Making long-term changes to the municipal horticulture program, the District of Kitimat (DoK) has allocated $16,000 to change most of the annual plants to perennial plantings and gardening methods.
Some of the main changes will switch the flowers in the downtown core, Centennial Park, Coughlin Park, Kitimat Fire Hall, and Nechako Centre, to perennial plants.
The goal is to provide manageable garden spaces while meeting long-term sustainability goals of the municipality.
Although costs may fluctuate slightly due to plant loss and final flower bed layouts, the district believes that switching to perennial plants will save the horticulture program approximately $6,000.
And as these plants become established it is estimated that plant and staff savings will grow up to 50%, according to the director of economic development and communications, Michael Dewar.
“The realized savings in staff time to maintain the flowerbeds will allow for additional projects or tasks to be completed and to provide a more sustainable standard of care,” Dewar stated when asked about the upfront costs to change the annual plants t0 perennial gardening methods.
That said, Dewar also stated that the conversion to perennials does not mean that planting annuals will stop completely.
“Annuals will be required in certain key areas, hanging baskets and pots to continue the ongoing beautification of the community,” Dewar stated.
As annual plants are only planted for one season and then die or are removed – like petunias, some tulips, marigolds, or begonias – perennial plants are hardy in our climate zone and grow in places for many years – like trees, shrubs, or herbaceous plants.
According to the district, annual plants will require less labour to maintain and water over time, they will provide better habitat and forage for birds and beneficial insects, and they will offer more size and structure in the landscape.