Later this month, Wilton’s residents will be treated to a very special sight around town – large swaths of golden daffodils popping out of the ground along the town’s roadways. The cheerful display will mark the beginning of a new campaign by the Wilton Garden Club to kick off its centennial celebration.

Dubbed “Wilton’s Golden Miles,” the daffodils are a gift to the town from the Club to commemorate its 100th anniversary. As part of its continuing beautification efforts, the Club plans to enlist the help of the town’s residents, businesses, and local organizations to plant successive waves of daffodils each year.

The goal is to plant 15,000 bulbs over the next five years. Nancy Greeley, the Club’s President, said the Club is well on its way to meeting this goal.

“We had just started planning for our centennial celebration last March when the pandemic hit,” she said. “We were all so down, but then the daffodils started blooming and we had this epiphany of how we could cheer people up and beautify the town at the same time.”

Greeley described how the Club’s planning committee came up with the idea of a “daffodil explosion” where Club members would plant thousands of daffodil bulbs around town. For inspiration, they looked to New York City’s “Daffodil Project,” begun shortly after 9/11 to cheer up the wounded city. They were further inspired by a similar project undertaken by the Lewisboro Garden Club a few years later, called the “Golden Roads,” to brighten up the town of South Salem, New York. Both daffodil planting projects are still going strong.

“We wanted to keep our project a secret to surprise the community this spring, but word leaked out and the Wilton Kiwanis Club immediately offered to help out. Not only did they support the project financially so that we could buy bulbs, but they also rounded up a team of the hardest working people I’ve ever seen. Together we planted 1,000 bulbs at the Wilton Historical Society and had a great time planting together,” Greeley explained.  “It was a wonderful example of two service-based organizations coming together to better the community.”

Garden Club members then went on to plant another 2,500 bulbs.

“We’re hoping that when the daffodils bloom this spring, the happy splash of color will inspire other organizations and people in the community to join us to help us reach our goal of planting 15,000 bulbs,” Greeley added

In addition to the daffodils, the Club has a number of other events planned for the coming year to celebrate its 100th anniversary. It will be hosting a Daffodil Festival for the community on Saturday, April 17 followed by its annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale in May, and then a Flower Show at Wilton’s Old Town Hall on Sept. 24-25. Finally, in October, the Club will host a Daffodil Community Day to plant more daffodils in the hope that this Wilton’s Golden Miles initiative will serve as a legacy that brings joy to the community for many years to come.

“It’s remarkable to think that the country had just endured the Spanish Flu back when our Club was founded in 1921, and now here we are today in the midst of another pandemic,” Greeley said. “It makes me realize just how much our members today have in common with our Club’s founders. We all just try to do a little good and find some joy in it along the way.”

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