Even in the fall, a sign of spring by the Charles River

 

by Daniel Charles Defraia, Allston-Brighton TAB

Brighton, Mass. — In the cold early morning at Herter Park on the banks of the Charles River, a small crew of volunteers planted a thousand daffodil bulbs donated by Mahoney’s Garden Center in Brighton. It was the final daffodil event of the season for the Charles River Conservancy, an advocacy group dedicated to the renovation and redecoration of the parklands.

Last year, with the help of volunteers, the conservancy planted 10,000 daffodil bulbs. They planted more than 800 more bulbs on Saturday, bringing this year’s total to 10,000.

The bulbs need to be planted this fall for daffodils to bloom next spring.

Most of the volunteers were students from local colleges such as Wentworth, MIT, Boston University and Bunker Hill Community College.

Students from Wentworth College’s Phi Sigma Phi honors fraternity participated as part of a “service requirement.” A group from Bunker Hill Community College said this was their second time planting daffodils and were happy to serve the community.

Charles River Conservancy volunteer coordinator Logan Walsh directed and organized the event. He handed pickaxes to eager volunteers to break through the sod and hard soil, spade shovels to dig the trenches for the flowers, and wheelbarrows to haul away the excess plants and brush.

Of the many varieties of plants cleared away, desert false indigo was the most notorious. While not technically an invasive species, some gardeners consider the plant to be a problem. When cut at a specific time, the plant produces a red fluid that was intended to be a substitute for indigo dye. But the plant has long outgrown the original intention, and now covers many parts of the riverbank.

Walsh mentioned that while “daffodils are not actually native to the New England area, “ they have become naturalized in the sense that local residents “really enjoy having them here.”

In late April, he said, when the daffodils bloom, there’s not “much happening on the parkway. And [the daffodils] are a nice way to get people back outside after the wintertime. It gives them a reason to come out to the river and walk around. They’re really beautiful.”

Yearly, the Conservancy brings together more than 2,500 volunteers to perform vital maintenance work and build permanent improvements in the parklands— planting bulbs, painting park benches, removing invasive species and trimming brush.

Since 2002, more than 17 ,000 Conservancy volunteers have contributed more than $1 million of donated labor to improve the health, safety, and beauty of the Charles River Parklands.

Get involved To learn more about the Charles River Conservancy, visit www.charlesriverconservancy.org.

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