Press Club

Local officials cut ribbon on garden featuring 33,000 daffodils

The weather may be windy and cold today, but it was sunny and more spring-like on Friday for the opening of a local retirement community’s famed daffodil garden.

A number of local officials attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Culpepper Garden community for low-income seniors, located in the Buckingham neighborhood at 4435 N. Pershing Drive.

Among the officials were County Board Chair Katie Cristol, County Board member Libby Garvey, County Manager Mark Schwartz, and state Senator Barbara Favola. They were joined by Arlington first responders, who helped to cut the ribbon on the spring garden, which features some 33,000 flowers in bloom, according to Culpepper Garden.

The garden was renovated and expanded during the pandemic and is tended to by a mix of volunteers, professional gardeners and staff.

A press release about the event is below.

Culpepper Garden, a celebrated retirement community for low-income seniors, welcomed Virginia State Senator Barbara Favola and other Arlington County officials to its Spring Opening event held today at the property’s daffodil garden featuring a spectacular display 33,000 flowers in bloom. Police Chief Andy Penn joined representatives from the county sheriff, fire, and emergency management departments to inaugurate the Arlington County First Responders Bench in the garden to mark the contributions of first responders to the Arlington community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our facilities are home to over 350 low-income seniors, all of whom became particularly vulnerable during the pandemic,” said Culpepper Garden Executive Director Marta Hill Gray, “The last two years have reminded us that first responders are literal lifesavers in times of need not just for our community here but for all of Arlington. What better way to celebrate their contributions than a permanent fixture among a sea of stunning yellow daffodils, which are the long-standing legacy of Culpepper.”

Among those in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the garden were Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol and County Manager Mark Schwartz. Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Reshetar, Sheriff Deputy Chief Dave Kidwell, and Hannah Winant from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management also joined Chief Penn to unveil the First Responders Bench.

“I recognize our first responders for their heroism during the COVID-19 pandemic and every day for their bravery and selflessness,” noted U.S. Rep. Don Beyer in remarks delivered by his chief of staff Zach Cafritz, “Arlington County’s first responders have been on the frontlines, making more than 300 trips in 2021 to Culpepper Garden, consistently risking their own well-being to protect  and serve our community members.” Rep. Beyer’s full statement was also entered into the Congressional Record.

The daffodil garden is the longstanding legacy of Charles Washington Culpepper, a horticulturist and civil servant who tended meticulously to the garden before selling the property in 1971. When the world shut down at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, a team of volunteers, gardeners, and staff began work to renovate the gardens, planting 28,000 daffodil saplings. In 2021, they followed up with an additional 5,000 plants.

“I’ve worked closely with Culpepper Garden for a number of years and know just how important of a role first responders play to ensure our residents’ wellbeing,” said State Senator Barbara Favola’s, who also serves on Culpepper Garden’s board. “I’m inspired by their selflessness and glad to be a part of honoring them today for their invaluable contributions to our community.”

The celebration marked the official opening of the daffodil garden for the season, which is free and open to visitors with prior registration through the summer. For more information about upcoming events, please visit the Events page on Culpepper Garden’s website.

Culpepper Garden is an award-winning retirement community that provides 346 affordable living housing units with services for low-income seniors over age 62. Our mission is to provide and advocate for affordable housing and quality services that help low-income seniors to thrive with comfort and dignity. Located on 4+ acres in the heart of Arlington, Culpepper Garden’s affordable, assisted living wing was the first in the U.S. and the only one that exists in Arlington. Founded 52 years ago, Arlington Retirement Housing Corporation (ARHC) is the nonprofit owner of Culpepper Garden. For more information visit www.culpeppergarden.org.

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