Flower power

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By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove Some of the Groveport city parks workers with the flowers they grow in the city’s greenhouse, from left to right, are: Ray Shaffer, B. J. Chilcote, John Detty, Mark DiGiando (superintendent), and seasonal parks worker Bill Pennell.
Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
Some of the Groveport city parks workers with the flowers they grow in the city’s greenhouse, from left to right, are: Ray Shaffer, B. J. Chilcote, John Detty, Mark DiGiando (superintendent), and seasonal parks worker Bill Pennell.

This past winter was a rough one. It’s time to plant flowers to chase away the winter blues and the city of Groveport is doing its part to brighten the landscape.

“Our parks department grows our own flowers in our city greenhouse that is located out by the public works building (near Groveport Park),” said Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall. “The plants are then used for all of the plantings we do in the city each year. This saves the city several thousand dollars each year.”

The city built the 18×36 foot greenhouse in 2008 for $5,100 so it could grow and tend to its own flowers that are planted around Groveport rather contract with a private nursery to do the job, which could cost the city up to $15,000 a year, according to city officials.

Groveport city parks employee John Detty said the greenhouse was built by city workers. He said city parks employees tend to the plants in the greenhouse during the February to May growing season.

“When it’s cold out we heat the greenhouse with propane to keep it around 60 to 70 degrees,” said Detty. “When it’s 80 degrees outside the sunlight can raise the temperature up to 110 degrees in the greenhouse.”

Detty said parks workers sometimes have a radio playing music in the greenhouse for the flowers.

“We’ve played country music, rock, soft rock and classical,” said Detty. “The classical didn’t seem to work well because when we played it the flowers grew slower.”

Detty said the greenhouse holds around 8,000 flowers, which includes petunias, begonias, marigolds impatiens, and more. He said city parks workers and volunteers plant the flowers in the Main Street flower pots, around city entryway signs, the Groveport Cemetery, recreation center, aquatic center, municipal building, Heritage Nature Center, parks, and other city facilities.

“Having the greenhouse and planting the flowers around town is a pride thing for the community. It takes about three to four weeks to plant all the flowers,” said Groveport Parks Superintendent Mark DiGiando. “Every year some flowers do not do well, so we save some back in the greenhouse for replanting.”

DiGiando said the city spends about $800 for flowers and seeds from a local nursery to begin each year’s flower crop. He said the city also re-uses the plastic flower plat containers to save money.

Groveport Director of Facilities Management Tom Byrne praised the parks employees for their work with the flowers they grow for the city.

“They do great work,” said Byrne. “They take a lot of pride in how the city looks. They are an enthusiastic and talented group of guys.”

The parks workers include Ray Shaffer, John Detty, B.J. Chilcote, Bill Pennell, Greg Watkins, Jeremy Reeve and Mike Tippie.

Pennell said the volunteers who assist the city workers in planting, watering, weeding, and tending to the flowers are valuable.

“Sometimes, with all the mowing and other park work that needs to be done, we can get busy and fall behind in tending to the flower beds around town, so the volunteers are a big help,” said Pennell.

Individuals or groups interested in volunteering to help with the city’s flower beds and pots may call DiGiando at 836-5301.

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