Beautification board provides hanging baskets for Helena

In May 2012 McKenzie came on staff with American Family Care as a certified registered nurse practitioner. (Contributed)

In May 2012 McKenzie came on staff with American Family Care as a certified registered nurse practitioner. (Contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Helena Beautification Board is again providing the much admired hanging baskets that adorn Old Town and extend further along Highway 261.

HHB members gathered to plant coconut mat-lined wire baskets with plants purchased from Myers Nursery and owner Stuart Myers was on hand to demonstrate the usage of soil and fertilizer for best long-term growth.

Red and pink blooming wax-leaf begonias are the main “filler plants” along with yellow-flowering Lysimachia “Golden Globes.”

Surrounding those are Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas) ‘Margarita’ and ‘Blackie,’ which will be trailing down to the sidewalk when July rolls around. The final touch for the spiller plant is the almost magical, delicate-leafed silver/blue Silver Falls Dichronda.

Along with their HBB parents, four children came to participate with the plantings. Macie, Conner, and Clair Bartlett and Anna Kate Joseph were immersed in the soil right alongside the adults.

“We plant these every year at home, too,” said Macie Bartlett, who seemed particularly competent and well-trained in basket planting.

Also on hand was Tiara Pennington, a Helena Teen Council member, who was gathering information for the council’s second service project of the school year.

“I have been getting advice from Mr. VanCleve about ways we can beautify the school grounds and add some plantings and pops of color,” Pennington said. The Teen Council previously finished this past December a very successful Christmas Toy Drive for Children’s Hospital.

The areas under consideration for additional landscaping are by the HHS sign and additions to the courtyard and possibly parking lot dividers.

Sunday, April 26, is the date set for the next meeting for those who wish to participate in this project and earn service hours.

In other surprise news, the Caboose recently and fortuitously received the long-needed air conditioner, donated and installed by Matt Cantley of Cantley Heating and Air, LLC of Helena.

The funds raised by Rio’s for this project have now been reassigned to building a second gazebo on the far side of the Caboose.