Marietta in Bloom program launched

Forgive Diane Bruno if she uses flowery language to describe a new effort to beautify Marietta.

“It’s just … a seed of an idea that’s really blossomed,” said the Marietta College first lady about a recently launched program called Marietta in Bloom.

The seed was planted by Frank Christy, president of Christy and Associates, who was impressed by beautiful flowers he saw while traveling in Europe two years ago. While there are some lovely examples of flowers on display in the Pioneer City, Christy thought there might be a way to “kick it up a notch.”

The idea was in his mind for a while, but once he involved Bruno and some master gardener volunteers about a month ago, things really took off. A workday was held Sept. 28 to plant some items around the city sign on Ohio 7 at Market Street, and more plans are in the works.

The group took its name and its eventual planned direction from the national America in Bloom program, inspired in part by the City of Belpre’s participation in the program, which encourages beautification and cleanup projects throughout a city. Belpre’s group improved its rating in its second year of participation and won an award for outstanding achievement in community involvement.

“Now we hope we can duplicate their success,” Christy said.

But full-fledged participation in the national program is still a ways down the road. For now, the volunteers are concentrating on three gateways to the city – on Ohio 7, on Muskingum Drive and along Pike Street at Big Lots, Bruno said. They also want to add to the planters at the Valley Gem lot on Front Street, plant flowers along the River Trail and get residents involved.

Bruno said they’ve approached residents on Front and Third streets and Muskingum Drive about placing pots of daffodils and day lilies at their homes.

“We’re really going for pop and color,” she said.

Marietta in Bloom, which has set up a fund with the Marietta Community Foundation, will provide the flowers and pots and store them during the winter. The residents are asked to maintain the flowers.

In addition, other folks who want to join in can get 20 percent off on the purchase of daffodil bulbs at Apex True Value, Greenleaf Landscaping and Thomson’s Landscaping if they mention Marietta in Bloom, Bruno said.

The group is working in conjunction with the city and volunteers, many of whom have contributed their time, plants and equipment. Others who want to get involved are asked to email or like the group’s Facebook page.

Among the volunteers helping with the effort is Dunham Township resident Tricia Sample, a master gardener who did extensive research on the design and planting of deer- and drought-resistant plants for Belpre in Bloom.

“This was an opportunity to reuse all that effort,” she said.

Daffodils and day lilies are being emphasized for residential planting and decoration for a couple reasons, Sample said.

“They’re easy, inexpensive. They come back year after year with very little effort,” she said.

The day lilies, or hosta in areas where deer aren’t a problem, can be planted with the daffodils to help provide cover when the daffodil blooms turn brown, Sample said.