I was just starting to wonder when the city was going to get around to filling the tree planters that line the sidewalks when ...voila! The flowers have arrived. The selection of plants isn't exactly awe-inspiring. Instead, there's a lot of the tried and true: petunias, begonias, potato vines. It's hard to go wrong with these plants in a tough, unforgiving, urban environment.
This year, however, there is something distinctly different. The flowers aren't planted IN the planters. They are sitting on top of the planters in lined wire baskets. Those baskets, in turn, are sitting in plastic garden trays. The whole contraption is held in place by a metal frame that wraps itself around the tree trunk. Let me pause here to give you my impressions: Bleechh! Ugh! and Bleechh! This is truly an eyesore.
What were they thinking? Money must be factor: I suppose it's more cost effective to drop off a pre-fab garden display and bolt it into place than to individually address each street planter. Over time, I suppose the plants will fill in and hide the framework. That takes time, though. In the meantime the view is hideous. The plastic trays are no doubt meant to collect rainwater to keep the plant baskets moist. In a city that's been drought-ridden for the past few summers, I say good luck. Even with a normal amount of rainfall, every gardener knows that these types of baskets need extra water. Without some added help, they'll be fried by the end of July. Is there a plan to keep these plants alive?
I don't know if this is a city-wide initiative or a move by the local business improvement group. Whoever is responsible, I suggest a re-think. If beautifying the streetscape is the objective, this is a step in the wrong direction. There is nothing beautiful about this. If saving money is the objective, wouldn't a one-time expense on a planting of hardy perennials be a better choice, one that could provide beautiful blooms for years to come?
Maybe, come August, these planters will prove me wrong. Maybe they will be lush and overflowing with blooms. After all, at just the right distance and just the right angle, they don't look that bad, do they? Yeah, right. "The devil is in the details," goes the saying. The details of these baskets, metal frames and hideous, hideous plastic trays add up to one big mess. Here's my review: awful. Just awful.
What do you think?