This year's cool weather has produced a glorious spring. After years of premature blossoms, the Japanese cherry trees around Druid Hill Lake came out on time. Dogwoods and azaleas are now producing their colorful riot and a tulip watch is on for the peak of Sherwood Gardens.
Spring is a grand season in Maryland. Much of its glory in Baltimore's public places is due to the efforts of countless volunteers. For decades, their fund-raising and labor of love have made Guilford's Sherwood Gardens what it is. (Come to think of it, even those cherry trees around Druid Hill Lake were donated by public-minded citizens. If you doubt it, there is a plaque that lists their names).
Baltimore's gardening volunteers are so numerous we won't even attempt to name them. There is one group, however, which deserves to be singled out.
Beautiful Baltimore started in 1971 with a mission to prettify an aging city that was on the mend. Its first task was to create a new flower garden in a triangle south of Centre Street on St. Paul Place, filled with hundreds of marigolds, scarlet sage and cannas. An inner courtyard garden was soon thereafter created at Harlem Park Junior High School in West Baltimore.
With the help of many gardening and florists' organizations, the nonprofit group then began providing hundreds of hanging baskets for downtown streetlight poles, filling them with geraniums, petunias, vinca, Wandering Jew and sprengeri. This went on for a number of years but was halted because the hanging baskets were so difficult to water and maintain.
Beautiful Baltimore did not give up, however. It began planting daffodils on high-visibility arteries such as Martin Luther King Boulevard, Baltimore National Pike and Pulaski Highway. Many parks also have received bulbs courtesy of Beautiful Baltimore. The Union Square and Franklin Square parks were among those this year.
Altogether, Beautiful Baltimore, at 303 Oakdale Road, Baltimore 21210, has planted more than 100,000 daffodils and dozens of trees. That's quite an achievement!