A GROWING CONCERN: Do your part for ‘Flower Peninsula USA'

SO, WITH THE sun coming out and temperatures on the rise, time for my annual plea about hanging baskets and window boxes.

This is the one thing I ask of you: Decorate your home, business, church and public spot with a hanging basket or two.

In every class I teach, every seminar I conduct and each tour I lead, I always push people to put up a lovely hanging basket or two or three.

If we could achieve 60 percent or more of homes, businesses and parks displaying baskets and flower boxes, we will easily attain the status of “Flower Peninsula USA.”

But I’ve misled you. There are five things I must ask of you, not one.

While my flowering plan is bigger than I led you to believe, I know in my heart of hearts that this simple five-step program will achieve for us national recognition as Flower Peninsula USA.

1. Plant spring bulbs.

Plant some spring bulbs, then plant hundreds more — every year. Order them now.

How can anyone not appreciate all those magnificent blooms we’ve seen for months?

The longevity of these flowers is the reason they are a must-plant.

In no other location, including the Netherlands, are the temperatures so perfectly aligned to produce spring bulb-type flowers.

On the North Olympic Peninsula, individual tulips, daffodils and crocus flowers last for five to seven weeks — unbeatable. And bulbs just get better with age.

2. Plant and display baskets and boxes.

The charm, personality, focal appeal and mood containerized plantings offer are unsurpassed in any other form of flowers and with Peninsula weather, container plantings last until November or December and don’t suffer heat stress. So please go get some more.

3. Plant dahlias.

Dahlias are the most perfect flowering plant there is.

Being a bulb-type plant (tuber), dahlias are another plant that adores the Peninsula’s weather.

Each day they grow, dahlias get better. By September, October and November, the dahlia is blooming plant supreme.

Dahlias offer you unsurpassed color well into fall and have no equal in the cut flower world.

As a cut flower, dahlias last in the house for 10 days to 2 weeks.

They are available in any plant and flower size or color, and are produced locally on many dahlia farms.

4. Plant a fall colored tree every year.

Topography and weather are our friends when it comes to fall foliage. Because heat does not shatter or brown the leaves, they can last for a few weeks, not a few days as in New England.

Just picture a mountainside covered in color.

And finally, many people admire fall color as do folks who adore spring flowers (think tourism).

5. Hang Christmas lights.

Granted, I’m not talking about plants, but lights provide a creative, colorful artistic use of outdoor space.

The best Christmas light shows are at botanical gardens for a reason.

If every home and business celebrates the holiday season with bright art, people will flock from far and wide to see our show.

I feel so much better now that I’ve told you the truth, I think I’ll go buy some more dahlias.

And please remember ... stay well all!


Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email news@peninsulanews.us (subject line: Andrew May).

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