ArticleID: 133
Date: 3/20/2002
Written By: Captain Jackson

by Captain Jackson

If you have ever been in Downtown Jackson during the summer months you have noticed the hundred plus flower planters filled with beautiful floral. But have you ever wondered who is responsible for this great beauty?

Let`s start with Tom Steiger. He`s the man in charge of The Jackson Forestry Department. What, Jackson has a Forestry Department? Yes, and Tom and the Department work all over the city to help beautify our community, doing everything from beautifying the downtown district to supplying free mulch to residents who can pick it up or will pay to have it delivered. And this annual program planter program is just another project.

But as you may ask, "Doesn`t the planting, weeding and maintenance of so many planters cost the city a great deal of money, especially for flowers that last only a few scant months?" Not really. You see, most of this work is done by volunteers.

Every year The Forestry Department, in conjunction with the Downtown Development Authority, sponsors the Summer Planting Program. This program allows local residents to "adopt" a planter site, plant the flowers and take care of it during the summer season. At that point, all the Forestry Department has to worry about is watering the planters.

And the adopters do take great pride. And as a planter adopter for three years now I can tell you that the majority of the work is really left up to us. If our planter fails, it`s US who look bad. I know my first year I certainly had a little egg on my face.

Even though I tended our plot a couple times a week, the flowers just seemed to die out. When July came, I even replanted my planter with seeds and plants I bought from a local nursery. Granted, it looked better, but I had a lot to learn.

Being an adopter is a lot of work. But the reward is well worth the effort. For example, a placard is placed in "your" planter with your name, along with the type of plant you are handling. And being downtown, many times in front of a local business, you also reward from the many compliments from these business owners.

The annual planning meeting was held at city hall March 19th to decide what plants will be planted in which planters. Also, many people whom have been regular volunteers for years registered for another year. Still, there are a few planters and a number of buckets still open for adoption (with the exception of previous volunteers getting first preference, it`s a "first come, first serve" as to who gets a planter). The application deadline is April 10th at 5:00pm.

In addition to having the honor of taking care of a planter for the summer season, as a volunteer you also receive a DDA t-shirt when you attend the planting ceremony. It takes place in Bucky Harris Park Saturday, May 18th at 9:00am. Refreshments and donuts will also be served.

For more information, or to request your own planter or bucket, contact the Downtown Development Authority at (517) 788-4355.

Copyright 2002, CFC

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