Come March, this city will be awash in color when hundreds of thousands of azalea blossoms burst open along the streets and squares.
But if Sandy Traub has her way, the humble daisy will be giving those azaleas some serious competition.
The marketing guru and lover of all things Savannah was looking for a way to get involved in the city–wide celebration of the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary, a mash–up of lectures, museum exhibits and events that will culminate the second week of March.
Proud to live in the birthplace of the national organization known for its service-oriented young women and tasty cookies, Traub hit upon the idea of planting daisies to honor Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low, who was known as “Daisy” to her friends and family.
Days later, the windowboxes of the President’s Quarters bed–and–breakfast were overflowing with “Daisies for Daisy.”
Daisies are now popping up all over, donning the tables of Wiley’s BBQ on Whitemarsh Island and dotting the front lawn of the Thunderbird Inn downtown. Leopold’s Ice Cream, already supporting the 100th anniversary by featuring an as–of–yet–named ice cream flavor based on the new Girl Scout cookie Savannah Smiles, is placing blooms from top to bottom of its Broughton Street store.
Even the City of Savannah is getting in on the floral fun: Officials say it will work daisies into its usual spring planting in the parks and squares (not too close to the azaleas, of course!) as well as in planter boxes at City Hall.
By the time national Girl Scout VIPs visit Savannah in the spring, Traub hopes her campaign will amount to “a swell of visual applause” for Low’s legacy.
“We know we can support the Girl Scouts by buying cookies in January, but I felt like the woman behind it all deserved an extra ‘thank you’,” said Traub, who’s been lobbying local inns and businesses to add daisies to their landscapes and as table decor. “She was such a visionary and has affected millions and millions of people.”
Savannah citizens are encouraged to join the effort, and floral tributes are starting to sprout in this winter’s mild weather. The nursery experts at Hester & Zipperer recommend vibrant Gerbera daisies for planting this time of year, while the more delicate Shasta variety does better when things warm up towards March. Should we have a sneak frost come February, don’t despair: those hearty Gerberas come right back.
Promoted solely through social media and word of mouth, Daisies for Daisy requires no meetings, commitments or any other stress that Traub knows keeps people away from community involvement.
“It’s just the simplest thing,” assured Traub. “If you like the idea, just pick a color and do it.”
Then, if you like, you can use your smartphone or computer to join the petal party. On the Twitter feed @DaisiesforDaisy, Traub is tweeting places to buy daisies, and folks can add photos of their own blooms and others spotted around town to a growing list of locations. From there, daisies are tagged on a map as part of the iPhone app created for the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace by SmackDab Studios.
Traub hopes Daisies for Daisy will spread beyond Savannah and be picked up by other Girl Scout 100th anniversary celebrations around the country.
“Social media makes this so easy. I hope it goes viral,” she says, musing that if Daisy Low had had use of a smartphone in her day, Girl Scouts might be running the world.
Katherine Keena, program director at the Birthplace, is thrilled not only with the colorful aesthetic of the project, but its method.
“What I love about it is that it’s completely grassroots,” she said. “That’s how Juliette Low started the Girl Scouts. It’s a very fitting way to honor her.”
To get involved, plant some daisies and follow @DaisiesforDaisy on Twitter.