Flowerscape Notes II: Planting and Maintenance

by Cindy Pantea

Flowerscape Cotter Park

Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape at E Market and Buchtel’s Cotter Park location

Welcome back to part two of Flowerscape Notes, which are tips based on the long-time expertise of retired Flowerscape Director Polly Kaczmarek. We hope yesterday’s blog helped with choosing flowers for your garden

The following suggestions have to do with planting and maintenance:

Deadheading and Weeding

Removing the dead flowers from your perennials (called deadheading) is necessary to keep your flowers in continuous bloom throughout the season. Some particular flowers that need deadheading are Ageratum, Marigold, and Cannas.

Obviously, weeding is necessary task for keeping beds beautiful. Polly says to remember that hoeing is not the same as weeding. You need to pull the weeds from the roots. She also suggests not putting weeds in your compost pile due to weed seeds that may contaminate your composting soil with weeds you don’t want.

Mulch is not Weed Control

Adding mulch to your flower bed is not a good source of weed control and can actually prohibit your flowers from spreading properly.

Side Note: Flowerscape Director, Leah Heiser, suggests an alternative to suppressing weeds, which is a product called Sweet Peet. Unlike mulch, Sweet Peet will not rob your soil of necessary nutrients, instead this organic materials adds them. Leah said that even if your bed is full of clay soil, a few years’ worth of Sweet Peet applications can improve your soil! The only con is that it is expensive, but yet may be well worth the cost, so shop around for best pricing.

Be a Careful Bed Planner

This one is especially necessary for our Adopt-A-Site volunteers but could be applicable to all. When planning your bed, be cognizant of roadways and signs. Flowers that grow tall, like Cannas for example, can cover entryway signage or block the views of drivers.

Downy Mildew Still Around

It seems that Downy Mildew on Impatiens plants can be controlled in greenhouses, so it is still being sold in stores. But beware, these Impatiens will likely breed the Downey Mildew fungus and affect your garden and even surrounding beds up to 8 miles!

Polly says that there is an alternative, which is the New Guinea Impatiens. New Guinea Impatiens have larger flowers and are doing well in the Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscapes.

Planting and Watering

Polly suggests watering your flowers well before planting, while still in the container. When ready to plant, remember to loosen the root balls so the plants will be able to take hold of the ground and spread out. Once planted, water again. Watch your plants closely one to three weeks after planting (they will need to be watered more often when they are newly planted).

Once your flowers are established, water every once or twice a week. Investing in a sprinkler system is best.

Here’s to a blooming 2016!

Water, Climate and Health Equity Projects Awarded by Keep Akron Beautiful at Yearly Science Fair

by Cindy Pantea, KAB Staff/Member, Greenprint for Akron-The Summit of Sustainability Committee

It was a fantastic Saturday on January 30, as hundreds of students from Akron Public Schools (APS) showcased their newfound knowledge through research and scientific experimentation at the Science, Math and Technology (SMT) Expo held at North High School.

Keep Akron Beautiful/Greenprint for Akron once again had the pleasure being a sponsor judge for the event. This sponsorship allows our organization to send volunteer judges to select three winning projects within the particular criteria of our choosing. To be eligible for the KAB/Greenprint awards, the projects must fall within the Smart Goals from the 2009 Greenprint for Akron Sustainability Plan.

This is my second year for judging the event. Lending their expertise along with me were (Head Judge) Carl Safreed, P.E. of Canton City Health Department’s Air Pollution Control Division and Kevin Lockett of Lockett Media, who substitute teaches periodically for APS, serves on the KAB Board, and is a member of Greenprint for Akron-Summit of Sustainability Committee.

Winners of the Keep Akron Beautiful-Greenprint for Akron Awards

Students had amazing projects, which made it difficult to come to a final decision. After discussion, the judges awarded the three cash prizes of $250, $100, and $50, respectively, to:

Jackson Tankersley, a 10th grade student at National Inventors Hall of Fame (S.T.E.M. Learning), winner of $250, for his project: The Bactericidal Effect of Green Coconut Water on E. Coli-Contaminated Drinking Water.

green coconut water experimentUnder the instruction of Coach Hanna, Jackson chose to test the antibacterial properties of coconut water, from young green coconuts, to purify drinking water contaminated with E. coli. He did find success with his experiment in the amount of liquid he tested. Meanwhile the knowledge he gained throughout his research, as well as his graphs and overall neat appearance of his board, was impressive.

James Tassiello, a 7th grader from Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, winner of $100, for his project: Will Water Level Rise From Heat?

global warming and salt water

Under the advisement of Coach Lattimer, James tested the effects of heat on salt versus unsalted water to determine if salt water rises from heat alone. The project was chosen by the 7th grader because of the focus of global warming, its effect on our oceans, and the possibility of losing coastal land due to rising waters. Another well put-together project.

Diamond Jones and Gabe Shope, an 11th and 12th grader, respectively, were the team from North High School sharing a $50 check for their project: Love Your Lunch
Space: A Sanitation Station for the Cafeteria

social sustainability science fair project

With support form Coach Dine, this dynamic duo tackled an in-school challenge that fell under the area of social sustainability. The project, actually in the area of engineering design, focused on health equity and general well-being of North HS students and staff. The team built a wooden box to hold hand cleaning materials and placed it within close proximity to litter containers. The placement of the box worked to create efficiency for students cleaning up after their lunch, tackling the problems of easy hand sanitizing and in-house litter.

These students were among a host of those with environment-related projects that showed excellent work. We invite you to visit the 60th Annual SMT Expo album on our Facebook page to view more respectable projects, ranging from natural alternate energy uses to insulating the ice caps.

Read about last year’s Keep Akron Beautiful/Greenprint for Akron SMT Expo winners:

CSO Runoff Projects Win Prizes From Greenprint Akron at APS SMT Expo