As part of the recovery from the devastating tornadoes that hit Oklahoma in May, five pallets of flower bulbs will be given away in Shawnee Saturday, and thousands more flower bulbs now growing and thriving in Joplin, Mo., will arrive here for planting in early 2014.
James Bryce, the city of Shawnee director of operations, said while many flower bulbs are in Shawnee now, that is just a small shipment as the rest of the bulbs are temporarily planted in Joplin, Mo., but will bloom in Shawnee and other parts of Oklahoma next year.
“Next year, they’ll dig those up and bring the rest to us,” Bryce said, adding it’s all part of the tornado recovery and beautification efforts.
“While efforts are going on to clean up the damage left behind, these bulbs will be the start of the healing process,” Bryce added.
This Saturday’s giveaway is scheduled 9 a.m. to noon at the Shawnee Twin Lakes No. 1 boat ramp area, located on Belcher Road, west of SH 102.
“We’ll give them out until they’re gone,” Bryce said about the varieties of flower bulbs. “The whole idea is to beautify the community.”
It’s all possible through America Responds With Love, a national non-profit organization that donated 114,300 flower bulbs to create Respond With Love Gardens in Joplin as well as many areas of Oklahoma, including Shawnee, that were affected by the May tornadoes.
Richard McDonough, president and chief executive officer of America Responds With Love, Inc., said this effort is helping both communities.
“The citizens of Joplin and the area are showing their support for Oklahoma’s recovery by giving these flower 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,” he said. “It truly is a great symbol of hope moving from one community to another.”
Bryce said the city appreciates the generosity of America Responds with Love and said there will be plenty of bulbs to hand out in Shawnee this Saturday.
“Shawnee understands that we were not the only city hit and will be sharing the bulbs with the surrounding communities that were also affected,” Bryce said, adding pallets also have been sent to the Carney and Luther areas affected by the tornadoes.
“Again, I say thank you, Joplin and America Responds With Love for your help,” Bryce said, adding he is thankful for Gilbert and Sons Trucking Company, based in Tecumseh, for picking up the bulbs in Joplin and delivering them to Shawnee at no charge.
Page 2 of 2 - “It would have been quite a task for us to get the bulbs here without them,” Bryce said.
And while the idea is to help the tornado-ravaged areas, Bryce said all area residents wanting to plant the bulbs for beautification are welcome to some of bulbs, although Bryce said those picking some up will need to bring a container of their own to transport them. There are a variety of flower bulbs in the pallets, he said.
Several of the master gardeners in the Shawnee area are expected to use the bulbs in many public areas as part of the beautification efforts, Bryce said.