In Frostburg, Maryland, local garden club members design, plant and maintain 60 lamppost baskets along Main Street (U.S. Route 40), filling them with colorful annuals during the growing season and fresh greenery for winter.
These public gardens feature floral fireworks that explode with color throughout summer and are "open" for viewing 24/7.
Garden Design 101
Take a leisurely walk along Main, and you can't help but learn a few tenets of container garden design such as blending plant colors, textures and heights.
- Combining colors. Some basket designs display analogous colors - hues in the same color family - like this combination of red geraniums, burgundy coleus and pink verbena.
A basket brimming with Calibrachoa (trailing petunias) mingles complementary color pairings: purple and apricot, and red and green.
- Contrasting textures. This basket showcases artfully contrasting flower forms. Round-headed geraniums and marigolds play off trumpet-shape petunias and tiny, daisylike bacopa blooms.
- Varying plant height. Some baskets highlight the thriller-filler-spiller concept of container gardening, which mixes plant heights to stage an eye-pleasing show. This combination sprouts thriller coleus, filler salvia and purple verbena; and spiller golden creeping jenny and petunia.
A dark-colored plastic trash bag lines the 24-inch-wide iron baskets. By midsummer, plants tumble over basket edges, hiding basket and liner.
A peat-based potting mix, such as Miracle-Gro potting mix, provides a lightweight footing for plant roots. Soil is replaced every 24 months. Annually, garden club members blend a handful of water-retention polymer into the soil, along with Osmocote slow-release fertilizer. A biweekly dose of liquid bloom booster fertilizer gives baskets over-the-top flowers.
To view the lamppost baskets, follow these directions: From Interstate-68, take exit 34 onto Route 36 north, heading into Frostburg. At the second traffic light turn left onto U.S. Route 40, which is Frostburg's Main Street. Drive west along Main Street. Baskets decorate both sides.
For more information about historic Frostburg, visit www.frostburgcity.com and www.frostburgfirst.org. For information about more local tourism activities, visit www.mdmountainside.com.
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