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GCA Medalist Delivers 39,000 Daffodils and Tulips


May 21, 2020

Untermyer Gardens Closed; Flowers Go to COVID-19 Front Line

Untermyer Park and Gardens, Yonkers, New York closed in March with 30,000 daffodils and 9,000 tulips peppering the beds of the 43-acre garden. “If people cannot come to view the blossoming gardens, closed due to COVID-19, give the flowers to the people who need them the most,” said Stephen Byrns, the 2018 GCA Historic Preservation Medalist and president of the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy.

With enthusiastic permission from the City of Yonkers and leaders of Untermyer Park and Gardens, Stephen Byrns and his crew of volunteers donned masks and gloves, kept proper distance on their hands and knees, and cut the blossoms. Six hundred bouquets were arranged in biodegradable paper cups and delivered to two hospitals, two nursing homes, and a residence for the developmentally disabled. “We are told that we were the first garden in the nation to perform this public service,” Byrns noted. Workers from the Parks Department helped by setting up flower arranging stations and lifting heavy trays of flowers onto a large truck, which then traversed the City of Yonkers. 

Recipients lauded the symbolic gifts of “spring and much-needed sunshine” that brightened their days, said Byrns. “The smiles and expressions of joy were heartwarming.”

In addition to the bouquets, a floral snake sculpture designed with hundreds of daffodils was created in the gardens by Sylvia Lukach, floral designer and member of the Garden Club of Irvington-on-Hudson, a GCA club. The sculpture, symbolizing Greek mythology’s god of healing Asclepius, is a reminder that Westchester County has been one of the areas hardest hit by Covid 19.




Photo Credit: 

Left: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Right: Jessica Norman, Untermeyer Park and Gardens



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