The Village of Cache Creek is moving ahead with its “Adopt a Planter” program, and is calling all green thumbs to help make downtown more attractive by signing up to fill one of the town’s 30 public planters.
The details were outlined at a public meeting on March 10, and Chief Administrative Officer Damian Couture says it was a good discussion.
“We talked about what the program would look like, and heard what people’s interests were. Nothing is firm, but we wanted to let people know what we were thinking, and we all seemed to be on the same page.”
There will be no charge for the program, which would see interested residents and businesses pick one of the village’s planters and make it their own. Couture says that people can take part as individuals or as part of a group, which can include community organizations. There is no formal “theme” for the planters, except for a requirement that each planter contain at least one sunflower, which is the official flower of Cache Creek.
“You don’t have to fill your planter with sunflowers, but you need at least one; after that you can let your creativity flourish.” Couture says that people can plant flowers that will attract butterflies, or grow tomatoes, or do anything else they want, as long as what they’re planting is legal.
The village crew will be refreshing the topsoil in all the planters, and making sure that the irrigation to each one is working. Most have sprayers, and Couture says that any which need to be replaced will be swapped out for drip lines, which are more efficient.
While the irrigation system means most people will not have to worry about watering their planters, Couture notes that there are a few that don’t, and can’t, have irrigation lines. “They’ve already been adopted by local groups that know about that circumstance. All the other planters people would be taking on are good to go and have irrigation.”
Anyone adopting a planter will be responsible for purchasing the plants they need, but Couture says the village wants to make sure that the program is an accessible activity. To that end, anyone adopting a planter will be reimbursed a flat rate (to be determined, but probably around $100) once they have finished planting. The reimbursement will be in the form of a gift card valid at one of the three local businesses that sell plants: Horstings, Desert Hills, and Ashcroft Home Hardware.
Once the planters are filled, plaques will be put on each one to show who has adopted it. “That way people really get ownership of it,” says Couture, adding that people will be asked to weed their planters as needed throughout the season.
“We’re thinking that in mid- to late-August we’ll get in some celebrity judges and pick the best planter(s) for the year, with prizes. We’d also like to have a get-together with all the people who volunteered their time.”
The plan is to start small this year and get bigger and bigger as time goes by.
“We’re hoping that the planters will become a multi-year project and people will keep doing it. If someone adopts one this year they’ll get first rights to that same planter next year. We’d like to create an online ‘planter map’ so people can see where the planters are and who did what, and maybe down the line have a walking tour.”
The plans are still being formalized, and will be announced in early April, but anyone who is interested in taking part can leave their name, email, and phone number with the village office now by dropping by, emailing email@example.com, or calling (250) 457-6237. You can also visit https://cachecreek.ca/adopt-a-planter for details and to sign up.
“We’re not assigning planters just yet. You can specify one right now if you want, but it’s not guaranteed. At the moment we’re going with one planter per person or group, but in the event we don’t have them all spoken for we’ll reach out to people who have expressed interest in multiple planters.”
Couture says that the feedback on the initiative has been very positive.
“People are very happy to see this change, and it seems to have a lot of energy. There have been lots of positive comments and feedback on Facebook, and a lot of businesses want to take ownership.
“We did a survey to see what questions people wanted answered, and one comment was that it’s great to see something happening downtown, as we want to clean it up. This is just the first step, but we hope it will be a successful one.”