Despite a substantial cut to the City of Delta's flower budget, Cindy Valdez, Veronica Pacheco and Lori Timbreza — Delta's "flower girls" — pulled together to create a show-stopping summer display.
Throughout the summer, residents and visitors alike commented on the beautiful flowers gracing Main Street medians, city parks and Bill Heddles Recreation Center.
"Once again first place for the most beautiful main street in small town America goes to Delta, Colorado," Delta resident Ted Britain noted on his Facebook page. His message was accompanied by a series of photos capturing the beauty of yellow calla lilies, lavender impatiens, purple dahlias and dainty white alyssum.
With the first frost of the season last week, the flowers are but a memory. Valdez, Pacheco and Timbreza have begun cleaning up the flowerbeds, sorting bulbs for next spring's planting, and reviewing what worked and what didn't. The coming winter months may be a period of dormancy for green, growing things but not for the active minds of the city's seasonal planters. They'll be laying out next spring's flowerbeds, with a focus on flowers that can stand up to the hot summer sun without losing their vibrant color.
During the winter, Lori Timbreza also hopes to pursue Master Gardener training. A full-time employee of Bill Heddles Recreation Center for six years, she was delighted to take on the task of planting and nurturing the flowerpots and extensive flowerbeds at the rec center.
"Flowers are my passion," she says. At home, her huge yard is filled with annuals and perennials. At this year's Delta County Fair she received 18 blue ribbons for marigolds, snapdragons, dahlias, chrysanthemums and zinnias. An aster from her backyard garden was named the best annual at the fair.
Her passion spills over into the interior of the rec center, where she adds a splash of beauty with silk arrangements and garlands. Last winter recreation center director Wilma Erven recognized Timbreza's talent and asked her to take over the plantings at the rec center.
"Most definitely," was Timbreza's answer and she quickly got to work sketching designs for the spring. When the weather warmed up, she enlisted her husband's help with some rock work around one of the planting areas. Between planting, watering and weeding, Lori supervised the rec center's front desk.
Her help took a great deal of pressure off parks director Paul Suppes and the city's two seasonal planters, Cindy Valdez and Veronica Pacheco, who have seen the budget for flowers cut sharply to balance the city "no frills" budgets of 2010 and 2011.
At the urging of city council members, Suppes and his crew have maintained the most visible displays on Main Street but cut back on smaller flower beds on neighboring streets and in the parks.
Council members like Ed Sisson recognize the value of the floral displays to residents and visitors alike. Sisson recently hosted some guests from Louisiana who declared Delta the "prettiest little town" they'd ever seen.
City manager Joe Kerby agrees that the floral displays "are one of those signature items our community is known for."
"As usual city hall received a number of phone calls and letters expressing gratitude for the wonderful job by the city crews," he said. It's a tradition he plans to continue into the future. In 2012, he hopes to incorporate more seasonal hours into the parks budget to cover landscape design at the new visitor center which is expected to be built next summer. With the construction of the alternate truck route there will also be some opportunities to enhance the north and south intersections with Highway 50. "We want the entrances to Delta to be just as pretty as the medians," he said.
In a letter to the editor several months ago, Delta resident Sara Rapp expressed her appreciation for the flowers.
"The flowers and the flags that the Boy Scouts post on national holidays set our town apart and lift people's spirits," she said.
Veronica Pacheco loves hearing the compliments.
"A lot of people stop to comment on the flowers," she said. Many also ask for tips for their own gardens.
A city employee for about eight years, she learned much of what she knows from Raymond Tetreault, who was Delta's chief gardener for several years. Many of his designs and ideas are the basis for the layouts implemented by Pacheco and Cindy Valdez, who is in her 11th year with the city.
Pacheco oversees the flowers in the city parks; Valdez handles the medians and flowerpots on Main Street from 1st to 11th, as well as two displays on Meeker Street.
"These are my babies," said Valdez as she pulled a hose across the parking lot to a flowerbed on Meeker Street. She was hoping for a killing frost before it came time to clean up the flowerbeds. "I hate taking them out when they're still growing," she explained.
A Master Gardener, Cindy has also taken horticulture classes at Delta-Montrose Technical College. But mostly she's learned by experience. "If you pay attention to plants, they'll tell you what they need," she said.
Despite the smaller budget, both Valdez and Pacheco say they've been very pleased with the results this year — and delighted to know they have the support of the community, the city council and the city manager.
"As long as people enjoy the flowers, that's what counts," Pacheco said.blog comments powered by Disqus