Bulbs brimming in Wilmington Parks

Mayor calls for volunteers to continue work


By GARY SOULSMAN • The News Journal • April 12, 2011


The ribbons of yellow daffodils that can be seen in city parks are the result of the Wilmington Beautification Commission lacing open spaces with perennial color over the last six years.


Partnering with the Delaware Center for Horticulture and more than 1,500 volunteers, the commission has added 130,000 bulbs in parks and other public places. DCH has also planted 150 trees and 9,000 plants.


Last week, Jacque Williamson, the parks project coordinator for DCH, gave Mayor James M. Baker a morning tour that included Kirkwood Park, Cool Spring Park and Reservoir, Haynes Park and Kosciuszko Park.


"With so many bulbs in bloom it's a good time to see what's going on in the parks," said Williamson, who pointed to flowers throughout the city during a two-hour tour.


Staggering the variety of bulbs means the color bursts are stretched out from early March to well into April, said Gary Schwetz, director of DCH programs.


Baker said he's pleased with the effort and wants to get the community more involved as two allotments for funding -- $405,000 each -- come to an end this year. He said he would like to see foundations, corporations and schools contribute funds and labor to keep up improvements and work with the city's department of parks and recreation.


Some neighborhood groups have made commitments to be involved.


Clara Zahradnik, president of the Cool Spring/Tilton Neighborhood Association, was on the tour. She talked about helping DCH work with students from Ursuline Academy and Lewis Elementary School to plant bulbs in neighborhood parks.


Hundreds of school kids came out for a half hour at a time and planted a bulb or two, Zahradnik said.


The city has more than 80 public parks, walkways and plazas. They "provide Wilmingtonians with so many joys and benefits that many residents would not want to live in the city without them," according to a 2008 report on the city parks prepared by the Trust for Public Land.


And though people often take the parks for granted, they contribute to property values, tourism, recreation, community cohesion as well as clean air and water, the report said. One thing not added to the parks through the beautification program is the big rocks. But Stanley Kozicki, a project manager with the department of parks and recreation, said people sometimes ask him how they got into places like Kosciuszko Park on South Broom Street.


The answer would be Mother Nature, he said.