Now coming into full spring green leaf, just in time for the Preakness and other May activities, are some 100 Norway maples which have been planted in the center strip of Northern Parkway from North Charles Street to Liberty Road.
This marks the end of the first phase of Beautiful Baltimore's tree-planting program. The next phase will be to plant similar traffic-hardy trees along the center strip of Northern Parkway from Bellona Avenue east to Walther Boulevard, just a couple of blocks west of Belair Road. (There is no center strip on Northern Parkway from North Charles Street to Bellona Avenue.)
The tree planting is another endeavor of Beautiful Baltimore, a non-profit volunteer organization that, over the last 20 years or so, has planted hundreds of thousands of daffodils in public areas throughout the city.
This year it was almost impossible not to notice the daffodil plantings massed in the center strips and along the sides of most of the arteries leading into the city.
These include the Baltimore-Washington Expressway, Hanover and Potee streets, Pulaski Highway, Loch Raven Boulevard, the crosstown Northern Parkway along its entire length, the Jones Falls Expressway, Mt. Royal Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Other plantings are in LaFayette and Union squares, in front of the Lyric Theatre, and along University Parkway above 40th street.
All were funded by donations from hundreds of people in the Baltimore area. Many of the trees have been planted as memorials to loved ones and friends, through specific donations to Beautiful Baltimore, Inc., and are so marked with a small plaque.
In addition to these activities, Beautiful Baltimore also conducts a garden contest during the summer in which nominations are made by neighborhood organizations and by individuals. The only requirement, other than that the garden add to the beauty of Baltimore, is that the garden can be readily seen from the street.
They do not necessarily have to be summer gardens. One Roland Park garden, on Edgevale Road, was an absolutely glorious display of mixed varieties of daffodils, covering well over half an acre. By summer they will all be gone, but the garden will be nominated for an award.
Another major project each spring is to take gardening into schools. Each year volunteers fill small plastic bags with sterile planting material and take them to schools where children are taught how to plant seeds. The project is so timed that the young plants, both vegetables and flowers, are ready to take home at the end of the school year.
All the activities of Beautiful Baltimore rely on donations from its many friends in the city and surrounding area, and on the volunteers who oversee and participate in the various programs. Anyone who wishes to donate money for trees or daffodils, or time to serve on the Beautiful Baltimore committee, may contact Mrs. John B. Thomas, 301 Oakdale Road, Baltimore, Md. 21210.
Geoffrey W. Fielding is a Baltimore writer.