In the late 1920s and early 1930s US 41 (now Atlanta Road) was
the only paved road in Smyrna and the population was a few hundred.
Smyrna's residential yards and rights of way became a mass of
the spring. Thousands of
jonquil blossomed profusely for several weeks. This annual event
attracted the attention of tourists traveling back to their
homes in the Midwest and Canada after having spent the winter
Smyrna's young boys would gather up bunches of the jonquils
and sell them on the side of the road for 10 to fifteen cents
a dozen to the tourists and other motorists driving through
all of the yards of Smyrna's residences, as well as the hills,
valleys and roadways, in those days were covered with King
Alfred and other varieties of what we refer to as jonquils
of today's "urban sprawl" and the construction of
housing and businesses, the jonquils are not as widely disbursed
as in the past. However, they still continue to amaze and
thrill residents every year with their color and beauty and
inspire the city to host the annual Jonquil Festival.
history says that the jonquils were introduced to Smyrna by
Mr.& Mrs. Taylor (Mommy & Daddy) who moved to Smyrna
from Decatur in the late 1880s. They purchased 80 acres on
and around the area where the old Brawner hospital is currently
located on Atlanta Road. They picked up the nicknames "Mommy
& Daddy" when they were supervisors at the Methodist
Children's Home in Decatur.
had one son who lived in Spokane, Washington. He sent his
parents a burlap bag from there of what are believed to be
the area's first jonquil bulbs. The Taylors shared the bulbs
with friends and neighbors. They quickly multiplied and came
back every year with very little care.
moved to Spokane in 1907. Other residents continued the tradition
of planting and sharing jonquil bulbs with friends and family.
In 1937, 18 local ladies established a garden club. They adopted
Jonquil Garden Club as the name as well as the familiar green
and yellow as the club's colors.
point, the traditional history gets a little controversial
when it comes to identifying a single source for the name
"Jonquil City of the South". For a number of years,
a number of members of the Smyrna Business Men's Club claimed
that they introduced the name "Jonquil City". However,
the ladies of the Jonquil Garden Club and the Spring Hill
Garden Club agreed that Smyrna was first given the title by
Smyrna Native, Lena Mae Green.
and her husband Dr. G. C. Green were in Toronto, Ontario for
a convention. One of the delegates enquired what was the name
of the town north of Atlanta that had all the pretty yellow
flowers. Mrs. Green replied "That's Smyrna, Georgia,
the Jonquil City of the South".
Greens returned to Smyrna after the convention, it is said
that Mrs. Green suggested that the city adopt the name. Since
that time, garden clubs, civic and service organizations,
churches, businesses and the city government have encouraged
residents to plant jonquil bulbs.
years the Smyrna Clean and Beautiful Organization has sold
thousands of bulbs and planted many more on rights of ways,
cemeteries, city parks and city land and encouraged residents
to continue this more than century-old tradition.
flower has been incorporated into the official logo of the
city. The Administrative Services Building and the Community
Center are topped with towers that feature stained glass reproductions
of the jonquil. Each spring and fall, the city celebrates
the Jonquil Festival attended by tens of thousands
of residents and visitors. Even more are attracted throughout
the year to the city known as The Jonquil City of the South.