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Medford Parks staff care for downtown flower displays

I was wondering how the hanging petunia flower baskets we see in downtown Medford and Central Point are kept looking so good? Is someone in charge of watering and taking care of the baskets? Also, are the petunias in the baskets the "wave petunias?"

— Edye B., Central Point

As downtown occupants we, the Since You Asked Garden Gurus, also enjoy the blossoming baskets.

Six of the colorful baskets are hung every year around Mother's Day and are maintained by Medford's Parks and Recreation Department staff. Flowers are watered every morning and evening by an automated soak system, keeping the flowers healthy and admirers happy all summer long.

"We have used that particular flower at Vogel (Plaza) for years, and it has done really well," says Jim Dix, parks supervisor. "The public seems to really like it."

The flower baskets were purchased from Four Seasons Nursery in Central Point. Brittany Elbert, a sales associate at the nursery, clarified that this particular variety was not wave but surfinia petunias.

"Surfinia petunias have more of a compact growth habit, causing them to mound and trail at the same time so you get that nice full top and the lengths you're looking for in a hanging basket," she said.

Surfinias bloom from the top down, making them ideal for cascading baskets, whereas wave petunias have a tendency to only bloom at the top and are recommended for ground cover.

In addition, the surfinias are more heat-tolerant and normally bloom from about April to October, adding to their downtown Medford appeal.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.