Ishpeming Beautification: A Horticultural Movement

By Linda S. Andriacchi, Advanced Master Gardener

This movement began in 2014. Our mission is to beautify the gardens of the City of Ishpeming; to encourage community involvement by inspiring them to create gardens in their yards; to include all business areas with hanging baskets; to increase tourism by welcoming all coming to our city and to encourage business to locate in our city.

During that first year, we revitalized all the gardens in the City of Ishpeming.  We cleaned up the beds and added compost/mulch to them. We started to overhaul the corner garden at Lake Bancroft by taking out the landscape fabric and overgrown plantings and weeds.  We elevated the bed with landscape blocks to discourage people from walking through the plantings.  We added more hanging baskets to the downtown area by placing 55 baskets on Division Street and Main Street.  This is an upgrade from previous years where there were only 13 hanging baskets on Main Street.  We had difficulty with the watering process so we were looking into a better way to take care of the baskets.

In 2015 we recruited volunteers and assigned certain beds to those volunteers. They were to take care of their designated beds as if they were their own.  This created pride in their work and made them committed to their projects.  We added more hanging baskets to the downtown area hanging up a total of 67 baskets.  We purchased a large container for City Hall and also made a down payment on new hanging basket containers that were to cut down on the watering time.  All of this is done on a very limited budget.

In 2016 we hung up 66 16” baskets and 5 23” baskets. The baskets were custom grown for us.  These are the newself-watering containers so we were only supposed to have to water twice a week instead of every day and once on the weekend.  Watering still continued to be a problem so we decided that the beautification committee would hire their own person the next year to work directly under my direction, not under the DPW’s as in previous years.

The volunteers continued to work on their requisite beds taking pride in their projects.

In 2017 we hung up 66 16” baskets and 11 23” baskets.  We hired a high school student to water our baskets and help to maintain beds that have no volunteers attending them.  Our high school student still had difficulty watering the hanging baskets.  She abruptly quit and left without anyone to water the baskets so the Ishpeming City Manager and I started watering the containers after our regular work hours.  While taking over the watering process, sending emails to the manufacturer of the containers themselves, we learned how to correct the problem and now have amazingly beautiful hanging baskets throughout the city.

We hired a disabled veteran to takeover the watering and general maintenance work.  We have beautiful hanging baskets to go along with the gardens in the city.  We have received many compliments on the baskets which in turn is inspiring City residents to create beauty in their own gardens. We also started educating our volunteers with a tour through the Wastewater Treatment Plant that creates an excellent compost/mulch that we use in many of our gardens.  We plan on giving additional seminars on gardening once the actual gardening season ends.

In 2018 we look forward to adding more hanging baskets to our City, to recruiting more volunteers and to create a new raised garden at the west entrance to our City.

Gardening truly brings us all together – people who may never know each other work together gardening, learning and providing beauty for everyone to enjoy -

 getting ready to hang some baskets

getting ready to hang some baskets

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 garden at city hall

garden at city hall

 garden at city hall

garden at city hall

 maintained by a master gardener

maintained by a master gardener

 the rotary club is on board with the program--purchasing and planting lilacs

the rotary club is on board with the program--purchasing and planting lilacs

 volunteers at the wastewater treatment plant

volunteers at the wastewater treatment plant

 more beds maintained by master gardeners

more beds maintained by master gardeners