NORTH SMITHFIELD – An effort by one North Smithfield resident to spread a little joy at a time when a pandemic has left many with an ongoing sense of uncertainty could soon see the town covered in yellow.

Ann Lilley is working with the North Smithfield Heritage Association to cover the town in thousands of daffodils, and is now selling packages of bulbs to residents at a discounted prices.

The movement was inspired by a similar effort in St. Louis, MO. There, an organization dubbed Brightside St. Louis sells the bulbs annually, and mobilized hundreds of volunteers to plant 500,000 of the bright yellow flowers in honor of its 30th anniversary in 2012.

Lilley witnessed the effect during a visit to the city several years ago.

“It was breathtakingly beautiful,” she said.

The flowers bloom at the start of spring, and Lilley hopes to see them covering town yards, side streets and public spaces. The blooms return each year, and the flower lover notes that North Smithfield’s showing can grow over time.

“In these dark times can we spread joy and sunshine? Yes!” a flyer advertising the program notes.

Lilley purchased 5,000 King Alfred yellow daffodils in bulk and has repackaged them into 50 count bags. She is now selling the bags at cost to residents for $15 per bag.

The bulbs should be planted in the fall in order to have spring blooms, in area with full sun or partial shade, and grow best in moderately fertile soil that is moist during the growing season. The hardy and easy perennial grows in most regions of North America and can be planted up until the ground freezes hard, usually through the first week or two of November.

“If you refrain from cutting the foliage until it naturally dies back, your daffodils will return year after year, offering an incredible return on your invested time and money,” the flyer notes.

Working with the Heritage Association, Lilley has planted the flowers at locations including The Little Red Schoolhouse and soon will plant them at Memorial Town Hall. She told NRI NOW that more than half of the bulbs have already been purchased by residents.

“I think it’s a good match because we are a fairly rural town, and I think we are kind of fractured with our little villages,” Lilley said. “It would be an interesting way of tying us all together.”

She said she’s hopeful the colorful flowers will help bring joy to locals during an otherwise difficult time.

“At this time when everyone’s kind of down, this is a way for us to cheer each other up,” she said. “Hopefully this is an effort we’ll do for several years.”

To order your daffodils or ask questions, residents should contact Lilley at (401) 556-0853 or jslilley@yahoo.com.

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