Splashes of deep purple, blues, and whites speckle a hillside at Treadwell Park. On Wednesday, April 9, late afternoon sunlight gave the small crocus petals an early spring glow.
Brid Craddock walked with her husband Harvey Pessin, stepping carefully through the flower clusters.
“This is great,” Ms Craddock said. “There are quite a lot.” A swath of color dotted the sloping ground where hundreds of crocuses had emerged, with more to come. Roughly 10,000 bulbs are planted there. Aside from crocuses, there are “a mix of cultivars that will come up throughout the year,” Mr Pessin said.
Within days of 12/14, the town received a donation of 10,000 flower bulbs.
The Parks and Recreation Department had then asked for help, and Mr Pessin and his wife soon had a team of more than 100 volunteers eager to help plant the bulbs in honor of the shooting victims. Volunteers of all ages descended on Treadwell Park on Saturday, December 22, 2012, to plant the donations.
Last week, as he and Ms Craddock glanced at the season’s first proof of their labor in late 2012, they laughed, remembering the methods volunteers had used to plant the bulbs, and the evidence left behind. Pointing to different areas, Ms Craddock noted that some volunteer teams had gone in rows, while other areas produced clusters of flowers. From older couples to younger children, and extended families with members joining the planting from as far away as Massachusetts and Long Island, Mr Pessin recalls, “everyone wanted to do something, physically, for the town.”
“This felt good, it felt constructive,” Ms Craddock said.
“This meant a lot to some people,” said Mr Pessin.
“It meant a lot to help,” his wife added.
Standing on the hilltop with flowers popping across the lawn at his feet, Mr Pessin glanced beside him at the park’s American flag and scoreboard. “People should be able to watch the games and look toward the scoreboard and see the slope of flowers.”
Pleased with the results of the volunteer effort, he said, “It’s not the bulbs, it’s the people planting them.”
Reflecting on the friends and extended families who participated in the planting effort, he said, “It was a very therapeutic experience working with so many people, all with the common goal of just doing something for Newtown.” He added he sent an e-mail to the volunteers on April 5 to let them know the bulbs “are just starting to come up.”
Noting the variety of bulbs planted, he said, “There should be a new crop of bulbs blooming throughout the spring. I urge everyone to visit the site to remember the reason the bulbs were planted.”
He mentioned the hillside where the flowers are blooming, which is below a scoreboard and opposite the main parking lot. He said, “The best way to view the flowers is to park by the tennis courts and walk around the soccer field.”