Photography by Dendroica cerulea, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
If you've seen those fields of daffodils alongside the highway and wondered who planted them, well, it's the tireless volunteers with Brightside St. Louis, formerly Operation Brightside. They also distribute huge rolls of plastic bags for their annual "Project Blitz" neighborhood cleanups, offer recycling programs and hold flower sales. And because their goal is to make St. Louis look happier and snazzier and promote the public good, they offer pretty good deals on plants and bulbs. Plus, when you buy from Brightside (versus the big-box store around the block), you are supporting Brightside's programs, including highway flowers, recycling, street cleanups, graffiti removal, and tool libraries (versus some 70something CEO's luxury vacation to Turks & Caicos).
Brightside has been doing its good work for a long time, too. 2011 is he organization's 30th anniversary, and to celebrate that, Brightside collaborated with the Greater St. Louis Daffodil Society to put together a "Midwest Mix," of daffodil bulbs that will do well St. Louis' climate. A package of 30 bulbs is only $16, and includes six varieties, including Carlton, Pink Charm, Tahiti, Slim Whitman, Suada,and Barrett Browning, They also offer Hybrid Darwin Tulips and Dwarf Reblooming Daylilies ($16 for 50); Giant Crocus ($10 for 50); and Purple Sensation Alliums ($8 for 12). The deadline for bulbs is September 23, and orders must be prepaid. You can call them at 314-772-4646, or click on the "Blooming Soon!" tab on their website to pay via PayPal. When you order, be sure to indicate whether you want to have your bulbs shipped to you, or if you want to pay a friendly visit to Brightside's Forest Park greenhouse. If you decide to go that route, be advised that there are only two dates for pickup, October 7 (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) and October 8 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Of course, most hard-core gardeners will be useless to resist a peek at a greenhouse, even if they have to reschedule a dental appointment to do it.