BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – One hundred thousand daffodils were planted along the Boston Marathon route after the bombings last year. And come Monday, runners from Hopkinton to Boylston Street will be able to see the bright yellow flowers symbolizing hope and rebirth at every turn.
The Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational days of spring. It's a time when it's finally warm enough that thousands line the streets for 26.2 miles to cheer on runners, usually running for a cause, someone or something. It brings a sense of community and support from every town and city along the route. And this year, each step of the way will be a bit brighter thanks to the Marathon Daffodil project.
Despite the harsh cold and snow of winter, the heads of flowers poking through the partially frozen dirt on Boylston Street are the first signs of strength, endurance and the resilience of what lies ahead. And to Diane Vallee, they are signs of encouragement that the project she started, Marathon Daffodils, is going just as planned.
"Hopefully, people will see daffodils everywhere they look," Diane said. "We have to rely on Mother Nature and we hope that it will cooperate."
Although many feel like Mother Nature has delayed the arrival of spring, this past fall, Diane, along with top horticulture groups and volunteers from Girl Scouts to grandparents planted over 100,000 daffodil bulbs along the marathon route in hopes that on April 21 an army of yellow daffodils will stand tall greeting each runner and spectator this year from Hopkinton to Boston.
"It's been so heartwarming to meet all these people and all of these communities that volunteered to come out and help," Diane said. "The goal was to beautify the route and to demonstrate to people that people in the City of Boston care, and it was a way for people to express that they do care, and they do want this marathon to be a successful marathon."
And Diane is hopeful that the project will be a success as well, as the first flowers are just starting to bloom in Boston. FOX 25's Sarah Wroblewski sat down with Diane to ask, why daffodils?
"It symbolizes hope and rebirth. And we're hoping it will cheer people's spirits on marathon weekend," she said.
And spirits will continue to be brighter for generations to come. As these flowers will multiply and come up year after year. A generous gift from all who supported the project that's paying homage to last year's victims and this year's marathon runners.
"I thought first I would plant daffodils around Boston, but the support was so good, that we planted over 100,000 daffodils from Hopkinton to Boston," Diane said. "It has exceeded our expectations."
So in the days leading up to the race, Diane along with volunteers will continue to hand out potted daffodils to those local businesses that were affected by the bombings like a small print shop that has been on Boylston Street for 35 years and was only a half a block away from the second bombing.
"It was a scary situation. Half a block away, from the second blast, and you see it. It was bad. Very bad. Very sad," shop owner Marty Kedian said. "My wife pulled people off the street and we all left out the back door."
He went on to say, "We shut down for nine days. And nine days for a small print shop is a long time. That means nine days your customers are going somewhere else, but it's not about anything like that. It's more about what happened. Since the bombings I've been waiting for somebody to do something special for the loss of life. And nobody came by. And now all of sudden Diane Vallee comes by and she's got daffodils. I'm like it's amazing that somebody wants to do something."
The generosity was so overwhelming that come Marathon Monday over 50,000 cut daffodils will be handed out right here on Boylston Street, so that runners and spectators will be greeted by a sea of yellow representing hope and new beginnings and a reminder that we are Boston Strong.
"Boston's definitely strong. It just shows life is going to continue. You know if it comes from flowers or people. It just shows everything is going to go on. You know, it's what we do," Kedian said.