Floral Throughways

Garden Clubs Help Beautify Roads




RoschetzkyProductions/Shutterstock.com

Displays of flowers populating highway meridians, road embankments and adjacent green spaces are often due to the efforts of garden clubs working with state departments of transportation (DOT). Some of these pioneers also inspire other clubs to pursue similar collaborations, often with public support.

“The people of Texas have joined wholeheartedly in what Lady Bird Johnson started,” says Linda Love, roadside beautification chairperson of the Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. (TexasGardenClubs.org), headquartered in Fort Worth. Their committee recognizes planting projects on state and county highways assisted by 320 local clubs encompassing about 10,000 members.

She points to particularly attractive areas along highways 75 in Richardson, plus highways 45 and 35 extending south of Dallas, where concentrations of blue bonnets “look like lakes,” says Love. Other planted native flower patches include Indian paintbrush and gaillardia. She notes that the state prohibits mowing of blue bonnets until after they’ve bloomed and dropped their seeds; picking rules preserve their beauty.

Gail Hill, chair of The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc.’s (ffgc.org) roadside beautification committee, based in Winter Park, reports the Ella P. Wood Paths of Sunshine Award Program that partners with the Florida Wildflower Foundation (FlaWildflowers.org) recognizes the efforts of state DOT maintenance crews in establishing and maintaining roadside wildflowers. “The department has run a strong program for decades,” she says.

Local clubs are encouraged to petition elected officials for new resolutions to develop roadside wildflower projects. “About half of Florida’s counties have passed resolutions, including most recently, Santa Rosa and Escambia counties,” says Hill.

This year, the Raleigh-based The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. (GardenClubOfNC.org), with more than 200 chapters, is working with the state DOT to commemorate the centennial of America’s entry into World War I by planting red poppies and bachelor buttons. Roadside Development Chairperson Pat Cashwell reports that about 1,500 acres of wildflowers, including cosmos, are planted annually on state and county highways each summer and fall, largely funded by the sale of special license plates, with awards to highway department crews. “We get letters from people after they drive through the state commenting on the floral beauty,” she enthuses.

Many garden clubs also establish flowers in parks, schoolyards, church properties and other public locations.


This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Green Surfing

Ecosia, a German Internet search engine, has planted more than 52 million trees in the last 10 years by diverting its advertising revenue to funding new trees worldwide.

Aqua Breakthrough

Chinese scientists have used ultraviolet light and graphitic carbon nitride to purify two and a half gallons of water in one hour.

Far Out

The outermost region of the Earth’s atmosphere has been newly determined to reach out much farther than the moon.

Baby Balking

The U.S. birthrate has been falling steadily, partly because prospective parents are worried about the increased frequency and intensity of storm, drought and wildfires, as well as about growing geopolitical unrest and resource scarcity.

Revamping Recycling

China, a major importer of recycled waste, is rejecting shipments contaminated by greasy pizza boxes, polyethylene-lined disposable coffee cups, and plastics like yogurt cups and butter tubs.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Exclusive Light Therapy Treatment Now Available at Elite Wellness

Elite Wellness offers complete wellness solutions, serving clients and athletes with an extensive list of services and sophisticated treatments. They have recently added NovoTHOR PBM (photobiomodulation) Light Therapy, the application of red and near-infrared light to stimulate tissue repair, increase production of cellular energy, reduce inflammation and reduce pain.

Five Hundred Solar Panels to be Unveiled at GreenRise

A Share Fair and Solar Panel Unveiling of 500 solar panels will take place at the ICA GreenRise building, in Chicago.

Farmers’ Markets Now Supported in Chicago Food Deserts

The USDA is awarding the city of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events grant funds to support Chicago farmers’ markets.

Beginning Shiatsu Certification Course at Zen Shiatsu Chicago

Zen Shiatsu Chicago will offer a Beginning Shiatsu course, which is the perfect choice for those wishing to share the gift of bodywork with friends and family.

The Amazing Benefits of Purple Fruits and Vegetables

The darker fruits and vegetables will cause the body to produce antioxidant anthocyanins, which are resistant to cancer.

Kudos

The SCARCE Focus on Energy Film Festival and red carpet awards ceremony, featuring student-produced short videos in languages other than English about the smart grid and energy efficiency, was held April 23.