Steamboat Springs They came on forklifts, the daffodils did, when Susanne Kane Bostrom and her husband arrived in Denver to pick them up.
The pair took a van and a truck to the airport about a week ago to haul back the thousands of flowers for Heralds of Hope, a fundraiser for Northwest Colorado's hospice program. Bostrom said it was a sight to behold with the two vehicles "all full of flowers."
The bright yellow blooms wound up all over Steamboat Springs and Craig, bursting out of vases on desks, at banks and on tables at restaurants.
It all began more than 15 years ago for Bostrom, who owns Alpine Floral and Atrium in Steamboat Springs.
Her father, Bob Kane, died of pancreatic cancer in 1992 in California.
"It was my first experience with hospice," Bostrom said. "He was able to die in front of the fireplace."
Bostrom said that when she realized how important hospice was, she wanted to pitch in. She first sold daffodils for the American Cancer Society and then asked the hospice program if it wanted to take over the fundraiser. That was in 1993, she said.
In the first year, she sold 500 bunches. This year, hospice volunteers and participating shops sold 5,500 at $5 a bunch. After the cost of flowers and materials, Bostrom said, that should net $18,000 to $20,000 for the hospice program.
The Visiting Nurse Association runs Hospice Services of Northwest Colorado, through which people with terminal illnesses receive home care and support.
"It's great for awareness of hospice," Bostrom said. "It's a small donation, so anybody can participate. They come direct from the grower, nice and fresh, and all the money stays right here in Steamboat."
The flowers are grown in Washington, she said. Each year, Bostrom sends the promotional poster for the fundraiser - along with some treats - to the grower.
"They take care of us, and they know there's this little town in Colorado that sells 5,000 bunches of daffodils," she said.
The flowers arrive with the blossoms closed up tight, and buyers get instructions on how to make them bloom.
"I think it's kind of magical how people cut them and put them in water, and on the next day there's this big bouquet of flowers and it's snowing outside," Bostrom said.
The hospice program does the fundraiser each year around St. Patrick's Day. She picks up the flowers Sunday, they're wrapped Monday and buyers get them Tuesday.
"Just about everybody I know has bought them or buys them every year," said Wendy McConnell, who works at Alpine Mountain Ranch and praised Bostrom's efforts. "I just think what she's doing is wonderful, and I think she's been doing it silently for a few years. I don't think everybody knows the history behind this fundraiser."
Bostrom said she thinks it's an uplifting fundraiser for hospice volunteers who work with people who have serious illnesses, which can be difficult. She estimated that a couple of hundred people work on the flower project each year.
The daffodils themselves are the perfect symbol for the cause, Bostrom said.
"It's the first flower of spring. It's the first flower of hope."