for downtown Snohomish
can use support
Melanie Russell file photo
Hanging baskets go up all over downtown right before Memorial Day.
SNOHOMISH — The community’s support will help ensure First Street’s flower basket program can flourish.
The Snohomish Garden Club builds the baskets as an annual benefit to the city, but had a tough time fundraising during the pandemic with its biggest event canceled.
So, the Historic Downtown Snohomish Association (HDSA) business group put together a fundraiser to help keep the program sustainable.
Sixty-five baskets will go up just before Memorial Day.
The joint effort asks people and businesses to give a little to offset the costs of this year’s baskets and so everything can be arranged to order next year’s baskets, said Garden Club president Kay Ditzenberger.
People can sponsor a whole basket for $100. The thinking is that people can show off the basket to their relatives to say they helped the town effort, HDSA promotions coordinator Judi Ramsey said. Smaller contributions are accepted, too. All donors will receive recognition.
It takes about $300 to maintain and water each basket each year.
HDSA bumped up its contribution and the city enlarged its donation to $9,000 this year to help, Ditzenberger said. The 65 baskets cost upward of $19,000 to maintain for the summer.
Organizers are hoping about 150 people will give a contribution to offset the gap. Donations can be made online at HDSA’s website at www.historicdowntownsnoho
The baskets are carefully curated throughout their lifespan.
“When you see a hanging basket, there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into choosing the materials” with exact soils, exact plant choices, exact fertilizer ratios and daily care, Ditzenberger said.
She calls the 165-member club one of the city’s “well-kept secrets.”
“There’s a phenomenal amount of expertise in the garden club” as many members have earned Master Gardener titles, and are happy to share their knowledge.
Local resident Hartley Steiner painted the watercolor graphic of a basket featured with the campaign. If you adore the picture so much that you’d love a copy hanging on your wall, this art will be put on posters for sale at Historic Downtown Snohomish’s booth at the Snohomish Farmers Market that opens May 6.
Steiner said Ramsey asked for a graphic to go with the fundraiser, and said she was happy to do so as she loves the community. More of her work hangs in Ramsey’s shop, Artisans Mercantile. The art can also be seen this month inside the Columbia Bank branch in Snohomish, 167 Lincoln Ave.
The Garden Club took over cultivating the basket program when the city had to back out during the Great Recession in the late 2000s, said Joelle Blair, the Garden Club’s hanging baskets committee chair.
First Street has enough poles to creatively hang the baskets away from the dining tents restaurants are using, Blair said.
Ramsey said the partnership can be a continuing fundraiser to arrange next year’s baskets early and sustain the program. Ditzenberger said the fundraiser could mean more baskets to beautify a bigger portion of downtown, too.
“I think it’s a fantastic thing,” Ramsey said. “Even though COVID started it, I think it will have long-term value.”
The Garden Club gets its soil from Steuber’s Distributing on Pine Avenue and its flowers from area nurseries, planting money back into the local economy.
The Garden Club meets from September to May on the second Monday of the month in the evening. To join, see www.snohomishgardenclub.com
The club is looking forward to hosting a Garden Tour this June. Tickets and maps for the self-guided tour will be sold at the Garden Club’s website, and docents will control visitors to stay within public safety guidelines, Ditzenberger said.
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