It takes a lot of work to look beautiful day after day.
Take Edmonds’ hanging flower baskets, for example. You may have noticed that this year’s baskets just went up — 148 of them — and the street corners are all planted. Edmonds has a reputation as a garden city, and that doesn’t happen by accident.
Volunteers from Edmonds Floretum Garden Club and Edmonds in Bloom provide some of the labor, but the city is strongly committed to maintaining a beautiful environment. Debra Dill, the Beautification Program Lead for Edmonds Parks and Recreation Department, describes the process that goes into making the baskets:
- “In December we sit down and design all of the corner parks and the hanging baskets. From there we decide what will be grown by seed, what will come in as a ‘plug’, and what will come in as a ‘finished’ plant, and who we will purchase these items from.
In February and March we order in all soils and other items needed for the Edmonds in Bloom volunteers to transplant the plugs when they arrive. This often involves three to four volunteer events. In each event we have six volunteers who work approximately three hours, and transplant upwards of 2,000-3,000 plants. The plants are grown in the greenhouses and hardened off before planting begins.
- In April:
- One week before the hanging basket volunteer event, we do a final push to move all of the plants out of the greenhouses to make room for the baskets.
- We purchase all of the supplies needed for the soil mix.
- To mix the soil:
- It takes a minimum of three crew members: One to operate the loader to mix the soil together and two, with shovels, to keep the edges of the soil from creeping out too far. The two with the shovels work to move the edge of the pile into the center for the loader to do its work well.
Once the soil is mixed, we fill each basket liner and store them nearby for the volunteer event. (We cover them with a tarp to keep them dry.)
- This process takes four to six hours from start to finish.
- The day before the event, we gather the tables, buckets, trays, and extra tools. We gather the baskets plants onto racks for easy access and draw up the planting diagram.
- The day of, Floretum Garden Club volunteers plant the baskets (which saves us three days’ worth of work!), the baskets are then placed in the greenhouses and watered. From there they will be watched over and allowed to grow until the end of May.
- In May we bring them out of the greenhouses and place them into the wooden outer baskets. This allows the plants to harden off as well as it gives us a chance to give them one last grooming before they are hung downtown.
- The baskets are hung the first week of June. It takes of team of six to seven crew members to get the baskets hung. We start at around 4-5 a.m. in the morning to make sure we are out of the downtown area before it becomes too busy.
June – September: The baskets are watered two to three times a week, depending on the weather and the baskets needs. We water them with a fertilizer at half the recommended rate every time we water. The baskets are also given thorough grooming at least once, sometimes twice, during the summer months.
- We try to keep the baskets up as long as possible, but they generally come down around the third week of September. The Edmonds in Bloom volunteers come in to help us de-pot them and pot up any plants we may want to holdover for use the next year.”
Since 1956, the city has been dressing its downtown area with flower baskets, though in the first few years the flowers were artificial. Now a lot of planning and an army of volunteers contribute to Edmonds’ hanging gardens, making them among the city’s most beautiful features.
— Submitted by the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club