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City looks to spring planting

Q&A: Barbara Blevins

By KELLI WRIGHT/ KELLI.WRIGHT@DEMOPOLISTIMES.COM

What are the responsibilities of the city horticulturist?

The main thing is to beautify the city. We try to make everything look good and make everybody feel happy. I like pretty things and I like to make things nice.

How many areas in the city do you and your crews work on?

We have about 12 different areas that we keep up. That includes Rooster Hall, the (Confederate) monument, the civic center, city hall, the triangle (beds) on Highway 80 and the entrance signs. We&8217;ve recently taken on the college out at the Sports-Plex. We put a bed down going into the college and we also put in flowers by the entrance signs. There are three huge beds next to the steps going into the college, so we put all new flowers and shrubs out there.

What projects are you working on for the city right now?

We are in a transition stage where probably at the end of April and the Easter (cold) snap, we will be bringing in our spring flowers. Right now we are trying to keep the grass and the weeds down. We just had our new office trailer brought in and the greenhouse brought in. All of these are some new projects we&8217;ve been working on and trying to get everything ready to move in.

When do you expect to move into your new space?

Right now they are laying some new tile down on the floors and probably within the next week or two we will be ready to move over. We work outside all day, but right now everything is housed (at the Public Works building). Mike (Baker) and Lucille (Carpenter) have been so good to let me run my operations out of here as far as my paperwork goes.

What are some of the spring flowers you will be working with?

We are going to be planting some springtime black magic elephant ears, variegated ginger, sunset colias, purple heart, Joseph&8217;s coat, lantana and petunias in hanging baskets.

Are there any other big projects in the works?

We are getting ready to landscape the fire station on Highway 80.

How do you go about landscaping a new location?

I&8217;m trying to get something put together for people to look at, then we&8217;ll let Chief (Few) and the mayor and anyone else who needs to look at it and see if they like it. If not, we will change it. The main thing is getting sod and grass in there. That is going to take the most time. Hopefully we will get that done before springtime so the trees will take hold without a lot of water.

How did you become interested in horticulture and planting?

I just love being outside, it&8217;s just my nature. I love making things pretty. I love to be outside in nature.

How long have you worked for the city?

It was exactly a year as of last week.

Are you from Demopolis?

I&8217;m originally from Dothan.

How do you feel about the state of the city and beautification right now?

There are still a lot of areas that could be worked on to be beautified. Since I stepped in in October, the last five months, myself and our crew have created a new bed over near Westside Elementary School. We came up with that. Also, we took on the college and the post office. Over on B Street, the park over there, we have put in some shrubs there. So I feel like since I&8217;ve been here, our whole crew has made a big improvement. Still I have a list of things I&8217;d like to do. I&8217;d like to work on the old school, we&8217;d like to do something there in the front. We have done some work on the beds by the sign. I also talked to some people about putting some things in the median on Highway 80. I know they had done it before, I don&8217;t know what happened, if it was the wrong time of year, or what. But that&8217;s one area we are looking at doing some work. There are a lot of areas that need some attention.