Delta residents' summertime pride and joy is the citywide display of flora exuberance along Main Street, in the city parks and at the Bill Heddles Recreation Center.
The street corner flower pots overflowing with cascades of sweet potato vine; the rank and file of brilliantly blooming hibiscus and zinnia; the carefully groomed carpets of petunia; and the soaring extremes of richly foliated canna draw admiring compliments from residents and visitors for the masterfully groomed displays and exotic eye appeal.
And though Delta's annual public displays of floral fantasy impress the eye and spirit, and justifiably so, they are not the products of secret horticultural magic worked on rare breeds of specialized plants from far away that a lot of people imagine they are – not at all.
In fact, Delta's beloved floral displays are the product first of a decision to make the financial investment. The basic effort of planting and tending the displays combines focused dedication with everyday techniques that are well known to gardeners everywhere. And all the knowledge and devotion that the city's staff of three floral gardeners bring to their work is applied to the same bulbs and bedding stock that anyone can find at their favorite local nursery here.
The city's stunning flower displays are something that local gardeners can have in their own home gardens, too. In fact, the city's parks and recreation department is careful to make sure its bid list for the next year's bedding stock includes only plants that can be supplied by local area nurseries, and all of the materials are bought locally.
The list of flowering plants being ordered for next year's display is already in the hands of nurserymen preparing their bids. The list includes a lot of very familiar names that even a novice gardener will know.
In addition to bulb plants and perennials like canna, dahlia, and hibiscus, the city's beds and pots will display other flowering plants next year including alyssum, supertunia petunia, easy wave petunia, wave series petunia, shock wave series petunia, trailing petunia, grandiflora petunia, thumbergia, zinnia/double zahara series, zinnia/benarys giant series, impatiens, coleus, guara hybrid stratosphere, sweet potato vine, and hibiscus. They come in dozens of different colors and styles.
From March each year when the stock arrives until Mother's Day weekend when planting begins, the city's parks and rec department shop garage is converted into a nursery warehouse holding thousands of the young plants until the weather warms.
The flowers that will appear in the city's flower displays are planned each year by the gardeners who will plant and tend them. The gardeners are Cindy Valdez, a city employee for 12 years who works on the Main Street displays and the Meeker Street parks; Veronica Pacheco, with the city since 2004, who tends the city parks
displays; and Lori Tembriza, a second year employee who works at Bill Heddles Rec Center and in addition to her other duties takes care of the floral displays there.
Dedication and attention to detail are the true secrets to creating the city's vivid flower gardens. Getting to know each variety, and even each individual plant comes naturally with time. Flowers are sensitive to every change of temperature, every light variation, and every humidity and water condition their environment brings. Learning to respond to what the plant is experiencing is part of the joy in their art that gardeners experience.
There is a learning process involved, and the first try isn't going to produce the same results as the magazine cover that inspired a first effort. Home gardeners have total creative freedom that many of them don't take full advantage of when they get too wrapped up in following complex instructions and advice. Trial and error is the best teacher and a little persistence leads to amazing success.blog comments powered by Disqus