Flowerscape Program

"Thank you for the beautiful flowers this year. I want to let you know that we appreciate you and your awesome crew. We have received compliments from visitors from around the world on the flowers."

- Joe Mazur, President & CEO of International Soap Box Derby (2011-2017)

Year 2016 picture in front of Derby bleachers first in slideshow above


 

Flowerscapes make a great border or focus for travel photos and have been spotted on two travel guides/blogs:

Dang Travelers - http:www.dangtravelers.com/akron-ohio-visit/

Lonely Planet - https://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/great-lakes/ohio/travel-tips-and-articles/under-the-radar-usa-music-murals-and-museums-in-akron-ohio/40625c8c-8a11-5710-a052-1479d2757c30


 

Flowerscape Director

Leah Heiser was named Flowerscape Director in 2016, replacing our 33-year veteran, Polly Kaczmarek. The Alexander Park Flowerscape was dedicated to Polly in 2017. Read about the dedication on our blog. Read about Leah and all of our staff on our About Us page.

View 2018 Flowerscape Pics Facebook.

 

Information on Removal of Flowerscape Sites

Due to the sewer project, the improvements for Route 77 exits and entrances at Broadway, and the Innerbelt project, KAB will be losing the following Flowerscape sites:

  1. North Main Street & Perkins corner Broadway and South
  2. Center and Dart
  3. Broadway and South
  4. State and Dart
  5. Canal Towpath: downtown, between Cedar and Exchange St. Bridges - Lock 1
  6. Howard & Perkins Sts. in front of Innerbelt bar
  7. Broadway across from METRO RTA
  8. URW Memorial on Main St at SummaCare parking lot
  9. Transit way on Cascade Plaza
  10. Mill St islands and medians

Some of these beds may return in different configurations as projects are completed.

 

New Flowerscapes Adorn the City

Two new beds were added for the 2018 season:

  1. Glendale Cemetary, thanks to a grant by The Orr Family Foundation
  2. Highland Square near Mr. Zub's Deli
In addition, the crew took over a previous Adopt-A-Site at Mull Circle due to the bed needing soil maintenance. Due to construction projects, the Mill Street median flower bed was removed this year.
Other sites maintained by Keep Akron Beautiful include: Pedestrian bridge planters, Judy Isroff Park, Alexander's Park (Community-Sponsored Flowerscape), 850 E Market St (Community-Sponsored Flowerscape), and Wallhaven (Community-Sponsored Flowerscape).

 

Sponsor a Flowerscape

Current Flowerscape sites available for sponsorship:

  • W. Exchange St. and Dart (one corner south at Innerbelt)
  • Bartges and Dart median
  • Lower Lock 3
  • Church St near parking deck
  • Cotter Park
  • Gale and Exchange
  • Glendale Steps
  • Triplett at Rotary in front of Christopher Columbus Memorial
  • Historical Marker at Matthews Hotel
  • Main St. near Huntington Bank
  • Mull Ave

 

Become a Flowerscape sponsor or donate toward this city beautification program today!

 

2018 Flowerscape Insights

Throughout the 2018 growing season, we made considerable efforts to use sustainable land management techniques during our beautification process. By adding trees, shrubs, and perennials to our beds, we intend to limit the amount of resources we use to maintain our sites. In addition, adding longevity to our beds through the use of perennials will help with: urban heat reduction, storm water runoff, create habitat for our local wildlife and limit our overall impact on non-target environments.  We have focused on creating beautiful spaces for public observation that serve multiple functions to our community and environment. 

Here are a few of our favorite new plants from our 2018 Flowerscapes:

Annuals        

  • Elephant Ear ‘ Calidora’ 6-10’ tall. Produces arrow-shaped leaves that can get up to 3 feet wide. We had success overwintering these from last year. Partial sun to full sun, these tropical foliage plants add huge impact to containers.
  • Begonia “Dragon Wing” 12-24” tall. Each plant has blooms that are shades of pink, rose, and white. Nice “weeping habit” that works well in ground beds and containers.  Grows well in moist and well -drained soil.  
  • Verbena bonariensis  2-4‘ tall. Attracts pollinators and re-seeds successfully. The wiry branching and small clusters of tiny purple flowers make this annual a must for mass plantings.  

