Annapolis businessman Steve Samaras was one of three friends of Homestead founder Don Riddle who shared memories of Don during his funeral service. We learned about Don’s mission to beautify the city of Annapolis and his co-founding with Steve of City of Flowers by the Bay, a campaign to introduce hanging baskets and container gardens to the Historic District of Annapolis (examples of which you see in these photos). Steve’s last words to the overflow crowd of mourners were directed to Don but were moving to everyone: “My friend, your flowers did beautify the city, but your heart made it better.”
I found much more about the program and the fundraising campaign on its behalf from the City of Flowers by the Bay website:
Every spring since 1998 the streets of Annapolis has burst into bloom with beautiful hanging flower baskets and overflowing flower pots that have become a hallmark of the city. This program took root in 1997 when Homestead Gardens owner, Don Riddle, Steve Samaras, and other downtown business owners successfully lobbied the city council to allow this urban beautification project. The flowers are a major contributor to the ambiance of Annapolis and one of the reasons it was named one of the ten most beautiful cities in America by Forbes magazine.
The Annapolis Hanging Basket program is one of the finest in the nation, and has been used as a model by other cities and municipalities looking to launch their own beautification efforts. In the past ten years, since its inception, the program has nearly doubled in size, spreading down West Street, over the Spa Creek Bridge, and down Maryland Avenue. Funding for the program has always been a private-public joint venture between the City of Annapolis, its businesses, and the community. However, a poor economy for the past two years has forced these contributors to scale down their yearly donation, but not their support and enthusiasm.
This incredible flower program is labor-intensive and requires daily maintenance to keep the containers looking their best. In the past, city government, business groups, and individual contributions have kept this program alive. Cuts in funding have rendered many of our “pots” orphans. A donation of $275 gives a pot life from May through October and gentle loving care. Help to preserve and grow the City of Flowers by the Bay program by making a tax-deductible donation today. As a donor you will receive an official sponsor Annapolis Bloomin’ decal for your window, proudly proclaiming that you sponsor the Annapolis-Eastport Flower Program. Thank you for your support and for Keeping Annapolis Beautiful!
In lieu of flowers, the Riddle family asked that donations be made to the “Annapolis and Anne Arundel Chamber Foundation” to benefit Don’s passion – City of Flowers by the Bay.