For the past six years, Hillcrest residents have donated their time to sprucing up Twining Park, a triangle park along Pennsylvania Avenue SE owned by the National Park Service. Near the end of May, the Park Service drops off about 50 flats of salvia, marigolds, black-eyed Susans, Shasta lilies, dahlias, and Canna lilies, and residents plant them.

Not this year. The flowers have yet to appear, and when Kathy Chamberlain, vice president of the Hillcrest Community Civic Association, called to find out why, she learned that there weren’t any. Someone was supposed to have ordered them in the fall, and he didn’t. So this past weekend, Chamberlain and a few neighbors dug into their own pockets and scoured the local nurseries for replacements, coming up with five flats of vincas, begonias, and petunias, a far cry from the usual haul. “It’s their park,” Chamberlain says. “They just fell down on the job without any explanation. I honestly don’t think we in Southeast get the attention that the parks on Capitol Hill get.”

Spokesperson Bill Line says the Park Service has no record of anyone calling to inquire about the flowers.

The flower beds are noticeably sparser than previous years, and if more plantings were made this late in the season, fewer would survive. Chamberlain says the neighborhood will probably make the switch to perennials this fall. “Even though they’re not as colorful, they’ll be more permanent and reduce the labor necessary for upkeep,” she says.