Perennials       

  • Nepeta 1-2’tall. Tiny lavender flowers on silvery foliage produce blooms all summer long.  Attracts pollinators and is a low-maintenance and drought tolerant plant. Great for borders and foundation plantings. 
  • Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ 4-6’ tall. Commonly called switch grass, this native provides full season interest. Its greenish blue foliage has a columnar form and retains its vertical shape throughout the winter.
  • Fothergilla gardenii 2-3’ tall. Small, multi-season shrub with white, bottlebrush-like flowers in spring, blue-green leaves in summer turning a kaleidoscope of color in autumn.

The Flowerscape crew is continuing to experience great success with the reseeding of annuals such as: Rudbeckia, salvia, cleome, and gomphrena in our larger Flowerscapes.

 
Beware that the Downy Mildew problem still exists on the common variety of Impatiens. The Flowerscape crew uses New Guinea Impatiens as a substitute, since it is not susceptible to the disease.

 

History of Flowerscape

Flowerscape began in 1982 when Judy Isroff, KAB's Executive Coordinator, was confident that Akron could emulate Cuyahoga Falls, its neighbor to the North, and managed to convince the KAB Board of Trustees that a similar beautification program was worth pursuing. 

KAB hired a part-time Flowerscape Director and contracted with the Portage Path Mental Health Center for the labor force.  KAB planted approximately 17,250 flowers  and paid a flower bill of $2,020.12. With the direction and assistance of the City Planning Department, the following were the first seven sites to be planted: 

Main Street Planters

South Main Street Median: at Goodrich

West Market Street & Rand:  corner at Innerbelt

Derby Downs

Broadway & South:  triangle near Expressway

Voris & Broadway:  two exits at Expressway exit

Grant Street:  flower beds at Exchange, Wheeler (6 beds) and at Triplett Blvd

 

Throughout the years, the KAB Flowerscape program has grown from these 7 sites and the annual cost of flowers has grown from $2,000 to over $18,000. Since the start of the program in 1982, over 1 million flowers have been planted to beautify the City of Akron!

In 2012, there were KAB Flowerscapes sites on every traffic island, city corner and expressway ramp downtown. In addition, there were floral displays at Alexander Park, Cotter Park, Lock III Park and Judith Bear Isroff Park! The 39 beautification locations in 2012 had over 36,000 plants installed and the most advanced computerized timers controlling the sprinkling systems. The 2013 Flowerscape budget was $140,000 but as the program has become more efficient and professional over the years, the agency has managed to keep the budget stable.

The degree of pride generated by these oases of color is well worth the continued support of the private sector, from which supplemental monies for this public project needs to be raised annually.

It takes a full-time Flowerscape Director months to do landscape plans and place nursery orders. Then, just about the time of our largest community volunteer effort, Clean Up Akron Month-April, our paid Forewoman and 2-person crew are preparing the beds for another successful season of blooming color!

 

Thank you to our Flowerscape Sponsors:

- Akron Beacon Journal provides in-kind sponsorship for the Flowerscape at Lock 3

 

- Akron Children's Hospital sponsors the Flowerscape at E. Exchange and Dart

 

- The Akron Garden Club is sponsoring the  Flowerscape at Cascade Plaza (left of First Merit Bldg)

 

- Akron Community Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape at the Corner of Cedar and Maple Streets

 

-The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation sponsors the Lion Bed by Courthouse.

 

- Dominion sponsors the Flowerscape site located at Civic Mall - Charles Goodyear Park (across from City Hall).

 

- The Lehner Family Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape on Cascade Plaza

 

- Lowe's of Fairlawn sponsors the High St. Flowerscape site between the Akron Art Museum and the John S. Knight Center

 

- The Charles E. and Mabel M. Ritchie Memorial Foundation sponsors the Flowerscape at Grant Street (Large Median)Hardesty Park

 

- The Orr Family Foundation sponsors the Howard & Ridge Street corner Flowerscape (Cuyahoga Valley Railway Station) and the new Glendale Cemetary site

 

Sponsors give $4,000 of support to Keep Akron Beautiful, in order to maintain the Flowerscapes listed. All of the donors are recognized throughout the year on the Flowerscape signs in the respective beds. 

See more about donors on our Giving Page. Become a Keep Akron Beautiful sponsor today.