Adding charm to the community

Lee's Summit JournalDecember 4, 2013 

Earlier this month, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Beautification Commission dedicated a beautifully rebuilt fountain and flowerbed at the corner of Fourth and Main streets, just west of the train tracks downtown.

It’s another pleasant oasis adding to the charm of our community.

In his remarks at the dedication ceremony, Mayor Randy Rhoads jokingly warned Kansas City, the “City of Fountains,” that Lee’s Summit might be ready to challenge them. He’s right in pointing out that we do have several attractive fountains in our fair city.

But looking around the community, I propose another distinction we can more easily claim. Lee’s Summit is becoming the City of Pots—as in containers of flowers and shrubs displayed in front of stores and on major street corners.

When the city rebuilt the downtown streetscape a few years ago, the Beautification Commission investigated the possibility of adding hanging baskets of flowers along the major downtown streets. We quickly discovered that our idea probably wasn’t feasible because of our difficult climate and the cost of installing and watering overhead baskets.

That led to a decision to purchase large landscape pots, and to date 36 of them have been placed at downtown intersections.

They look attractive on the rebuilt sidewalk bump-outs, and are replanted each season for maximum color and enjoyment. Members of the commission added red ribbons to the largest containers in time for the Mayor’s Tree Lighting last week.

We also offered incentives for local businesses to add landscape containers through a project called “Summit in Bloom,” and this program resulted in another several dozen pots spread around the community. And of course, many merchants provide their own in order to beautify their store entrances.

Container gardens aren’t always easy but they are relatively economical to “touch up” when something that looked beautiful in the nursery fails to thrive in a container.

I get overly enthusiastic every spring because it’s so much fun to put together combinations of plants that offer color and variety.

The plants in each pot must agree as to whether they need shade or sun, moisture or drier soil, etc. and be located according to their needs. Shade loving groups work well on my front porch, while the back deck needs plants that can take strong afternoon sun. You get the idea.

Fountains are lovely and hanging baskets add beauty to many cities, but I think we can make a strong case for Lee’s Summit being the “City of Pots.”


Carol Rothwell is a member of the Beautification Commission and a Lee’s Summit resident.

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