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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Living Memorials Project

Bianca Bob planting at a tree pit.
Bianca Bob planting at a tree pit.
A group of sunflower planters in action.
A group of sunflower planters in action.

Sunflower Project NYC


The project's goal is to remember life one flower at a time, both the people who were lost, their families, and a thank you to those who helped in the rescue efforts. In a response to all the discussion about cement and planning and the long term, Bianca Bob singlehandedly spearheaded this project. She did not want New York to feel the same on September 11, saying "there's going to be debating for years and meanwhile there is a hole in the ground; people are getting ignored." Since then, a core of 6-10 volunteer planters along with dozens of others, businesses around Tribeca, and sponsors have come together in a truly grassroots project. Their goal is to do something now in the present that is rooted in humanity and that recognizes the needs of victims and survivors right now, both by beautifying the city, by dedicating the flowers, and by the symbolism and gesture of planting. Sunflower Project NYC's hope all along has been that people everywhere will participate individually and in groups in their own communites wherever they are by planting their own sunflower memorial patches. Bob quipped, "Plant one, plant 100. Just spread the seeds."

Reason site was selected

Initially Bob wanted to plant 3,000 sunflowers at "point thank you" on the West side highway where hundreds stood in vigil to thank the rescue workers. However, this land was not available for planting and she began to think more creatively and informally, setting a goal of having 3,000 sunflowers bloom for the anniversary of September 11 and through the fall all across the city.

Events planned for site

The process of meeting people and caring for sunflowers in such an urban environment IS the main event here. Bob has been overwhelmed with the curiosity of those that see her planting. She said that "So many people have been wonderful, really excited, and have helped. It's about personality, communities, and the people that walk by and get involved....A lot of people who have never planted anything besides their butt in front of the TV are involved; its good for them." She is actively seeking help with planting and especially watering, and she hopes that people will stop pulling up what appears to be weeds but actually has potential to be a beautiful flower. They are also open to any new planting site with a willing steward. Their web site will serve as the permanent memorial, eventually to have pictures, a forum, and the history of the project all documented. Depending on funding, they may plant "big smile" sunflowers in pots to be displayed on September 11 to ensure that there are blooms. Bob said, "my dream is that people will plant on their own, and it is working, its really grassroots."

Do you believe your memorial is a sacred place?

Bianca Bob answered, "I would like it to be sacred and others to feel so as well. So many flowers have been destroyed (ripped up because they look like weeds) and people just don't understand what it's about. We know there's a 50-50 shot of them growing, so I try to plant each one with love and leave all the strain behind and remember a person as I plant, and hope that it grows. It's a form of meditation."
  • Sponsored by Global Sunflower Project for Peace; Johnny's Seeds
  • Site maintained by Open to all who wish to participate!
  • Project website contact
  • Project email contact
  • Address various sites
  • City, State, ZIP New York metro area and beyond, New York  xxxxx
  • County New York and beyond
  • Dedication Sep. 11, 2002
  • Status Dedicated/Existing and temporary
  • Artwork yes
  • Public access yes
  • Public events yes
  • Sq. Foot n/a
  • Acreage n/a
  • Number & Species of Trees None: over 6,000 sunflowers are being planted, in hopes that 3,000 will reach blossom, at the following types of sites and more:
  • This project is best described as a School Garden, Private Garden, Rooftop or Indoor Garden, Public Plaza or Town Center, Traffic Strip or Streetscape, Waterfront, Other
  • This project is unique because of the Site Design, Site Planning Process, Site Use, Site Maintenance
  • Project Sponsors and Participants
  • Is the community involved? yes
  • Project was initiated by Individuals
  • Land is owned by City
  • Type of participants Volunteers
  • Number of people involved 20 - 50
  • Percent of those involved who are volunteers Everyone
  • Are people expected to stay involved? yes
  • For more information contact,