A blooming sugar tyme crabapple tree, with tiny cherry red buds, is sprouting paper hearts today in Brandon Park.
On each of the hearts are written expressions in memory of Hayden Jeter Dorsett, who was born in August and died soon after of a heart defect.
Tender messages such as "Baby Angel, Miss You," decked the tree.
Ady Dorsett, of Williamsport, front left, plays with her son Jackson, 4, by the flowering crabapple tree planted in memory of her son Hayden, who died shortly after birth last year. Behind them family and friends hang laminated hearts with messages from its branches following the annual Arbor Day Ceremony at Brandon Park Friday.
Ady Smith Dorsett, the late-infant's mother, and a former city resident who now lives in northern New Jersey, attended Friday's Arbor Day service at the park, along with about 100 others.
"He was born with half of a heart," she said, as relatives and friends placed the plastic-covered paper hearts of a rainbow of colors onto the young branches.
The crabapple fruit burst forth just in time for the ceremony.
"We love you Hayden," said family gathered around the tree near a pathway close to Packer Street.
"Dr. Cooper would be happy," said Sally Wiegand, chairwoman of the Brandon Park and Shade Tree Commission, as she greeted the crowd at the Kenneth L. Cooper Bandshell.
The late Cooper spent most of his professional life delivering babies, but had a green thumb. Cooper dedicated his life to philanthropic causes, among them contributing to the planting of shade trees and caring for his beloved park.
The day could not have been more picture perfect. The temperature was about 65 degrees and the sky was blue.
The Curtin Jazz Band performed songs, directed by Laura Garside.
Chad Eckert, the city forester, has overseen planting of about 16 trees across the city, said Dave Myers, of the Streets and Parks Department.
Wiegand congratulated the department, led by William C. Wright, for its preparation. The park was clean, the mulch freshly applied and the flowers burst forth with color, thanks, in part, to those from the DuBoistown Garden Club and Mary Richner, who maintains the flower beds.
Maneval's Funeral Home donated tulips, the Brandon Park retirees maintain the gardens at the front entrance and Don Sinclair planted and maintains the rose arbor and holiday decorating of the small arbor along North Road.
Near the Indian statue, known as Woapalanee, along the Market Street entrance to the park, is a flower garden that replicates the constellations in deep space.
Robert Minier, of Hepburn Township, planted the perennials and tended to the garden to give students a chance to visit and learn about astronomy.
The city Recreation Department has a compass that can be borrowed to see what direction is true north and other points on the flower garden.
Minier planted perennials to show the Big and Little dippers and Cassiopeia. Next year, he said, he wants to plant stars of the Southern Cross.