Tips for Designing Annual Planters
- Location: Match the plant selections to the level of sun exposure and soil composition.
- Maintenance: Consider plant selections that mirror your plant care abilities and time limitations necessary for optimum maintenance.
- Lead Role: Choose a plant that will dazzle as the centerpiece of the planter.
- Supporting Roles: Compliment the “dazzler” with plants of different texture and heights, including trailing plants.
- Finishing Touches: Utilize one or more “filler plants” to accentuate a color theme.
City of West Des Moines
Parks & Recreation Department
The Parks Division provides services related to the land and facilities that make up the West Des Moines park system. The Division currently operates and maintains 1,275 acres and over 53 miles of trails. The Horticulture staff is within the Parks Division and performs grounds maintenance and all horticulture related activities in the Valley Junction business district. Numerous other horticulture responsibilities exist in parks, at City facilities and within Jordan Cemetery.
Staff Horticulturist, Dee Ann Fredericks, works under the limited direction of the Urban Forestry Supervisor. She enthusiastically coordinates the duties of at least 4 seasonal staff from early spring to late fall.
In 1999, the level of service in the Valley Junction area was increased with the addition of a Horticulturist to assume all of the district’s horticultural and landscaping needs. Improvements to the area have included: 47 permanent flower planters and 5 pots along 5th Street and several side streets, perennial and annual flower beds in the 4 walkways, new perennial beds in Railroad Park, all tree related maintenance, the addition of streetscape elements and the renovation of the shelter and caboose in Railroad Park.
Along with their Valley Junction responsibilities, Dee Ann and her staff maintain landscapes at 22 parks, 13 City facilities, 2 aquatic centers, 1 cemetery and 2 trail segments. These areas include 209 landscape beds and 45 non-landscape sites totaling nearly 3 acres!
Designing and establishing the beautiful annual flower arrangements each year are Dee Ann’s favorite part of her job. In 2017, her designs for the Valley Junction district’s beds, planters and pots include over 815 annuals in 44 galvanized planters and 1,968 annuals elsewhere in the District including the Human Services building, Legion Park, Railroad Park, Polk Co. Seniors facility, walkway beds and several pots. Over 70 plant varieties/series will be utilized this summer. Dee Ann has selected larger material in 2017 to produce her desired visual effects earlier in the season.
In addition, each year prior to Thanksgiving, Valley Junction is transformed into a Winter Wonderland! The highly anticipated annual makeover occurs only after weeks of planning. Dee Ann and her staff decorate 48 planters with seasonal greenery and festive accessories including metal artwork crafted by VJ’s own Village Blacksmith Shop.
A Master Gardener for the past 30 years, Dee Ann grew up in a family of farmers and gardeners. Genetics provided the passion, and her expertise came from three decades of hands-in-the-dirt experiences. Her annual displays are intended to generate smiles from all who pass by. West Des Moines Parks & Recreation Horticulture staff hope that all visitors to the Valley Junction District in 2017 take time to “smell the roses” as well as this year’s 40 other options!