At a recent GPHA (Gateway Professional Horticulturist Association) meeting, Jesse Gilbertson, who is the Horticulture Director for U City in Bloom, talked to us about what the group has been doing for the last thirty years. If he does this again, I’d encourage you to attend. It’s a great program for groups trying to put in gardens for a city. Here are a few notes from that presentation.
- Mission Statement – Our mission is to enhance and beautify our community through public gardens, community partnerships, citizen involvement and environmental education.
- 114 containers – 76 hanging baskets, 8 school properties, 115 – garden beds and 64 gardens -some big some small.
- It’s a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
- He doesn’t put in any new garden without a water source. Find money to get irrigation – at least a spigot.
- On some of the front beds, they are all annuals. “Eyecandy.”
- Depending on the bed, he uses a mix of annuals, perennials, cultivars, natives etc. He gets some criticism for using some non-native plants.
- Recommends the book – Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape by Lynden Miller (Tom has this book.)
- Talks about developing wildlife corridors.
- They do have a water “truck” to water containers.
- They work with Forestry and Parks Department and ask for help when needed.
- Raising Money is a big part of what they do.
- Plant Sales – they get plants from residents gardens and re-pot them up for sale.
- Garden Tour
- Donations and Grants
- Ask for free plants from nursery.
- He also asks June Hutson – MoBot for divisions of certain plants.
- Some money from the city and the school district.
- They have about 200 volunteers all together – 12 to 15 which volunteer on a regular basis in the beds. They also look for volunteer groups – companies?
- Total revenue is about $160,000.
- Have signs on all of their beds.
- They do have events in some of their gardens with other organizations.
- They don’t use Preen or landscape fabric.
- Median – they put in water lines/irrigation, but have to watch for not blocking car sight lines.
- They try to create a Bouquet theme – lots of different flowers and color.
- He went through a list of plants that he likes – here is the link from his blog. http://www.ucityinbloom.org/annual-appeal-jesses-favorites/
- He uses wholesale plant sources
He also use local nurseries.
- He uses a lot of Calamentha nepeta – catnip.
- They use a lot of Hardy Hibiscus.
- New England Aster – October Skies
- They send out a paper newsletter every year and also use a lot of social media.