Saturday, July 20, 2024

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Stratford’s Official Town Flower(s)

By David Wright
Town Historian

Every September Stratford’s Beautification Commission (aka Beautification Committee) awards daffodils and a lawn sign to the winners of the Commission’s Annual Home Curb Appeal contest. For years, it’s quite likely that some, or all, of those recipients were unsure as to the significance of the gift of the daffodil bulbs.

Stratford’s Beautification Committee (accepted as a town commission in 2024) was formed by District 3 Town Councilwoman Sandra Zalik in October of 1998. The committee was formed as a bipartisan committee with three town councilors, six residents, and two business owners as members. The committee was charged with formulating a step-by-step beautification effort for the town. Priority was given to highway entrance ramps and heavily traveled roads. 

In April of 1999, the Beautification Committee launched a campaign to solicit residents’ input on what they would like to see as the town’s official tree and official flower.  Residents were offered a ballot in the April 22, 1999 The Stratford Star to select an official tree and flower. Choices for town tree included the Kwanzan Cherry, White Cloud Crabapple, Bradford Pear, and the Redbud. Flower choices included the daffodil, cone flower, daisy (Montauk), and the rosa rugosa. Some residents were displeased with these choices and felt only native trees and flowers should be considered.  Completed selection ballots were to be mailed to the Beautification Committee by Friday, May 7, 1999.

Red Bud Tree

The responses to the voting were a bit tepid. After deliberations over the submitted ballots, the Beautification Committee announced their selections of town tree and flower in their regular committee meeting of April 7, 1999. The town flower selections were the daffodil and the rosa rugosa.  The selection for tree over 15 feet was the red bud tree. The selection for tree under 15 feet was the Kwanzan cherry tree.

Kwanzan Cherry Tree
Daffodils

It’s interesting, and coincidental, to note that in June, 1894, the daffodil was selected as the state’s Suffrage flower. Since Stratford women were so vested in the Suffrage movement in the state, the daffodil does seem to be a very fitting town flower.

As you drive around town this weekend, you’ll be able to see daffodils, red buds, and cherries blossoming out. To locate the rosa rugosa, you may need to drive to Long Beach and take a short walk to locate the “beach roses.”

At any rate, if you receive a gift of daffodil bulbs from anyone in our town, please plant them.  If you’re considering planting a small, but beautiful, tree to enhance your yard, you couldn’t do better that selecting a red bud tree. We can all help beautify our town by planting all of our town’s “official” trees and flowers.

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