Flowers are a large part of Parks Operations during the summer months. There are close to 100 flowerbeds across Grande Prairie that are tilled, amended, planted, watered, fertilized and weeded by Parks staff. In addition to flowerbeds, they also care for 250 hanging baskets and 40 barrel planters. All flowerbeds, baskets and barrels are carefully designed to ensure plant health, vigour and aesthetics.
Hanging Baskets and Barrels
In mid June, Parks staff hang baskets on light posts at the Coke Centre, Crystal Centre, City Hall and throughout downtown and Jubilee Park. Wooden barrels are also planted in early June. Baskets and barrels are watered and fertilized in the early morning throughout the summer to keep them looking beautiful. A truck carrying approximately 2200 litres of water is used to water each basket with a mounted boom sprayer. Every basket is monitored for vigour, appearance, pests and diseases. The baskets and barrels remain out until mid September. The flowers and potting soil are then removed and composted.
Annual flowers are planted as soon as the risk of frost is past and summer crews start work. With over 25,000 flowers planted every year, these beds take almost one month to prepare and plant. Many flowerbeds also contain perennials and shrubs, which require additional care throughout the year.
Watering and Fertilizing
Parks Operations uses specially designed water trucks to water all City flowerbeds. Due to the delicate nature and growing requirements of these plants, they require regular watering and fertilizing, even in the rain at times! The flowers are watered with a root inducing and bloom boosting fertilizer until mid-summer and then switched to a nutrient balanced fertilizer. This watering system helps the flowers to grow, bloom and remain healthy right until frost.
As every gardener knows, weeds love a well-fertilized flowerbed too. Parks staff spend time every week ensuring flowerbeds are kept weed-free and beautiful. Planting the flowers close together helps choke out weeds and emphasizes colour and shape in the beds. It also helps keep the flower roots cool and moist. Flowerbeds are maintained until early September. Once the flowers are removed from the beds, they are then composted.