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A City Creates its Own Green Spaces
Castle Rock, Washington, is a small city located west of Mt. St. Helens in the heart of Washington timber country. For the three years in a row, the City of Castle Rock has earned first-place in the America in Bloom competition, receiving recognition for its downtown beautification efforts, including beautiful gardens, containers, and more than 130 hanging baskets grown by students at the high school greenhouses.
If that wasn’t enough, last year the nation’s #1 plant brand, Proven Winners, named Castle Rock it’s first Proven Winners Signature City. The designation resulted from their extensive emphasis of Proven Winners plants, including Rockin® Playin’ the Blues® Salvia, Superbena® Stormburst, and it’s popular Supertunia Vista® Bubblegum® & Supertunia® Bordeaux.™.
On July 27, 2018, the City Council of the City of Castle Rock passed Resolution #2018-08 designating Proven Winners® Guara Stratosphere™ White as the City’s Official Flower.
And, illustrating the city’s commitment, on September 12, 2018, the City Council unanimously passed Resolution #2018-19, accepting the Proven Winners Signature City designation.
All this happens from city and community-wide beautification efforts of volunteers, city staff, businesses, Castle Rock Chamber, property owners, residents and Castle Rock School District and the CRHS Horticulture classes. Students at Castle Rock High, under the direction of CTE Director Julia Collins, grow all plants and baskets in the school’s greenhouses. Volunteers called, Bloom Team, are lead by coordinator Nancy Chennault. The team coordinates the spring plantings, hangs the baskets throughout the city, and then keeps all plantings watered and maintained throughout the entire season.
Says Mayor Paul Helenberg, "Castle Rock has always been a community of volunteers who love their town. This dedication to our city of 2,200 has been elevated to a higher level by the city and business commitment to upgrade streets and buildings and encouraging the planting of many thousands of Proven Winners® flowers and shrubs since 2011. In 2010, storefront vacancies were at a high of 39%. Because of the downtown improvements and all the work of the volunteers to beautify the city, vacancy rate is now hovering around 1%. As soon as a storefront becomes available for rent or sale the vacancy is filled with businesses eager to be part of a thriving, vibrant, blooming Castle Rock."
The Bloom Team volunteers add greenery and decorations to the business sponsored and city containers for the holidays. CRHS Floriculture and FFA students create baskets of greenery, decorated with ribbons and stars. They hang from the lampposts during the annual Festival of Lights celebration in December.
Summer plantings begin in May and the bountiful displays of Proven Winners® flowering baskets, containers and flowerbeds last well past frost. The volunteers work with the Castle Rock High School Greenhouse Management Class to plant the first of 3 orders of summer flower liners. The first order is designated for the City’s hanging baskets. Two additional orders are for containers, landscapes and parks.
Bloom Team volunteer Linda Staudinger has designed a booklet that will feature 12 Proven Winners plants used throughout Castle Rock. ‘Hunters’ look for the plants in Green Spaces throughout the city . . . baskets, containers and gardens. There is a collection of tags at appropriate locations with ID specifics. Once the plant is identified they will take the booklet to a sponsoring business and will be given a tag to slip into their 'passport'. When hunters have collected all the tags they will take the booklet to Castle Rock Nursery where they are be given now the Castle Rock 'city flower' - Proven Winners® Gaura Stratosphere™ White.