A Rescue Mission, By Renea Winchester
Portions of this post were published in the June 2007 edition of Gardening How To
It pains me to see trees and flowers destroyed to make room for progress. One morning while on my way to work, I passed yet another old homestead with a bulldozer parked in front. A sign announced, “Here we grow again, homes starting at $300,000. Sadly I thought, another farm lost.
I’ve been known to slam on the brakes and pull over the moment I spot a daffodil in distress, which is precisely what happened.
I approached the property owner who towered over my mere five-foot tall frame. “Good morning!” I said cheerfully. “Please don’t think I’m crazy, but if the dozer is going to kill those flowers would you mind letting me have them?”
I will never forget the gentle giant who said yes. “Big Ed” granted permission to dig the flowers then graciously shared the history of the property. He grew up in the tiny house and, after his mother passed, the responsibility for the property fell to him. Unfortunately, due to escalating property taxes and family obligations, he could no longer keep the property. I explained my passion for daffodils. He nodded and said his wife also loved them but was in poor health. I offered a deal. I’d dig the flowers; he could take all he wanted to his wife.
I keep a shovel and trash bags in the trunk of my car. I have transformed my mid-size sedan into a modern day rescue mobile, relocating hundreds of daffodil bulbs from certain death. When I see property that is slated for development, I contact the owner and then begin digging fast as possible. Many times they say no, leaving me to mourn as the dozer destroys something I could plant at schools, and nursing homes.
Oftentimes, they grant permission. I then remove every flower and shrub from the property and find it a loving home. I leave no plant behind. My personal daffodil principle began in 1999 as a ministry to save my favorite flower. Today, I truly am on a mission to share beauty with others and relocate as many plants as I can in the process.
Happy rescuing and remember, get those hands dirty!