Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Atascadero Centennial Daffodil Project Has Deep Roots

This project was conceived by Lee Swam as a way to beautify Atascadero in general and Colony Homes specifically in advance of our Centennial celebration which is only 2 years away.  The goal is to plant 25,000 bulbs prior to the celebration.  So far, 3200 bulbs have been planted around town.  Seed money was provided by the Atascadero Mutual Water Company to kick off the project. Among others involved are the Chamber of Commerce, Rabobank, Teens at Work, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. This project has roots and bulbs that go back 88 years or more. For example, the Thalia bulb was introduced in 1916 coinciding with beginning of the Colony Home period; February Gold and Mrs. R.O. Backhouse were introduced in 1923 and the Carlton bulb in 1927.
This week, 88 years ago in 1923 a letter was submitted to the Editor, H.J. Loken, Atascadero News in response to his call for the community to submit ideas for the ‘Atascadero The Beautiful’ campaign.  This reprint of that letter illustrates the timeliness of the current community effort.
“Dear Editor: “Beautify Our Homes” would be a good slogan for Atascadero for the next two years at least.  Your editorial concerning this will no doubt bring ready response from many of us who came here because of the beauty of nature which surrounds Atascadero.  The Nature Club is doing much to enable us to see with our eyes, hear with our ears, in short to use our senses to the utmost to appreciate the beauties so bounteously bestowed by Nature upon us. 
The people will find it ready at all times to render assistance to the limit of its ability.  So far it has utilized its time in learning our flowers, birds, trees, rocks, etc. but what a noble work it could do and will do if everyone interested will do his little to help.  A handful of seed gathered by one is not much but think of the marvelous beauty that could be created if a thousand people brought a handful of seed and the Nature Club saw to the planting and rearing of the seed and its young plant.  The operation of our local experts would certainly be voluntary and the results would make Atascadero stand out above any other place in the state or perhaps the world. 
So far I have had wild flowers in mind but let us go further.  Let us find out what cultivated flowers and shrubs and trees do best here and let us plant them in abundance.  Let us do team work; let us obtain color harmony.  The way to do such things is to get together and talk it over and receive expert advice.  The Nature Club will handle the details, I feel sure, if people show they want such things.  Our pioneer life here is rapidly drawing to a close and the second stage is close upon us, namely, the blending of our architecture to make it harmonize with the architecture that nature has had here for thousands of years.  
Could we spend a few nights this winter to better advantage than to have talks on the different flowers both cultivated and wild which we could use to beautify the places we have rudely scarred the natural beauty.  Because we already have more wild flowers than any other place in the world is all the more reason why we should replace them in the places where we have ploughed them up.
Conservation is a work that is being spoken more and more.  All know that it is a good thing to conserve but all have not realized that the word is applicable right here as well as elsewhere…How many volunteers can we get who will plant just one shrub or tree or flower in the park around Paradise Spring for instance, and care for that plant till it no longer needs attention.  Or perhaps better let us take some place or places nearer for those who must walk-Community House,  Pine and Lookout Mountain, the Highway, Traffic Way, etc., etc.
If this plan meets with approval let us drop the Editor a postal and ask for a meeting with the Nature Club to start action.
Yours truly
If you would like more information or you are interested in participating in the Centennial Daffodil Project, please call Lee Swam at 440.0765 or Joe Benson at joe@envisionsgallery.com 
Submitted by
Thomas E. Lewis            
Vice President AHS

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