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Boulevard gardens crop up

By Christina Killion Valdez

ckillion@postbulletin.com

Looking to improve the curb appeal of the neighborhood, the Slatterly Park Neighbors started at the curb.

On Saturday the neighborhood association’s curb appeal committee held a Bloom Day event to encourage residents to plant boulevard gardens.

"I think it will really add to the vibrancy of our neighborhood and its connection to downtown as a key downtown historic neighborhood," said Wayne Flock, president of Slatterly Park Neighbors.

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Boulevard gardens are a fairly new trend in urban gardening, which uses the city land between the sidewalk and the street as a site for flowers and perennials in the summer.

Over the years about a dozen boulevard gardens have cropped up in the Slatterly Park area, including one in front of Flock’s house, which he planted last fall. Another boulevard garden, the one at Dorris Amundson’s house near Bear Creek, helped inspire the event.

"She is a leader of boulevard gardens in the city," Flock said. "Her yard is amazing in the summer."

Yet it takes a special plant to stand up to the snow and salt that winds up in the boulevard each winter. At Saturday’s event, master gardeners helped residents pick the right plants, including trees, and get the right permits to get started. Workshops were also held on front-step planters, window boxes, decorating for all seasons and organic lawn care.

"It may not be viable for everyone to do a boulevard garden," Flock noted. "So we also encourage people to dress up our curb appeal."

Getting started on her own boulevard garden this weekend was Jayne Kleist, who leads the curb appeal committee.

Her goal was to spruce up her yard, which she describes as a blank slate, and show her neighbors that it can be done without much effort. After planting her boulevard garden with lilies, hostas and annuals, it will only need minimal maintenance such as weeding, fertilizing and watering, she said.

Grass doesn’t grow very well there anyway because of a large tree and because of the salt and sand from the road, she said. However, she hopes the idea will grow.

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"Even if we could get a small portion of each block to plant one, it would be so much more welcoming," Kleist said.

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