More flower power for Main Street

RANGELY I It is almost that time of year again when the Town of Rangely starts to beautify Main Street. 

The 150 flower planters that line the street will soon be filled with a beautiful design of plants that Rangely Code Enforcement officer, White River Village manager/liquor licensing agent, and horticulturist/arborist Janet Miller cleverly designed herself. Her labor of love is more difficult than many think. The process starts in January when she decides what design and flowers will be used. An order for the flowers and pots are placed around the end of February. They are planted the last weekend of April. 
The Rangely Community Gardens, community members, and other volunteer organizations like 4-H and Rangely school groups help in this giant undertaking. Danielle Cooper smokes a pork roast and they provide a meal to the volunteers. Hundreds of four- and six-packs of plants are planted into 150 pots and depending on the number of volunteers each year it usually takes around three hours to complete the plantings. Planting is just the beginning to ensure that the plants are off to their best start, growing healthy by the time they are transplanted outside into their final homes on Main Street.  
The pots stay in the cozy greenhouse at the Rangely Community Gardens until they are ready for their new homes.
“It is a group effort to take care of the growing plants,” Miller said. Because of unpredictable Colorado weather, the sides of the greenhouse must be opened up during the hot days and closed at night to ensure protection from the nightly frosts in April and May. The greenhouse is equipped with a propane heater for the coldest spring nights. 
Sadie Stewart will be assisting Miller again this year in tending to the plants before they are ready to leave. Each day someone spends time with the growing plants watering and “deadheading,” which is the process of pinching or cutting off the flower stem just above the first set of full, healthy leaves. 
This week the pots will all be treated with a slow- or time-release fertilizer that release nutrients slowly over time to deliver an ongoing supply of nutrition to the plants. Slow-release fertilizers are less likely to burn plants than quick-release products. 
The week before Memorial Day is when the pots go out on display on Main Street. Jeff LeBleu and his crew at the Town of Rangely Public Works Department helps to accomplish this task. From there the plants are tended to daily by two employees dedicated to taking care of the flower pots, flower beds and trees that line Main Street. It takes six to eight hours per day, seven days per week during the summer to water, deadhead, provide insect control and add fertilizer to the beautiful displays once per week in their water. 

By ROXIE FROMANG
Special to the Herald Times

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