By JOHN FLAVELL - The Independent
ASHLAND--The best sign that spring is about to really take off is already in full bloom at Ashland’s Central Park.
Every March and April, before any of the 1,100 trees start to sprout leaves, the daffodils in a little corner of the park explode with yellow and white.
And that’s when cameras come out.
Planted in the late 1990s, the field attracts families and friends who want to photograph children — and each other — in the small sea of color that is the park’s daffodil field.
Amy Barker, along with her mother and aunt, brought her 9-week-old daughter, Ava, to the field during a spring-like Wednesday afternoon for the baby’s first outing and photo session. She was posed in every conceivable way for most of the afternoon.
For the third straight year, Jeanette Deel brought her daughter Alannah, 5, to the field for portraits.
“The park is just beautiful when all the daffodils are in bloom and they’re our favorites, anyway,” Deel said. “So, we always get great pictures.”
Marshall University and Ashland student Bryan Lunsford brought Yukari Suzue, an exchange student from Japan, to the field so they could photograph each other making bubbles. Lunsford leaves this weekend for studies in Japan and the two have been spending time together to better learn each other’s languages.
David Hutchinson drove to Maryland and back Tuesday to pick up his 5-year-old granddaughter, Brayden M’Kenzie Hutchinson, for a grandparent visit.
They noticed the daffodils blooming along the interstates through West Virginia and were motivated to spend Wednesday afternoon in Central Park for pictures.
Claudia Rudmann also took advantage of the good weather Wednesday to make pictures of her grandson, Austin David Rudmann, 2, and had him pose in various ways for as long as he could be still.
Rudmann, who returned to Ashland just a couple of years ago following the death of her husband, sees the park with new eyes, since the field wasn’t part of the landscape when she left. The fountain is also new to her and she said her aunt once told her the park is the only natural park in cities along the Ohio River. Her aunt told her the rest are man-made.
Rudmann watches Austin every day and they visit the park whenever weather permits.
“He knows when he wakes up and the sun shines, we’re not going to do anything else but go to the park,” Rudmann said.