Here’s what’s blooming in town this week to make your walks more enjoyable
“I wandered lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o’er vales and hills, / When all at once I saw a crowd, / A host, of golden daffodils” begins the poem by William Wordsworth. Most of us know these first lines at least, and many people who memorized the whole poem in school can recite it still. Anyone driving or walking down Lynn Fells Parkway this week will be reminded of this poem as they see the great outburst of golden blossoms growing under the peach trees in Antonio Leo’s garden. He says he “loves to garden” and it shows. Despite the wild rabbits devouring the poppies, he manages to have many interesting plants in bloom through the seasons.
Among the showy spring bulbs now blooming is Dutch hyacinth – often grown indoors and kept on a table at nose level for its fragrance. As with many scents, however, while some people love it others find it overpowering. Dutch hyacinths are usually pink, purple or white, but they can also be found in burgundy wine tones and the pale yellow ‘City of Haarlem.’ Also known as oriental hyacinths since the species originated in the Near East, they are sometimes confused with grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) or wood hyacinths (Endymion hispanicus, also known as Scilla hispanicus), which are not as strongly scented.
With Arbor Day coming up on the last Friday in April, Saugus has once again been awarded Tree City USA status. Saugus Tree Committee Chairman Nancy Prag says, “I am so proud that Saugus is a Tree City community. We are celebrating 23 years. There are currently 3676 cities and towns across the country that are Tree City communities. Over 749,600 trees have been planted since its inception.
“For our community to receive annual Tree City recognition we have to meet the four overarching standards. They include maintaining a tree board or department, which we do through The Saugus Tree Committee. We are a town appointed volunteer board. The town must have a community tree ordinance in place, such as our Shade Tree By Law, which means no one can cut or damage a town tree, and the town must spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry projects and must celebrate Arbor Day.
“This year as Arbor Day approaches we will assess all the trees planted the past few years, and fertilize and prune any as necessary. Joyce Rodenheiser will be reading and/or making a craft with the children at the Saugus Public Library and we are ordering saplings to plant at the tree farm.
“We do get calls from people looking to remove or trim trees, but our focus is to plant new replacement trees. Trees are so important to our town both for the health they bring to us and of course the beauty to enhance our streets and parks too. Planting trees helps reduce the impact of carbon emissions. They clean the air we breathe, reduce erosion and pollution and of course provide homes for many birds and small mammals.
“I always wish we could do more, but without equipment it’s sometimes a challenge. We have planted a lot of trees by hand, and received a grant a few years back that allowed us to plant many more trees than usual and have them planted. One of our former Tree Committee members also donated money for us to plant additional trees. The DPW Forestry dept. has been very instrumental over the years helping dig holes and occasionally plant for us. Our group might be small but we have managed to plant a lot of trees around town over the years.”
Editor’s Note: Laura Eisener is a landscape design consultant who helps homeowners with landscape design and plant selection, placement of trees and shrubs, and perennials. She is a member of the Saugus Garden Club and offered to write a series of articles about “what’s blooming in town” shortly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was inspired after seeing so many people taking up walking.