By Amanda Moses
Every year during the month of October, Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman works with her students to participate in the annual Daffodil Project at the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). This initiative was created by New Yorkers for Parks in 2001, as a living memorial to the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. It is considered one of the largest volunteer efforts in the city. New Yorkers for Parks distributes over 500,000 free daffodil bulbs to various groups and individuals to plant citywide in public spaces as a part of their beautification project.
Since Roytman will not be holding classes at the UGC, she will be filming various segments of her work in the garden and show classes over Zoom how to plant daffodil bulbs. The daffodils must be planted before the first frost (in the winter), and then they will blossom in the spring.
For Roytman’s virtual garden lesson with the Spring Creek After School Program, she will read “That’s Not a Daffodil” by Elizabeth Honey. The story follows a little boy named Tom, who is given a daffodil bulb from his neighbor, Mr. Yilmaz. The little boy couldn’t believe that the brown bulb was actually a daffodil seed. So, Mr. Yilmaz planted it and told Tom “Let’s plant it and see.” This playful tale shows the extent of a child’s imagination. There were parts of the story when Tom dismissed the idea of the bulb being a daffodil and thinks it’s an onion, then a miniature rocket, and finally a golden trumpet. Roytman always asks her students to join in the reading and shout, “That’s not a daffodil,” as the plant slowly grows in the story.
In Roytman’s video, she will show students how she amends the soil using a trowel, ensuring that the dirt is aerated. Then she will use a hand shovel to dig a hole, about six inches deep and four inches apart. Each hole can hold about two to three bulbs. When placing the bulbs into the freshly dug holes, the pointed side of the bulb will be placed upwards while the roots will face downwards. The final step is to cover the bulbs with soil and to water them thoroughly. Students can emulate this process using a planter pot, soil, a daffodil bulb, and water.
Over the winter the bulbs will slowly root, and then when the spring arrives, they will blossom. To help maintain these beautiful flowers, Roytman will trim the stems so that the flowers can bloom again next year.
Photos by Amanda Moses