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Park District brings the bloom to Grand Forks, N.D., streets

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The Grand Forks Park District began its annual flower-planting season this week. Park District horticulturist Melissa Grafenauer estimates that 25,000 flowers will be planted this year in locations throughout the district. Gra...

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From left, Dylan Labecchia, Davey Cookman and Matt Lekae plant yellow marigolds outside of Kings Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The Grand Forks Park District began its annual flower-planting season this week.

Park District horticulturist Melissa Grafenauer estimates that 25,000 flowers will be planted this year in locations throughout the district. Grafenauer designs a blueprint of each flower bed the November before each planting season, using around 15 flower varieties total.

 

 Grafenauer said each bed usually has three to five flower varieties differing in color, shape and size. In addition to look, she designs the beds based on how well each variety grows in different locations, using variables such as the amount of shade the flower needs or its expected height.

 

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Some commonly used varieties are marigolds and flowering kale, the latter being one of Grafenauer's favorites.

But despite commonly used varieties, she doesn't let bed designs get repetitive.

"I try not to put the same varieties in every year so it doesn't get boring," Grafenauer said.

 

 Along with beds, the Park District uses planters. When drawing up plans for these, Grafenauer includes a tall plant, medium plant and one that flows over the side, such as sweet potato vine. Other varieties she uses in planters include petunias, cannas and ornamental grass.

 

Grafenauer frequently uses cannas in both beds and planters. The canna is a large flowering plant that can grow to be 6 feet tall.

"Sometimes putting in taller things you can't see the weeds as well, so it gives us more time to go in and get all the weeds out," Grafenauer said. "Sometimes bigger is better."

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Grafenauer said plans to plant flowers have been held off this week by rain, as too much rainfall prevents effective tilling of soil.

"We've had issues with rain where it's too wet to plant," Grafenauer said.

A crew of 12 people, 10 of them seasonal employees, works on the planting every year. Many of the seasonal employees are high school students who start planting in June. In addition to this crew's efforts, Grafenauer credits the beauty of the parks to the Parks and Forestry departments.

The Park District spends $8,000 to $10,000 on flowers annually.

Related Topics: FLOWERSNORTH DAKOTA
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