Removal of popular yellow flowers at MSU upsetting some

Published 8:17 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New landscaping at Mississippi State University has some folks seeing, well, yellow.

The Starkville Daily News reported Tuesday that it began receiving calls that MSU staff were digging up longstanding daffodil beds and the flowers’ admirers were upset.

MSU President Robert “Doc” Foglesong told the newspapers that he liked flowers although he didn’t know much about them.

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“Over a period of years, we have had flower gardens around campus that are not maintained as well as they should and flowers in those gardens have grown to be sparse,” Foglesong said Monday. “If we’re going to have flower beds, which I advocate, we’re going to have robust flower beds.”

University officials said the daffodil bulbs are being pulled in order to be stored and will be replanted as part of broader campuswide landscape project.

One landscape workers, whose name was withheld by the newspaper, said he had pulled at least 5,000 daffodil bulbs in recent weeks.

A horticulture professor, who asked not to be identified, said daffodils are intentionally planted in a sparse manner as part of a naturalizing effort. He said daffodils do not grow more sparsely as time goes on but in clumps.

Mark Cooper, a senior horticulture major who has started a “Save the MSU Daffodils” campaign, said a petition drive is underway to get the State College Board involved in asking Foglesong to replant the daffodils.

Foglesong said he and the staff are doing what is best for the university’s appearance.

“I find it amazing that people could think that with all the effort we’ve put in that we are not committed to having a campus as pristine and as beautiful as we can,” Foglesong said.

Jim Jones, executive director of facilities management, said the university planned on keeping the bulbs.

“Why would we dig them up if we didn’t plan on keeping them?” he said.

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