens of daylilies were added to the section between Concord and Summer streets. The third involved adding 150 tulips to the display at Marble Farm. There are inside the fence that encircles the foundation which is all that remains of one of the oldest residences in what later became Maynard. The Marble family and their descendants lived there for more that 200 years. 

The third effort- last quarter of 2023 - added more flowering shrubs to the Sylvia Street site. 

In addition, the Honeybee Meadow Committee, ArtSplace, donated six decorated posts (six inches square and six feet tall) to be installed along the trail. Each post has an informative plaque about pollinators:

These posts were created in 2017 for the Maynard Honeybee Meadow, which was located at 61-63 Summer Street. Given the uncertainty of the future of that parcel of land with the closing of ArtSpace, the Honeybee Meadow Committee donated the posts to the Assabet River Rail Trail for the Trail of Flowers project ( The artists who worked on the posts are:

           Priscilla Alpaugh                      Lola Chaisson

          Catherine Evans                       Jen Maestre

          Jill Pottle                                  Sandy Wilensky

Pollinator-friendly plants found along the Rail Trail, either planted or naturally occurring, include Beauty Bush, Chicory, Goldenrod, Iris, Queen Anne’s lace, Rose of Sharon, Weigala and others.

Lastly, 150 tulip bulbs were planted inside the fence at the Marble Farm Historic Site in order to protect them from deer. As the new bulb site is below lawn level, the tulips will be barely noticeable from the Rail Trail. To bring the tulips to the attention of passers-by, a sign will be added to the TRAIL OF FLOWERS daffodil blooming sign, reading TULIPS INSIDE FENCE. And a tulip sculpture the same size as the daffodil sculpture will be located inside the fence.

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