Summer flowers are peeking over the tops of dozens of cement pots along Main Street. Soon the spring green leaves of potato vines will spill over the edges, annual blooms will pop open and spikes of salvia will reach skyward.
Volunteers carted them in Monday and Tuesday and gently pressed dozens of plants into their showcase rounds. They’ll be back to tend the pots every third Monday until October, when fresh annuals ready to brave the winter will be tucked into their beds.
“We love it. It’s a win-win situation. As long as we have water for the pots and don’t have to carry water, we’re here forever,” said planting co-organizer Carol McRoberts of the Turlock Garden Club.
40 Number of pots planted with flowers and trailing greenery through downtown Turlock
The weary work of carting water back and forth caused a three-year suspension of downtown flower planting that ended in the fall when the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association pitched in to install a drip watering system inside the pots.
Jay De Graff of The Greenery designs the plantings and in partnership with the downtown association provides the plants, said Gina Loretelli, association executive director.
The association will unveil purple and yellow banners above the blooms in May, and flower colors were chosen to coordinate.
29 Number of Turlock Garden Club volunteers planting and tending the pots
“We’re trying to establish a cohesive look for downtown, where the pots match the banners, match the website,” Loretelli said as she stopped by to chat with gardeners on her weekly walk down Main Street. The Downtown City Walk happens at 9 a.m. every Tuesday.
Five teams of garden club members, each in charge of a block of pots, were out planting that morning. McRoberts and Stephanie Telles lead a cadre of 29 volunteers to plant 40 pots on Main Street and adjoining Market Street.
We get tons of compliments on the pots.
Judy Green, Turlock Garden Club volunteer
“We get tons of compliments on the pots,” said Judy Green as she spread out red sunpatiens around Victoria blue salvia plants.
“It’s an act of love,” said Sandy Mann as she pushed a leafy potato vine into soft, damp soil.
The vines will flow over the sides, as will the million bells flowers (calibrachoa). McRoberts calls them her spillers. The stately salvia in the center are the thrillers, and the annuals crowded around them are the fillers, she explained.
Each pot’s plants were chosen to suit its position under the street’s shady trees or out in what can be an unforgiving sun in the Turlock summer. Zinnias and marigolds were the choice for sun-hardy annuals.
Less certain is how the plantings will fare against vandals and smokers, who have been known to use the waist-high pots as ashtrays.
“Please enjoy the plants,” block captain Susan Smith said, adding that she hopes people leave them for others to enjoy as well.