Margaret Mills

Margaret Mills

Active Life: Planting planning begins for Canada’s 150th birthday

NANAIMO – Horticultural staff with City of Nanaimo tasked with designing gardens using red and white.

While it may be 10 months away, City of Nanaimo horticulture staff is already prepping Harbour City’s gardens for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.

City parks, including Maffeo Sutton and Beban, city hall, and the area surrounding the Dallas Square Cenotaph, will be awash in Canadian colours and Margaret Mills, city horticulture supervisor, said work has to begin now.

Mills said for the anniversary, staff will do spring planting, with red and white tulips, and summer displays will also feature red, white and some green.

Dutch tulips, or mid-season tulips, will “come up” between mid-April and mid-May, said Mills.

“From there, those will be removed and the summer bedding plants will be put in and they could be anything from white and red geraniums to – well it’s hard to say. There’s thousands of plants that are red and white that are annuals and gardeners all get to pick their own,” Mills said.

She said she mandates a colour scheme to staff and they must adhere to it, which may not be the easiest of tasks.

“Red and white is a challenge because normally they have a selection of colours, 20 to 30 different colours. [Now] they’re allowed to use two, plus green,” said Mills.

However, Mills said horticultural staff has already planned for the spring gardens. Bulbs have been ordered. They are expected to be delivered in the next three to four weeks and will then be planted.

“The summer bedding plants are just being designed right now,” said Mills. “By the end of the month I’ll have the final list and that list will go out to tender and then those plants are then put in, in May.”

Mills said there are also contingency plans in place as well.

“We always carry back so many plants and grow them in case somebody destroys a bed and we can always switch out,” said Mills. “We’ve been known to take plants out of far out areas that don’t have as much profile and put them downtown because it happens.”

Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation will be a big event, according to Mills. Maffeo Sutton Park is anticipated to be the centre point again, she said.

“That park is definitely going to be red and white and we have all the extra beds around the lagoon now and those are all coming up red and white, so it’s going to be a great celebration,” said Mills.