The garden has been planted and maintained by Greene County Master Gardener Volunteers led by Barbara Tinch and working in conjunction with Beavercreek Parks, Recreation, and Culture Department. Members of the Southwest Ohio Daffodil Society (SWODS), a local club of the American Daffodil Society provided expertise and donated many of the daffodil bulbs from their own collections. Rebecca Koesters, a local Beavercreek resident was particularly generous, donating over 20 different cultivars.
Fifth Third Gateway Park is located at the junction of Dayton-Xenia Road and the Creekside Trail bike path. Although it is a small park, it is heavily used by bikers and local residents who appreciate the convenient parking, gazebo for relaxation and shade, and its location in the heart of Beavercreek.
The planting, was originally conceived by Barb Mills, Master Gardener Coordinator for Greene County and George McGowan, Greene County Master Gardener as a way to make Gateway Park a unique area.
The garden bed is a 60 foot by 20 foot traingle, parallel to both the bikeway and Dayton-Xenia Road. Last fall Barb Tinch, Dan Denham, Sue Donahue, Barb Mills, George and Kathy McGowan, April and Jim Artkamp volunteered their time and labor to plan and label over 400 bulbs representing 78 varieties of daffodils. Every one of them survived the winter and bloomed this past spring. Another 150 bulbs (30 different varieties) were planted this fall.
The collection is representative of the 26,000 registered daffodils available to the gardener. Historic and recent introductions, large and small trumpets, doubles, tazettas, white, yellow, and pink cups are all at Gateway Park.
The Pannill award is given by the ADS annually to a daffodil variety that consistently produces outstanding blooms for flower shows. The Wister award is given annually to those varieties that perform particularly well in the garden. About half the varieties at Gateway Park have been awarded either the Pannill or Wister award. One variety, Rapture, received both awards.
The garden bed is also home to a Stout daylily collection and some annual bedding plants. They grow together well. Daffodils start growing in March, heralding the arrival of spring and bloom throughout April. Daylilies start growing in April and cover up the the receding daffodil foliage as they prepare to bloom later in the summer. The annual bedding plans are usually planted after the frost date in mid-May and help to fill in the spaces left by the daffodils as they become dormant during the heat of summer.
The American Daffodil Society initiated the Display garden program a few years ago to demonstrate the variety, beauty, and ease of growing daffodils. They are one of the few bulbs that will not be eaten by deer, squirrels, or chipmunks.