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Clinton's hanging flower baskets need plenty of care — and water

Published: Monday, Aug. 4 2008 12:05 a.m. MDT

CLINTON — It takes at least 1,000 gallons of water and several hours a day to keep the hanging flower baskets in this city looking good in the summer.

There are 250 baskets of petunias decorating 1800 North and 2000 West.

"I get stopped at least three times a day by someone thanking me for watering the plants," said Katie Lein, a part-time public works employee.

Twice daily, public works employees pull a water tank behind a golf cart and soak the flowers. It takes one person six to seven hours and five to six tanks of water, about 1,000 to 1,200 gallons each shift, to care for every plant.

"They tell me it makes the city look gorgeous, and some ask for our secret in keeping them looking nice," Lein said.

The trick to nice plants is letting greenhouse employees plant the flowers, said Public Works Director Mike Child.

Also, filling the baskets a quarter of the way with sterilized soil before adding potting soil helps hold the water longer, he said.

The plants are lightly fertilized three times a week, said supervisor Zac Martinez.

Connie Dodge frequently notices the plants when she runs errands.

"It just makes the town special," she said.

But Clinton has received complaints suggesting the city could find better uses for its money.

The city has been hanging plants for the past four years and spent $12,000 on flowers this year, Martinez said.

Mostly though, people like the flowers.

The idea of hanging flower baskets came from a Utah League of Cities and Towns meeting several years ago. Representatives from Vernal did a presentation on their flower-lined streets, said Clinton City Manager Dennis Cluff.

Vernal has had hanging pots and flower planters lining three of its business-area streets for the past 25 years, said that city's recorder, Roxanne Behunim.

This year, the city received a grant to expand the flower pots to 10 blocks, she said. Vernal spent $52,000 on its flowers.

"It's not cheap," she said.

Clinton city redevelopment agency funds allow the city to beautify the area, Cluff said.

The city put up 100 fewer plants this year because of construction on 2000 West, Child said.

The plants go up by April 15, and folks can enjoy them until the frost comes.

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