The Daffodils of Croton-on-Hudson

I grew up in New York City playing on sidewalks and cement school yards amidst a gridded world of city streets and tall buildings. There wasn't much natural beauty around me..

(my elementary school - P.S. 8 Brooklyn)

My salvation was my frequent visits to family friends who lived  in lush, green Westchester County, a 45 minute train ride away from NYC.
Each time my father and I went to the exotic realm of small towns, rock strewn woodlands and country roads, we would hop a train from the venerable Grand Central Terminal. Back then Grand Central was not the restored gem  it is today. But one thing I loved there was the giant and garish Kodak photo billboard photo. It was like a giant LCD screen - something unknown then.

One Easter weekend, as we headed for the train, I looked up to see a giant panoramic photo of a hillside of yellow daffodils. It was breathtaking! I had never seen such a thing before - thousands of yellow flowers popping out of a grassy slope. What were they? where were they? It opened my eyes to a scene I could never even imagined.

So I guess it follows that I, now a Westchester resident, am mad for daffodils, the more the better. These harbingers of Spring shine brightly for a few weeks then slip back to their earthly abode only to return the next year. And I yearn to create hillsides of daffodils much as I saw in that photo.....

So when I had the opportunity years hence, I suggested to my village that we plant the steep hillside along a main road by our high school with thousands of yellow Dutch Master daffodils. They agreed and, under the auspices of the Croton Conservation Advisory Commission, and with the generous help of Chase Bank (thank you Jon Goplerud), citizens came out one October morning and planted 3,000 bulbs.

What a glorious outpouring of volunteers! It was in October 2001 and was our way to remember those who perished on 9-11.

Everyone showed up. We planted Dutch Master, a yellow Trumpet daffodil that is the successor to the 'King Alfred' as an all-around best Daffodil. The bright blooms, with petals drawn forward, are ideal for naturalizing on a hill and flowers in early to midseason.

The result? Well, see for yourself! 

and from that year forward, the good people of Croton on Hudson  have continued to plant their daffodils...this is their latest spot:

(Ice Follies and Dutch Master bloom in Croton 2010)

And by the way, driving one day in spring several years ago, I saw that hillside of daffodils that was in that photo at Grand Central was the Readers' Digest Hill in Pleasantville, NY. What a sight.


  1. such a beautiful post on a concerted effort....bravo and it is soo nice to see this take fruition

  2. That is just inspiring and beautiful! I join noel's "bravo"

  3. How stunningly pretty! And yes, inspirational. Kudos!


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