Ironton In Bloom planting ‘seeds’ for spring

Published 10:15 am Friday, February 10, 2012

If you doubt the importance of flora in our town, take a cruise through the streets of our fair city right now.

I think of January and February as a time when all the warts show. Even discreet piles of belongings around residences and businesses are bared for all to see without the softening cover of summer green.

Privacy is compromised as the trees and shrubs that often make our backyards secret havens from the outside world are now bare and ugly.

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We can clearly see not only the warts on our own property, but the neighbors’ as well.

In my yard I cringe as the strategically placed shrub I planted now fails to cover several runs of silver paint on my pristine white siding, an accident from my painting the wire fence close by several years back.

The Knock-Out rose bushes and other shrubs and supported vines I planted against the house to make its tall, skinniness less apparent don’t do their job these winter months.

The downtown streets without their flowering pots and hanging baskets look bare and less inviting.

Ironton in Bloom members have taken advantage of these two months to walk the streets, making record of the pots, baskets, and plantings we already have, and, especially, what else we can do to make our town beautiful come summer.

Flower color selections have taken place, orders have been sent, and new ideas are being discussed. For example, to try potted trees such as the beautiful flowering hydrangea tree in larger bare places.

Floral experts such as Ann Bonner of the State Forestry Service have visited and given us expert advice on how to trim and care for the plantings we already have.

Seminars have been arranged to make our members, city workers, and the general citizenry more aware of plants that are invasive and could spread and cause irreparable harm, and what plantings need the least maintenance to keep costs down.

The next seminar on composting is April 3 at Ohio University Southern.

A Nature Garden on the medical facility property at the mouth of Route 141, featuring only plants native to our area and an easily accessible walk through them is quickly becoming a reality, with the cooperation of several organizations that partner with Ironton in Bloom on a regular basis.

We have applied for grants to extend our beautification projects and planned fundraisers to help with the cost.

We have received donations already that not only help financially, but tell us that you, our neighbors, like what we are doing.

We are inspired by your kind notes, and heartened by the enthusiasm expressed by many, especially Ironton business owners who reap the most benefit from the beautification of downtown streets.

These owners express to us their pleasure that city workers are letting the trees grow larger to attract customers to our shaded, and thus more welcoming, streets.

One major project we are feverishly working to complete, is our OPT (Opportunity, Partnership, Teamwork) program.

This will give potential donors such as corporations, businesses, and individuals an exact accounting of how IIB funds are spent as well as options suggesting how they can help with funding as they are able.

We are really hoping this will eliminate IIB members having to spend the majority of our time worrying about funding and allow us to roll up our sleeves, get out there and do more of the physical labor that we enjoy and that makes Ironton shine.

Come join us!


Judy Sanders is an Ironton resident and a volunteer with the Ironton In Bloom organization.