They’ve done it before, and they’re doing it again: volunteers in Vallejo, California are filling neglected street planters with greenery. This time, they hope the plantings will last.
According to a story published In the Vallejo Times-Herald online, a half dozen volunteers have been planning for months to beautify two blocks of the city’s downtown area by replanting vegetation in the area’s 56 sidewalk planters.
The planters have been part of the downtown district for decades. But some of the large, round containers had been neglected and damaged so the group of volunteers decided to refurbish them and install new plants.
A few of the planters were given makeovers about a decade ago. Local artists, children and other volunteers covered them with mosaics made from with hunks of handmade ceramic tiles, mirrors, shells, and glass jewels. The colorful decorations remain, but the plants installed back then didn’t survive.
New plants were selected for this round, chosen for their ability to stand up to weather, major events and everyday downtown foot traffic.
“We’re trying to beautify the area, as an important element of improving the downtown, and part of that is the planters,” said Vallejo Garden Club President Nancy Piotrowski, a plant expert and 38-year Vallejo resident.
Some of the plants were donated by Color Spot, the nationwide commercial nursery. Others were sold to the group at a discount by American Canyon’s Mid City Nursery. Home Depot gave the group a break on the planting soil.
“We’re planting more rugged, drought-tolerant plants we hope will survive, provide color and drape over the edge of the pots,” volunteer Gregg Goins said. Most of the planters come equipped with a drip irrigation system.
But before anything could be planted, there was weeding, yanking out of dead plant material and installation of some 50 or 60 bags of soil to do. “It’s been pretty labor intensive, and it’s been done four times before,” Goins said.
“We’re creating the hanging gardens of Vallejo,” volunteer Ravi Shankar said. “This is my unofficial garden, and they asked me to come and help.”
Keith Slipper, who moved to the U.S. from England in 1984 and has lived in Vallejo for a couple of years, was impressed but not surprised with the effort.
“Vallejo is going to start booming... it’s inevitable,” he said. “The level of social involvement here is remarkably high, especially compared with other cities. This is a wonderful city, a great place. Everywhere I go, you have people doing stuff like this.”