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Dear Sir : In response to your column about the daffodils on the slope overlooking Interstate 40, they have been there for many years. I worked on JFK Boulevard in the early 1980s and they were in pretty bad shape back then. -- Evelyn

Dear Mahatma: Daffodils go back at least as far as 1984. Call Audrey Burtrum-Stanley. -- Carolyn

Dear Ladies: Thank you for referencing a recent column in which was lamented the loss of a garden of daffodils overlooking I-40 near Park Hill. The flowers were planted in the outline of our small, wonderful state. The hillside is now covered with trees and brush.

A reader asked about this, we subsequently asked our readers, and some information has emerged. All roads led to Audrey Burtrum-Stanley, a North Little Rock resident and civic whirlwind.

(True confession: We worked with Mrs. Burtrum-Stanley in the 1980s at the old Arkansas Democrat.)

Here, in short, is what she knows and what she believes.

The project was the work of the Class of 1965 of North Little Rock High School, the idea to make a lasting contribution to the area. Through the years, several of the bulbs along the top moved downward on the steep slope. This caused the design when in bloom to alter its shape so it was no longer a pristine Arkansas.

In the late 1980s, a group of North Little Rock Volunteers For Improvement and Preservation undertook the replacement of the bulbs in the top of the design. About a dozen volunteers helped, including Fred and Carolyn Staley, Opal Adams, Mollie Goodwin, George Metzler, the Stanley clan, Tom Kyzer and others.

The incline is "daunting," Mrs. Burtrum-Stanley said.

She believes the Arkansas Department of Transportation is derelict in not maintaining the area. She believes the agency in years past oversprayed with herbicide in order to reduce the need to mow and has subsequently let the slope lapse into overgrowth.

We asked ArDot about these matters. On the first, the spraying of herbicide, ArDot said a spraying this year was the first in 10 years.

To our feeble mind, the agency's institutional memory appears not to go back as far or as sharply as that of Mrs. Burtrum-Stanley.

On the second matter, leaving the slope to nature's will, a response comes from Mark Headley, chief engineer of ArDot's District 6.

"The tree growth in the area is a result of our required reduction in mowing width along interstates years ago. As long as the trees don't interfere with sight distance at the interchange or the clear zone (both safety issues), then the trees and brush are allowed."

Headley added: "We can look and see if it would qualify for an Adopt-A-Spot by a local garden group."

Here is a solution, in the manner of the Class of 1965.

Who wants to work with ArDot to adopt this daunting slope and replant those flowers?

Fjfellone@gmail.com

Metro on 05/30/2020

Print Headline: Daffodils' past full of prologue

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