“My friends and I always wonder what they do to get the flower baskets downtown to bloom so profusely and get so big,” the email from Mandy Wilson said. “They are just petunias, right? We were also curious as to what they do with the baskets when the season is over. We thought maybe you would know.”
No, I didn’t know. So I asked Lise Grato, the executive director of the Albany Downtown Association.
Turns out that the answer to the first question is pretty much what you’d expect: Water and fertilizer. The hanging baskets get watered once a day while they are up, or twice on really hot days. And once a week they get a shot of fertilizer.
As for what happens at the end of the season, which is coming up, Lise had the details: “Hanging Basket Take Down Day is on a Sunday in early to mid-September. This year the baskets are planned to be removed by ADA volunteers on Sunday, Sept. 15, starting at 9 a.m. We are always looking for more volunteers.”
And what about disposal? “The baskets are taken to a private field. The dead flowers and dirt (are) dumped out to mulch. The plastic pots and metal hangers are saved and have been reused for many years.”
I wondered about the costs. And Lise’s response: “With Tom’s Garden Center closing, this spring we worked with Brian Bauman of Bauman’s Farm and Garden in Gervais. They have beautiful baskets as you can see. Their 4th generation family farm was one of Tom’s suppliers, and they work with other cities. We purchased 110 baskets at $58 each, which generously included free delivery. They also pick up the empty pots and hangers earlier in the year.”
These hanging baskets of colorful flora add a huge amout of visual appeal to Albany’s downtown. Many thanks to the ADA for obtaining them each year, and to the people who take care of them every day through the summer months. (hh)