“I think our displays this year are on par with many other cities that do the same thing — up to and including Fairhope, Ala.,” said Mayor Sonny Posey.
In February, Jasper officials started growing flowers in the city’s greenhouse under the supervision of local horticulturist, Mary Beth Musgrove.
After looking at the city’s flower baskets, Musgrove convinced city leaders to replace the existing planters with Bloom Masters, which have holes that allow flowers to grow from the sides and the bottom. The old baskets only allowed plants to grow from the top.
Musgrove, who is working part-time for the city, also designed a way of watering the plants that extends the life of the flowers. Each of the baskets now have a piece of PVC pipe with slits cut into it. This allows the water to disperse evenly to all the plants.
Musgrove said, to her knowledge, no one else is using that type of watering system.
Because of Musgrove’s invention, Posey said city workers are able to water the plants less. Unless temperatures are exceedingly hot, the flowers only need water every other day. With the old plant system, workers were sometimes watering the plants twice a day.
Musgrove said the new design has accomplished what city leaders were hoping for.
“Given the heat and humidity we have in the South, they’re the best that I’ve seen anywhere,” she said.
She also said that workers with the City of Jasper deserve much of the credit for the condition of the flowers.
“They’re the ones getting up at five in the morning to water them,” she said. “Without them we certainly couldn’t do it.”
Mugrove said the effort to replace the flower baskets was led by Posey and former Mayor Don Goetz who saw similar arrangements in a town in Wisconsin.
Joe Matthews, city engineer and public works director, said the city spent $6,000 on the flowers this year, compared to $9,000 last year. He said the city saved money by not buying the flowers from a third party.
He also said the city should see even more savings next year, because the new flower pots could last between five and eight years.