Communities in Bloom volunteers with the plants for the barrels around Ashcroft

Communities in Bloom volunteers with the plants for the barrels around Ashcroft

CIB pairs with Village for barrel challenge

The barrel challenge at the Village office is just one of the projects Communities in Bloom has been working on.

Andrea Walker

Early May is a very busy time for the members of Ashcroft Communities in Bloom (CiB), as they are out and about in the community engaged in a number of projects.

Thank you to the CiB members and community volunteers who came out to plant all the barrels downtown; they’re such a welcoming and colourful addition to our downtown area. It’s now up to the business owners to ensure that they water the barrels well to ensure lovely blooms throughout the season.

Working with students at several different grade levels has always been a focus for Communities in Bloom. We feel it’s important to help educate students on where their food comes from and how things grow, and to give them hands-on experience in the growing of plants. This past week, CiB members were at Desert Sands Community School to work with Ms Merry’s Grade 4/5 class. Our project with this grade level involves information about the growing of tomatoes and then actual planting of the tomato plants.

The tomatoes are started from seed in Andrea Walker’s greenhouse, and when they get large enough are transplanted into 4” pots, where they develop into plants large enough to transplant. The plants are then taken to the school, where the students are shown how to take them from the small pots and transplant them into one to two gallon pots. The tomatoes are a patio variety, which means they are suited for growth in pots. We choose this type of tomato because not every student lives in a house with a yard where they can grow the plant in the garden. This way they can continue to grow the tomato in the large pot as a patio tomato.

Once the students have repotted the tomatoes they take them home to care for and reap the harvest. In addition to the planting of the tomatoes, the students are given a history lesson by museum curator Kathy Paulos, who tells them how the tomato was such an important part of Ashcroft’s history. Thank you to Desert Hills for their donation of soil and planting pots.

This year, Communities in Bloom and Village of Ashcroft representatives paired up for a “barrel challenge”. This saw a CiB member paired with a Village representative, and the pair had to decide what to plant in their barrel, seven of which are located in front of the Village office and are a focal point for visitors.

Prior to planting, each pair decided on the “theme” for their barrel and went to purchase their plants. On the evening of May 12 all the partners arrived at the Village office with plants in hand. Of course there was much jesting back and forth and some light-hearted ribbing, and then everyone got down to business. The partners worked diligently on their barrels, and the end result was fantastic! The barrels showcase a beautiful selection of flowers, with one fashioned as a fairy garden, while another contains salad fixings and another is a cactus garden. When the Communities in Bloom judges arrive in July we will have them judge the barrels and choose a winner.  Feel free to drop by the Village office for a look!