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» Hanging baskets: Questions and answers

HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Hanging baskets: Questions and answers

Written August 27th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

One of the flower baskets in downtown Albany last week: Still looking great.

“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)



20 responses to “Hanging baskets: Questions and answers”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    Perhaps it might prove wiser to use some of the $6300 flower fund to pay that dude who uses his electric cart to clog up the sidewalks while writing parking tickets to little old ladies who happen to park a millimeter or so outside the boundary.

    If he wrote just a half-dozen fewer tickets each day, the Downtown Association members would not have to face so many irate customers. Remember, these are the very same customers that the City, under the august auspices of CARA, have been spending millions to make downtown look like the Good Old Days.

    The City/Downtown Association Marketing Plan reads:
    Step 1) lure the unsuspecting customer downtown.
    Step 2) Let them spend liberally at downtown establishments.
    Step 3) Give them a Parking Ticket while they spend.
    Step 4) Repeat above.

    Marketing genius.

    • Jon says:

      Or, and I know this is crazy talk, people could learn to park.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      And don’t forget, according to the city budget the ADA receives about $46,000 of Albany taxpayer money each year.

      The Mayor and CARA folks are liaisons keeping extra close watch over the pot of money. That should make taxpayers feel real good.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        “That should make taxpayers feel real good.”

        Yes it should! Especially considering the statewide plaudits Albany regularly gets for its financial acumen and transparency!

  2. S.Kloucek says:

    They are pretty but I think the money could be used elsewhere.
    Who choose those ugly lights that were installed downtown. The cost for those
    we all know was through the roof. They would look nice on a narrow cobble stone lane but not draped over the street like they are. It seems Albany downtown government has the power to do what they want without the say so of the people that pay for their ideas and their salaries.

  3. Bob Stalick says:

    The flower baskets are a big plus for our city. Friends from out of town notice them and comment favorably to us. Keep up the good work!

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “It seems Albany downtown government has the power to do what they want without the say so of the people that pay for their ideas and their salaries.”

    It only seems that way if you disagree with their choices. That said, you have the power to change the players at election time – or better yet, get directly involved!!

  5. Jeff Senders says:

    The hanging baskets were conceived by Julie Jackson years ago, then head of the Albany Downtown Association. Unlike overhead hanging lights, parking enforcement, and reverse diagonal parking, the hanging baskets have been a big plus for downtown Albany. The downtown merchants, customers, and tourists love them. A good example of money well spent, and Julie Jackson’s legacy.

  6. Jon says:

    The plants are great they distract from all the the things that need attention in this town , and it is not just little old ladies that don’t know how to park (or drive) in this state!

  7. Mandy Wilson says:

    My friends and I think the baskets are fantastic and a big plus for the downtown area! I hope they continue hanging them every year. Thank you for the information on them. Quit complaining people, look up and enjoy!

  8. Mike says:

    Deep shadow government in Albany, ticketing little old ladies and hanging flowers! Next thing you know, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!
    First of all, there is no such thing as the “Albany downtown government.” There’s the City of Albany, but this isn’t their gig.
    Second, the Albany Downtown Association is not a fully private, non-profit organization: https://albanydowntown.com/about-us/
    As for all the hate over CARA, downtown Albany is a lot nicer than it was 25 years ago, and I’m okay with helping to pay for that.
    And while I’m sure there are some parking tickets handed out in this town, I’ve never actually seen one, but I have witnessed some truly awful parking.

  9. Mike says:

    Meant *not* a government organization, they are a fully private one, of course.

  10. Barb Castillo says:

    The baskets downtown are beautiful! I have never seen anyone “deadhead” them, but they always look so good. Mine sure don’t look like that. Many thanks to the team that puts them up and takes care of them. They bring joy and beauty to downtown.

  11. Dawn says:

    I thought I heard some of the downtown business owners that have the beautiful flowers right outside there business either ‘pay’ or ‘donate’ or ‘contribute ‘ to that flower basket cost but I could be wrong. Yes, that is a lot of money for flowers for a few months that will die but they are absolutely beautiful when they are hanging. I wish we had them throughout Albany not just ‘downtown’.

  12. Loislane says:

    I think it is hilarious what concerns this city and what doesn’t it’s great for “sits and giggles”

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Bingo! Especially since majority of folks whining have zero knowledge of the process nor can be bothered to get involved to find out. Of course, it’s anyone’s right to complain – regardless of the situation or their real knowledge of the problem

      Try this page so you can see how easy it is. Remember, by state law, it *must* be balanced!

      https://albanyor.abalancingact.com/balancingact

  13. JD says:

    I really enjoy the baskets. I don’t know the exact number of taxpayers in the city, but my rough math puts it around a quarter per tax payer per year.
    Like others said – thank you for keeping our city so beautiful with these. I have heard compliments from visitors as well.

  14. Lise Grato says:

    Hasso – Thank you for sharing the flower baskets with your readers. We appreciate all the compliments. I will make sure to share them with our Design Committee, hanging basket volunteers and dedicated watering team. – Lise Grato, Executive Director, Albany Downtown Assoc.

  15. Tricia says:

    The flowers are beautiful and I hope they continue for many more years. Although, I can’t imagine watering 110 baskets daily. Maybe they could cut back on the amount of baskets to save time and money. I can’t believe there are that many baskets hanging. Is their a map of where these baskets are hanging?

  16. P. Hanson says:

    The baskets provide a really classy look for Albany. I would like to see more of them, even if contributions from the community are necessary to make that happen.

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