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Sonoma Valley neighborhood prepares to plant daffodils after Sonoma County fires

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here

Neighbors in the long idyllic, now largely incinerated Sonoma Valley enclave of Trinity Oaks pondered what they might do.

What they might do, that is, to quickly restore beauty and signs of renewal to their neighborhood on Dunbar Road, which parallels Sonoma Highway just north of Glen Ellen.

How about planting daffodils? A whole lot of daffodils?

Five weeks after the Nuns fire charred great swaths of the Valley of the Moon and destroyed about three-quarters of the 60 or so homes in Trinity Oaks, excitement builds over a plan to plant 30,000 daffodils along both sides of Dunbar Road and around the mailboxes of all Trinity Oaks residents who’d like to have them.

“It’s just what people need,” said resident Anna Pope, a prime mover in the daffodil project and one of the Trinity Oaks residents who did not lose her home.

Neighbors “need something immediate,” Pope said, “and they need to do it together — a collective healing endeavor.”

There’s a plan to rent a mini-excavator and begin digging holes for bulbs this week, and for volunteers from up and down Dunbar Road and beyond to dress in grubbies and begin planting bulbs on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

“We’re at the tail end of bulb-planting season,” said Pope, a real estate attorney with Cooley LLP and trustee of Sonoma’s historic, fire- damaged Bartholomew Park. “So we’ve got to get them in.”

There’s talk of calling in a food truck to help feed what’s envisioned to be a large and spirited crowd at the Dunbar Blooming work day. It’s unlikely that daffodil bulbs can be placed along the full two miles of Dunbar Road in one day, so there will likely be more planting on the following Saturday, and perhaps on the Saturday after that.

Anyone interested in helping to plant bulbs can contact Pope by email at popeab@gmail.com.

Pope and her neighbors are inviting people to pitch in with the work, or to help purchase bulbs and wildflower seeds.

Already, there are an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 daffodil bulbs in a Trinity Oaks garage. Pope and a few neighbors conceived the beautification project and discovered they could order a huge amount of bulbs from Bill the Bulb Baron of Moss Landing, but then something remarkable happened.

Two cyclists from outside of Sonoma Valley, Erik Ott and Dave Sheldon, were pedaling the fire-scarred Dunbar Road and stopped to ask if they could do anything to help.

Would they drive a truck to Monterey County and fetch a huge load of daffodil bulbs? They would, happily.

Bill the Bulb Baron, known also as William R.P. Welch, did not require payment of the $6,000 bill on the spot. Pope and her neighbors welcome community help to pay for those bulbs, and are hopeful that the unburned Quarryhill Botanical Garden off Sonoma Highway will be able to purchase the bulbs and accept tax-deductible donations from the public.

Supporters of the post-fire beautification, comfort and renewal project also can go into Swede’s Feeds in Kenwood or Sonoma Mission Gardens in Sonoma and buy bulbs to either take with them or leave for pick-up by Pope or others involved in Dunbar Blooming.

At Sonoma Mission Gardens on Sunday, nursery manager Lydia Constantini said wholesaler Van Zyverden Bulb of Washington is helping out by picking up the shipping costs for the 15,000 to 20,000 high-quality bulbs of daffodils and other narcissus that it is sending to Sonoma.

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here

Constantini said her nursery will sell the bulbs at cost, starting at $15 for a bag.

“They’ll come up and bloom,” said the nursery manager, whose parents lost their home to the flames, “and they’ll give us a lift for spring.”

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.