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A Builder?s ID: Daffodils and More Daffodils

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Sometime in April or May thousands of white, pink and yellow flowers will offer a splash of color in a part of the country not known for its seasonal changes.

February 04, 2000

Sometime in April or May thousands of white, pink and yellow flowers will offer a splash of color in a part of the country not known for its seasonal changes.

Two public parks and a senior center in the Bay Area town of Pleasanton, Calif., are the beneficiaries of the community outreach efforts of Greenbriar Homes. Last fall, the firm bought and planted 10,000 daffodil bulbs with the assistance of local park officials and student volunteers.

Greenbriar, a builder of high-end production and semi-custom homes will build about 200 detached single-family residences this year in Mountain View, San Jose and Pleasanton. And according CEO Carol Meyer, the company will double its daffodil plantings each of the towns where it is building this year.

"We decided that we would like to leave a legacy in the cities in which we build and so we adopted the daffodil as our corporate flower and our plan is to plant an increasing number of Daffodils every year," says Meyer.

The idea stems from a long-ago trip to Europe where Meyer was singularly impressed with the numerous civic flowerbeds and plantings in cities like Amsterdam. Because Greenbriar’s daffodil initiative is ongoing, Meyer envisions a time in the future when the Bay Area could become well known for daffodils in the same way that Washington, D.C., is known for its Cherry Blossoms.

According to Meyer, she was surprised how well everything fell into place once the ball got rolling last year. The Pleasanton parks department offered to help plant the bulbs and even arranged help from high school students who received community service credits for time spent planting. In addition, one of Greenbriar’s landscaping subcontractors agreed to help purchase the bulbs once the right species of Daffodil had been identified through research. They even traveled to Holland to purchase the bulbs.

"In the Bay Area, we don’t have a tremendous swing in our seasons and there are not a lot of spring flowers that come back year after year and that are easy to grow here," says Meyer, who adds that park departments like them because they are low maintenance.

The response from the public and the media also surprised Meyer. In addition to coverage in local newspapers, The Wall Street Journal picked up the story. But one gets the feeling from talking to Meyer that this is something she might have done even if she was in another industry. But the daffodil-planting program does dovetail well with the enormous landscaping impact that builders often take for granted.

Not surprisingly, daffodils also find there way into most of the communities built by Greenbriar. "If the planting season is right, we get them in our model complexes as well," Meyer says. "It’s made a positive impact for our home buyers and I have a personal mission to spread this beautiful flower."

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