A marigold in a paper cup. A fistful of wildflowers in a mason jar. The first daffodils of spring.
Flowers don’t have to be elaborate or complicated to make an impact. And your downtown will be better off if you keep that, and a few other tips and tricks in mind through all the seasons of the year.
Dead or alive
Flowers will look much better along your streetscape if they are living. This seems so obvious yet it is worth saying. To keep your flowers happy and healthy, be sure to build a plan for watering and also consider sun and shade. Many streets have a predominantly sunny side and a shady side. Choose your plants accordingly.
And yes, consider dead materials too. More and more, birch and other branches, pine cones, pumpkins, pine boughs, and gourds are being combined with plants or standing alone in a variety of containers.
Holding it all together
Containers can include planters, window boxes, hanging baskets, and more. Consider the size, shape, color, and material. Does your downtown need a standard for containers or does an eclectic mix suit your streetscape better?
And no matter the type of container, be sure to consider if there is ample room for these new additions. Planters bordering steps are lovely as long as they don’t make using the steps a problem. Likewise, flowering containers are much less welcome if they are occupying too much valuable sidewalk real estate or if you have to duck under their foliage.
Consider unconventional containers like wagons, bicycles, watering troughs, or even actual gardens. Whether you have lots of space or almost no space, find room for green and it will pay dividends.
Keeping it fresh ~ in spring/summer/fall/winter
Take the opportunity to change up your planters regularly. Think of this as an opportunity like putting away your summer clothes and pulling out your beloved autumn ensembles. Do you have seasonal banners? Then why not seasonal plantings for your containers? These changes for each season can become events unto themselves. And revolving planters also keeps the streetscape fresh and provides another point of interest for residents and repeat visitors to return and see what is new.
Program management is an important consideration for any undertaking of this nature. We already discussed the need for watering containers as well as seasonal refreshes. With everything else that is happening in a downtown, this great idea may quickly become daunting ~ unless you enlist help. The precedent has been set in numerous communities. Enlist the help of your local garden club, nursery or outdoor supplier, or just groups of interested citizens from students to retirees. Seek out long term relationships with local employers or churches. Help them let their community pride show!