Two students from Buckhannon Academy Elementary School prepare to plant marigolds to brighten up Jawbone Park with some assistance from city horticulturist Dixie Green. / Photos by Monica Zalaznik

Flower power: Parks across the county now featuring an extra pop of color thanks to Upshur County second-graders

BUCKHANNON – Marigolds can be found blooming across the county after elementary school students cultivated and planted them in several area flower beds.

Second-graders from each Upshur County elementary school had the opportunity to plant marigolds in various locations on Thursday, May 11. Community member Jeanne Bennett said she discovered the idea while traveling.

“A friend of mine and I took a trip up to Canada and saw the marigold project done in Saint John (in New Brunswick, Canada); it was in the fall, and they were just beautiful,” Bennett said. “We found out all of the students were bused in and planted them on the medians through the town, and we thought it would be nice to bring the second-graders in Upshur County in and make them feel part of the community by planting some marigolds.”

Bennett said students from Rock Cave Elementary School planted marigolds at the Veteran’s Park in Rock Cave, French Creek Elementary students planted some at the fire hall in Hodgesville and the other schools planted flowers in Jawbone Park, the City Park and the Buckhannon Dog Park by the Riverwalk.

Students from Buckhannon Academy Elementary School plant marigolds in Jawbone Park Thursday afternoon.

“I just thought it would be neat; I didn’t realize how much it was going to entail,” Bennett said. “I reached out to the school system, and they said it was fine with them, and then I reached out to Dixie (Green, city horticulturist) because I knew she would have to be the one to tell us where we could plant. She really, really helped a lot because we couldn’t have done this with what we had available.”

City of Buckhannon horticulturist Dixie Green said marigolds are hearty flowers and easy to care for.

“Marigolds are really easy to grow,” Green said. “They don’t grow native around here, but they’re very easy to grow, and most people just toss them out with wildflower mixes. They’re deer-resistant, so they’re popular for the borders of flower beds, so it’s a good option for us. They’re hard to kill, and they’re sunny – they’re yellow and bright — and they’re a good pop of color.”

Green said the marigold project was something she could see doing again in the future.

“I thought it was a great idea,” she said. “I thought getting the kids involved was great, and I was happy to help with the flowerbeds. It was a great learning experience and good for us, too. It became a much bigger project than we thought, but if this goes well, which it has gone well today, I wouldn’t mind turning it into a yearly project for second-graders or another grade because I think they had a good time with it.”

Bennett also wanted to thank members of the Delta Kappa Gamma sorority, the Fred Brooks Garden Club and the Stargazers Garden Club for making the marigold planting possible.

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