By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Joplin area residents who want to help plant good will for those in Oklahoma affected by recent tornadoes may put their green thumbs to work.
Summer-blooming flower bulbs will be available this week from the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department.
Chris Cotten, parks and recreation director, said residents can plant the bulbs for their own yards or businesses, or they can harvest them next year to send to residents of Moore or other Oklahoma cities affected by tornadoes.
The bulbs were sent by the organization America Responds With Love, which earlier sent bulbs for Joplin’s recovery from the 2011 tornado.
“They had these bulbs that need to be planted or they are not going to be any good, so they asked if we would take them,” Cotten said. “Moore is not ready for them yet.”
The city asks that residents plant the bulbs to keep them alive until next year, when they can dig them up to be donated to Moore.
“Joplin received so much support with volunteers and donations,” said City Manager Mark Rohr. “This is one way our residents can help pay it forward, plus we can benefit from the beautiful flowers here this summer.” The bulbs are expected to bloom later this summer, perhaps in August, if they are planted soon.
“This is a very large project, and we really would appreciate the area residents to get involved in this donation effort,” Cotten said. “We remember the large gift of flower bulbs we received last year, and it really provided many with an opportunity to replant flower gardens and beautify their yards. Many of the blooms in our community were from this gift. Now we have a chance to help Oklahoma.”
There are 25 pallets of bulbs — so many that businesses and organizations are eligible to pick up what they want to plant.
“With this many bulbs, we are going to need many people to get involved in this project,” Cotten said.
Michele Vandever of the Botany Shop said she could not give specific planting information without knowing the types of bulbs that are available, but the general rule is to plant bulbs two times deeper than the bulb is tall.
“Usually the pointed end is the top and the rounded end is bottom,” she said.
The bulbs can be obtained from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday at the parks office, 3010 W. First St. Those who want the bulbs are asked to provide their own containers to transport them.
Those who wish to plant the bulbs and then donate them next year can leave their name and contact information for collection in the spring.
In a statement, Richard McDonough, president and CEO of America Responds With Love, said: “In the planting of bulbs, we are focused on the future and how the communities will be building back during the upcoming months.
“The citizens of Joplin and the area can show their support for Oklahoma’s recovery by giving these bulbs a chance to bloom in Joplin and then offer them to Oklahoma citizens so they can bloom in their communities and brighten their future with beautiful flowers. It truly is a great symbol of hope moving from one community to another.”
AMERICA RESPONDS WITH LOVE INC. is a nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia. It has provided computers to blind children, and it has given food, and bulbs and plants for a number of gardens and to cities affected by disasters.