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Bryant Park Gives Away Bags of Flower Bulbs

By  Ben Fractenberg and Paul Lomax | May 7, 2012 6:57pm 

MIDTOWN — Bryant Park wants you to stop and smell the flowers, and then maybe take some home.

The park gave away dozens of bags filed of tulips, hyacinths and daffodil bulbs on Monday as it prepared to change the landscaping for the summer season.

The discarded plants were first spotted in heavy-duty garbage bags that had been placed near the Parks Operations Office at 41 W. 40th St.

By Monday afternoon, they had been moved to the fountain on the west side of the park.

"I think it's a cool idea," said Upper West Side resident Rachel Travis, 28, "Like most people in the city I don't have a garden, so I'm taking them all to my father-in-law in West Hempstead on Long Island."

This is the first time the bulbs from the park were given away.

"In an effort to create seasonal interest and vibrancy, we rotate our annual plants with each changing season," read a post from the department's Bryant Park Blog on May 3. "As the weather turns warm, we are changing out our spring bulbs, and before they are discarded, we thought we'd try something new."

The giveaway was expected to end Monday at around 5 p.m.  Bulbs were also given away in Herald Square, in conjunction with the 34th Street Partnership and may be available Tuesday.

Bryant Parks's Director of Horticulture, Maureen Hackett, recommends drying out the bulbs before planting them or storing them in paper (no plastic) in a cool, dry place until the fall, according to the blog.

You can also store them until next spring if you're planning to plant them in a pot or small container.

"We are going to take as many as we can back home (to Germany)," said German tourists Ingrid Kern, 41, and her daughter Heidi Kern, 19. "That way we will have something from New York forever in our garden."