Abby Schweitzer, 12, says she brings experience from working in the garden at home to her job planting flowers with the Sylvania Youth Conservation Corps in many public places in the city.
Jetta Fraser Enlarge
With a flowery flourish, the city of Sylvania soon will bloom in living color - primarily yellow and white with a garnish of purple.
Guided by the city's 2009 floral theme, a green-thumbed team of teens and preteens yesterday launched its landscaping project with a profusion of posies, including snapdragons, petunias, and moss roses with a sprinkling of vinca, coleus, and begonia.
Many cities might not formally announce floral themes, particularly during a recession, but Sylvania has long been a leader in community curb appeal.
Art Landseadel, city forester, annually sets the official floral theme after he studies trends in gardening magazines. "If I see a lot of this or those, and we have not tried it before, I say, 'Let's do that.'•"
Trenton Bick, 12, gets ready to put one of the last petunia plants in his section into the ground. The main palette this year is yellow and white with a garnish of purple. Young Bick and others in the Sylvania Youth Conservation Corps are to learn about recycling, composting, and soil testing during the corps' educational sessions.
Jetta Fraser Enlarge
This year's yellow/white/purple color scheme will dominate the city's floral plantings at 20 locations where the Sylvania Youth Conservation Corps members, who yesterday learned the difference between a trowel and a trencher, will dig into their work.
The 2009 color palette, Mr. Landseadel said, is striking in its combination, and he said "Mother Nature has no barriers when putting together colors. But for the home gardener it's all about individual tastes."
He suggests residents, as well as business owners, experiment with border plants to bring in accents of colors, and he noted that residents will win extra points with the judges of the Sylvania Beauti-ful Awards contest if they incorporate the suggested splashes of color in their landscapes. Properties are nominated for the honor by mail carriers.
The program goes green with conservation-themed field trips and guest speakers, and participants will build birdhouses for Harroun Park's feathered residents.
"You'd be surprised how many kids have never held a hammer in their hands," Mr. Landseadel said. The program, which he has administered for 16 years, is funded primarily by the city of Sylvania with help from the schools, local businesses, and community groups.
Sylvania pays the students a small stipend - half during the program and the other half, which goes into a savings account, at the conclusion of the work project.
The floral theme, coupled with the landscaping efforts of the corps, is "very good for the appearance of the city," said Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough.
Sylvania, he said, remains a "very desirable community," particularly for young families. "Even though a few more homes are in distress, people still want to live in Sylvania. We want to keep appearances up as high as possible to keep home values up."
Keeping up the curb appeal is a community effort. Local businesses, including Creque's Greenhouse which donates thousands of plants, support the program.
Roughly 10,000 plants will be placed in the public flower beds, in parks, and at schools, Mr. Landseadel said. "These all do make a beautiful show."
Many of those plants are grown by students in the Southview High School horticulture program, Mr. Landseadel said. "We buy them the little cuttings and the kids at the high school plant them, tend to them, raise them, and then give them to us and we make landscapes with them," he said.
Jacob Lauder, of Sylvania, said putting plants in flower beds to dress up the city is nice, but he's mainly participating in the corps as a way to beef up his resume.
Sierra McKimmy, of Sylvania, politely asked, "Can I start shoveling?" before she scooped some soil to make room for petunias.
She likes the floral theme selected by Mr. Landseadel. "I think those colors are really pretty. They remind me of summer."
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