Marietta in Bloom

A little cold weather is not about to slow down a group of Marietta volunteers who want to make Marietta flourish.

Launched less than six months ago with the goal of beautifying the city, Marietta in Bloom has been working on several planting and upkeep projects around the city and more projects are planned this month, said group member Roger Kalter.

“We’ve got a lot of projects going over the winter-not a lot of planting-but getting ready for spring planting,” he said.

The group has been focusing on city entryways, spots along Fort Harmar Drive, Pike Street and Muskingum Drive that travelers are most likely to pass when entering the city. At each of the three points, brickwork city signs are often the first impression given to city visitors, said Marietta in Bloom gardener Donis Yoder.

“These entry signs, I think that it is important that they welcome everybody coming into Marietta,” she said.

Donis, her husband Bob Yoder, and group member Gary Gaughan recently power washed the signs at all three locations and Bob repainted all of the lettering on the signs along Fort Harmar Drive and Muskingum Drive to make it stand out more, he said.

The Pike Street sign, near Big Lots, is scheduled to be painted next spring, when the group also hopes to expand the flower bed around the sign.

The sign on Muskingum Drive marks the beginning of what the group has designated Marietta’s “North Gateway.” The gateway follows Muskingum Drive into Marietta up to the point at which it forks into Third and Front streets. At that fork, another big project is under way, said Kalter.

“We call (that area) the triangle. It’s sloped down so precipitously that it is hard to plant,” he said.

Today Pioneer Pipe is donating manpower and equipment to add reclaimed sandstone from the old Putnam Bridge to the hillside. Once stabilized, around 580 daffodils will be planted there in the next two weeks, said Kalter.

The group will also be replacing part of the sidewalk along Front Street this month to help improve the area for pedestrians, he added.

In addition to fixing up the triangle, the group plans to have nearby houses host containers potted with flowers, said group member Diane Bruno.

“We’ll be planting daffodils in 60 pots that we will be lending to residents in the North Gateway area so they can put them on their porches and tie them in to this beautiful area,” said Bruno.

The pots will be loaned out in the spring for residents to care for and taken back in the fall to be stored in the greenhouse at Washington State Community College, where students and faculty have been helping to put the planters together, she added.

The containers are a good symbol of the group’s overall mission-to get every Marietta resident involved in the city’s beautification, said Donis Yoder.

“This is a grassroots effort, but we want it to become a Marietta effort. We want to get to the point where people can just show up where we’re working and pitch in,” she said.

Marietta in Bloom is not just about planting flowers, added Kalter.

“We’re trying to help people have pride in their property and pride in their city,” he said.