A file photo of Buckhannon's vividly colored, iconic flowers blooming at the Riverwalk by West Virginia Wesleyan College.

April showers bring Buckhannon’s famous May flowers

BUCKHANNON – Spring has sprung, and that means Buckhannon’s famous flowers are beginning to bloom.

City Horticulturist Rob Barbor said he is excited for the season and some of the projects he and his team have been working on.

Along with the new dogwood and redbud trees that have been planted in front of the Public Safety Complex, Barbor said they have planted 10 new trees at the Buckhannon Dog Park, including honey locust, red maple and bur oak.

“We left some space in front of the Safety complex to put flowers around the trees, so that will be a great pop of color,” Barbor said. “Then, last week at the Fred Brooks Park we planted some crab apples, a couple rhododendron and some azaleas.”

Another new project they worked on is the flower bed across from Sheetz, in front of the substation.

“We cleaned it up a lot,” Barbor said. “There’s some zebra grass there, so we spaced those out symmetrically and moved some perennial flowers there, so that should look nice this spring and summer.”

He said they are growing about 10,000 flowers in the greenhouse right now, which includes new kinds of blooms they’ve never had before. He said one of the new flowers is called Strobilanthes or Persian shield.

“They’re beautiful, and it’s known for its foliage rather than its flowers,” Barbor said. “It’s a beautiful purple flower, which you’ll see in some of the large round planters that will be on the intersections.”

Another new plant the city’s horticulturist is working with is called Euphorbia. In addition, a new kind of ornamental grass that is red in color has already been placed in the center of the larger hanging baskets that will be on the corners, along with the ornamental sweet potatoes and petunias.

“We’re also growing some amaranth and some sunflowers in some areas this year,” Barbor said. “We have some of the tall sunflowers, but we also have some dwarf varieties that are more red in color, and just more ornamental rather than for seed production or oil production.”

Barbor said when he and his crew decide on which flowers to grow and plant, the consider what they have already done and where they think certain plants will thrive.

“I just basically use the previous knowledge that I’ve gained from the year before, what works well, where, and every year I adapt to that,” Barbor said. “Certain varieties flourish in a Main Street environment where it’s hot, there’s traffic, lots of concrete more so than others, and certain varieties of plants do well other places.

Barbor said the hanging baskets and earth boxes will be out for the week of Strawberry Festival, depending on the 10-day forecast.

“I have been looking forward to the season,” he said. “It’s going to be another nice year. Our hanging baskets are looking good right now, and they’re growing quick, and it looks like it’s going to be a good season.”

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