Sprucing Helena up for big weekend

Published 3:56 pm Monday, May 3, 2010

Helena is getting primped for the upcoming Great Alabama Homecoming and Buck Creek Festival on May 8.

Some welcoming spots of color-hanging mixed container baskets on each lamppost-will endure until frost.

Councilwoman Barbara Hyche personally plants each container using a mix of color and foliage, choosing plants that can withstand direct sunlight and the heat from the metal poles and concrete below.

“My recipe calls for a thriller, a spiller and a filler.” Hyche said. “It’s not unlike composing a painting.”

An example of a thriller is the Dragon Wing begonia; a spiller might be Calibrachoa or ornamental sweet potato. In addition to asparagus fern, one of Hyche’s preferred fillers is Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost.’

“Mayor Penhale loves gardens and he would like Helena to look like Fairhope,” Hyche said. “The city has received so many positive comments that we are adding new locations this year at the intersection of Highways 95 and 58 and extending the main street poles on to Five Points.”

Hyche traces her love of gardening back to memories with her grandmother.

She still cares for a huge Crown of Thorns plant that was passed to her from her grandmother. Hyche moved from Memphis to Alabama and while searching for a garden home, fell in love with Helena’s quaintness.

“I brought three pickup loads of cuttings from my previous yard of 23 years,” she said.

Hyche will donate babies from her Black-eyed Susan plants for other city flowerbeds.

“My reliable helper for this project is Wesley Benton, from the city maintenance department. He can always be depended upon to be there whenever we need him,” Hyche said.

“I would like to see Helena realize its potential to become a point of destination for visitors who would appreciate the charm we have to offer.”

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at labro16@yahoo.com.