Leading up to a visit from the America in Bloom judges, Washington’s America in Bloom committee is asking for the public’s help in choosing a city tree, bird and flower.
Five choices for each category were selected by the committee, which includes Dave Wehmeyer, Mayor Sandy Lucy and Sally Bocklage.
Choices for trees include dogwood, river birch, redbud, red maple and bald cypress.
Bird candidates are the cardinal, bluebird, robin, gold finch and hummingbird.
Flower choices include the knockout rose, daylily, black-eyed Susan, red hibiscus and purple cone flower.
Wehmeyer said the committee tried to choose species hardy in Missouri, as well as select species that were easily recognizable and prevalent in the area so that even children can take part in the contest.
“This contest also will serve as a learning tool,” said Bocklage, adding that people can research each of the choices and look at pictures before making their decision.
“I think this program is contagious,” Lucy said. “There has been a major impact on the city.”
People can vote in several ways. Choices can be mailed to Washington in Bloom, P.O. Box 59, Washington, MO 63090; emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or submitted online by visiting the Washington Parks Department website, ci.washington.mo.us, and clicking the “America & Washington in Bloom” link on the left side of the page.
The deadline for voting is Monday, July 9.
The committee provided an update on several AIB projects that are in progress.
A recent fundraiser “Plant Geek Night” at Hillermann Nursery & Florist, Washington, raised $974.31 for ongoing projects. Money was raised through a $5 admission fee and a silent auction. A total of 91 people attended the fundraiser.
The Washington High School FFA provided many plants and flowers for the auction.
Two projects will be completed using those funds.
A butterfly garden will be constructed at the Washington Parks Department office, behind the Bernie Hillermann sign.
“We’re excited about the garden,” said Dunkle, adding that it was something he and Dave (Wehmeyer) talked about when he first started working at the parks department.
“We wanted to add more color to our system. We don’t have a lot of landscaping (in that area),” he said. “This will spruce up the facility and give it a little curb appeal.”
The project will not require any funds from the city.
The other project that will be completed from the geek night is a garden by the time capsule on the west end of Waterworks Antiques, near the riverfront.
With the remaining funds, Wehmeyer hopes to get several hibiscus plants planted by the river.
Both projects and the hibiscus planting should be completed before the judges visit. Other projects are in the works, but awaiting funding, Wehmeyer said.
To help add color to the Downtown Washington area when the judges tour, potted plants are available for Downtown businesses. A total of 25 pots with red and white flowers are available.
The Washington FFA grew the flowers and donated them to the committee. YMCA campers helped pot the plants.
Pots will be delivered the first week of July.
The committee also set several “Wear Your Bloomin’ Shirt” days through the summer to promote morale in the city.
Those dates are June 27, July 17 and Aug. 16.
Shirts are available for sale at the engineers department at Washington City Hall, the landscape department at Hillermann Nursery & Florist, the Washington Parks Department and at Schroeder Drugs. The shirts are $10 each.
America in Bloom judges will visit Washington July 16-17.
Judges will tour Washington and will judge six categories including floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression.
Results of the contest will be announced at a conference at the end of September.
This is the second year Washington has participated in America in Bloom.
Last year, Washington won the community involvement criteria award. It is a national award and the only one given.