Demopolis in Bloom event highlights beautification

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The City of Demopolis could get even more beautiful this spring after the Department of Horticulture, headed by Barbara Blevins, hosted the sixth annual “Demopolis in Bloom” event Thursday at the Civic Center.

“We love what we do. We love to get the community involved. In order to do that, we have to get everyone on the same page,” Blevins said. “In years past, we found that the department of horticulture cannot do it alone, so you have to get everyone involved. It’s been a challenge, but together we can build the beauty of Demopolis.”

The event serves as a way to educate residents of the area on the proper flowers, trees, and shrubs to plant for the area.

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Teresa Johnson, one of three topical speakers on the day, gave a presentation on southern living plants and plants that do well in alkaline soils, which cover the Demopolis area.

The Duncanville resident said the best type of plants to grow here include Indian hawthorn, boxwoods, helleborus, clematis, and plumbagos among several families of plants.

Johnson also owns a farm house and gift shop, Johnson’s Garden’s and Café, which just opened its farmhouse and teaches master gardeners, landscaping and interior-scaping. The visiting speaker received her degree from Auburn and has worked with plants for 30 years.

During the event, Demopolis was also recognized for 32 years as “Tree City USA,” which is a program cities apply for in planting a certain number of trees each year, according to Blevins.

Mayor John Laney was on hand to congratulate the department of horticulture and Blevins for the work they have done to improve the city.

Blevins feels that events like Demopolis in Bloom are key to helping to improve the city.

“It’s just my passion,” she said. “It’s what Demopolis needs to get on track like … to attract more businesses and people to our city. To me, that’s what people are looking for, a beautiful and safe city.”

Aside from the beautification of the city through planting, the city has also erected new street signs in the historic downtown district.

“A couple of years ago, it was recommended that we redo some of the signs in the historic district to set it apart as a unique area,” said Blevins. “We added the two huge directional signs on Highway 80 E to direct traffic downtown and get people off the busy highway and into the downtown area.”

When drivers see the black and white street signs, it signals that they are in the historic district of Demopolis.

Within the next year or two, the Department of Horticulture will turn its attention to Highway 80 and the medians by planting shrubs, which will have the added benefit of cutting costs related to maintenance and grass cutting.