AFTER MORE THAN 20 years in which thousands of daffodil bulbs have been planted along key intersections throughout the city, Beautiful Baltimore, the group responsible for the plantings, has called it quits, at least for the 1994-95 season.
The reason is a lack of cooperation on the city's part, the group's newsletter reports. The group wants the daffodils to die back naturally, giving them a chance to replenish and insure healthy blooms for years to come. But the group's wishes have been at cross-purposes with City Hall, which orders the foliage mowed upon complaints from residents.
In May 1993, the group first complained to the city about the thousands of daffodils that city crews had cut down too early. Ideally, they need six weeks to die back.
City Hall officials said the flower beds were mowed for two reasons. First, to spruce up the city for Preakness Week. Secondly, a city resident who lives near Loch Raven Boulevard, had complained that a daffodil area needed to be mowed, contending that it was an eyesore.
This past spring, the city horticulturist reportedly asked mowing crews to delay cutting the daffodil beds. Signs announcing the new policy were placed in the daffodil beds as a reminder to the crews not to cut in early June. But May 1994 was an unusually cool month, delaying the bloom-die back cycle. City Hall, in response to complaints from a few residents last spring who wanted some public areas mowed immediately, ditched the delayed mowing plan and cut down the daffodils throughout the city, according to Beautiful Baltimore's newsletter.
That action apparently was the last straw for the group, which is believed to have planted more than 130,000 bulbs since 1974. So after considering the issue over the summer, the group's board of directors voted not to plant more bulbs this fall. They want to wait and see what effect the two years of early mowing has had on the bulbs.
Meanwhile, the board has responded to complaints about the Norway maples it has planted on Northern Parkway from Liberty Road almost to York Road. These trees are not native, according critics, and crowd out the indigenous varieties. In the future, the group will plant Washington pear trees, which are said to provide lovely spring flowers and small leaves that self-destruct in the fall. They are to be planted along the eastern section of the parkway.
Geoffrey W. Fielding is a member of Beautiful Baltimore.