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‘Beautifying’ our Streets One Step at a Time with our Floral Program

The BIA’s diligent but quiet work keeping WelliWest beautiful.

When you think about a summer day in Wellington West, you may think about the open shop doors, the chalkboard signs with the daily specials of your favourite restaurants, and the smiling faces of your neighbours as you pass them on the street. The area feels alive and pleasant – and GREEN!

A big part of that atmosphere is thanks to all the many dozens of lush floral planters, and the flower beds brightening the street corners and sidewalk areas. But you may not be aware how much of that is brought to you by the BIA!

That’s right, it’s the merchants of Wellington West BIA, along with our Placemaking Committee, who are proud to bring you all that floral goodness as part of our streetscape beautification mandate. Our team works hard with our suppliers and the City of Ottawa to maintain public spaces, resolve maintenance issues, and create beautiful urban spaces.

So here are some facts. The BIA owns and maintains an expanding portfolio of more than 90 street planters across Hintonburg and Wellington West. 60 of those feature stunning floral arrangements while 30 contain shrubs called Alpine Current. In 2021 we purchased 22 new planters to bring colour, florals, and BIA “branding” to new corners and some off-Wellington Street places that joined our area with last year’s boundary expansion. Areas like Holland, Parkdale, and Gladstone have started to become beneficiaries of our beautification efforts, and will continue to benefit from the Placemaking committee’s work in the coming years. 

Wellington West BIA represents a large geographical area and maintaining it is no easy feat. 

Bob Walsh, the BIA’s project manager with Lafleur de la Capitale Landscaping, keeps a close eye on the planters, from planning and preparation in the spring to care and maintenance in the summer. 

“We take care of everything from preparation of the soil prior to planting, coordinating a marathon team who plants the flowers, and from that point forward we’re almost like babysitters. It’s one thing to throw some plants in the ground and walk away, but we are pretty pro-maintenance with the flowers. From weeding to tilling the soil and deadheading. One of the big elements of the planter program is the watering program that takes place when people are sleeping, three nights a week on average.” 

Bob uses the watering program as a training area for students. Over the years, he has had students who have liked this type of work so much they have gone on to becoming horticulturalists. Bob is proud to have inspired some new career paths through the program and is driven by fostering a love of horticulture in their students. 

“We’re the gardeners but you could also say we’re the guardians.” 

Existing flower beds in the area have also been adopted through our Floral Adoption Program, and our wonderful sponsors and partners in the area help us keep them going every year. For example the expert florists at Wild Willy’s care for the two stunning planters next to their storefront at Huron and Wellington Street West, and GT Express Hintonburg, RBC, and the Hintonburg Economic Development Committee have partnered with us to adopt several flower beds at Somerset Square, Marche Hintonburg, Hintonburg Community Centre, and at McCormick Avenue. 

We take great pride in our floral program and our urban beautification efforts can be seen all throughout the area. See a planter looking particularly lush? Snap a pic and tag us! And please let us know if you notice damage, trash, or stolen flowers from our planters or beds! Contact us and we will get it back to its former beauty. 

Bob’s favourite flowers: Scaevola, which can be found in the Hintonburg Community Centre flower bed. It’s a ground cover that has a blue flower. Bob was inspired by the installation at Jean Cartier Park Mosaïculture event where they created a riverbed with this flower.

Lantana is another favourite. It’s a beautiful flower, and if you look closely, it’s a cluster of little blossoms in a circular shape. It comes in a number of colours and it stays in bloom for a long period of time. 

Favourite combination is the potato vine, a leafy vine that cascades over the flowers paired with purple wave petunia. They grow together like a family and the petunia flowers with the lime green of the potato vine create a beautiful contrast.