Midland Richardson has an eye for architecture and color

Contestants are in the final round of this year’s Midland City Savings. During this time, you will show your knowledge of the beautification projects completed by Urban Gardener Stephanie Richardson and 1021 gardeners in 2021.

(Silent conversation)

Contestants answer this question correctly for the grand prize:

Richardson is responsible for decorating dozens of gardens in the city center, starting with the entrance points in each direction. One of the following sites is the most challenging, the funniest, the scariest place for city staff to be beautiful

1. Hanging handles on light poles leading to the main road and the bridge on Ashman Street?

2. A triangular traffic island on Saginaw and Wheeler Roads?

3. Beds in the ground in the old farmer’s market and triage area?

4. City entrance on M-20 near Curry Golf Course?

5. Estman Road from Carpentry to Walker?

6. The “Great Curve” on Business US 10 and “Down Diamond”?

7. Giant containers at compass points in the city center. ?

8. Main road installation, next to fireplaces?

Coming soon.

Richardson is the son of a farm family from the State-Sterling area. Choosing Michigan State University and Vegetable Growth were natural choices. She was assigned to work in the university’s experimental gardens when she realized that her love was plants – or she was “a moment of light.” That garden is where gardeners grow and evaluate flowers and vegetables before they start.

She Before moving to Midland in 2017, she spent several years as a broker, a wholesaler and independent landscape design consultant.

Richardson marks her time here as “seasons of growth,” so when she closes her 15th growth season, she sits at the far-flung town of 100 River St., the city’s burning building, for a social-distance talk. The belly of the Poseyville Bridge.

This year, she talks about the first 10 men and women on the staff crew (up from 18 in recent years).

“We have college kids, retirees and everything in between this year. It is a labor-intensive activity that everyone should love: bending, kneeling, shoveling, mowing and the hot and humid weather this year.

“This is the staff and their hard work,” she said, referring to beds, hanging containers, large pots and special plants along Ash Hotel Street.

“Yes, I’m leading the ship, but they are boots on the ground,” said her companion.

And what about taking care of this “ship”? How is that done?

The staff will start at 6:30 in the summer, so it will be held until 2:30 in the evening and will be the hottest day of the day (spring and autumn, 7:30 am). The exact planting season is confusing for several weeks in late May and early June, followed by constant maintenance in the city.

Then comes cleaning and preparation for next year: for example, the planting of Midland flowers by Eastman will be eliminated first around Labor Day. This year, it is marigolds and next year, Midland flowers will show Petunius. Most annual years back then slowed their growth and were not strong enough even a month ago. Other beds and containers are expected to be removed.

And it’s a 2.5-mile Eastman road between Carpenter and Vacley, which is the winning answer to the above question. Richardson is one of the fastest growing cities in the city. And why is this?

The soil has been tested for salt fields, heat from curves, chemical discharges from carburetors, gas from traffic and waste. Probably the biggest problem is that she pours the soil pH to the uber-high acid level between 8 and 9. The moving concrete. Most ornamental plants thrive in soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.5.

But Eastman Road will get a lot of TLC before spring installation.

Working with an agronomist, Richardson said a mixture of fertilizers has been developed to correct soil stress and pH readings. The fertilizer is then applied to the soil, the soil is leveled and the time for planting is near, and it is re-arranged with a device that generates Debo signals to guide re-planting. And after the plants come in, the workers return to the soil with cocoa bean mulch. They do not use any traditional fertilizers or weed killer. Ideally, fragrant cocoa shells and strong vegetation do not allow sunlight to grow. This process is repeated every spring. And watering is usually done daily through Midland Blooms.

Other plants, in beds and containers, receive water from one of the city’s 12 different irrigation systems. This remarkable achievement can be seen in Ashman’s “Vista White” giant hanging plant. Take a closer look and you will find an irrigation hose in the container.

It is easy to make other beds in the city. They are cleaned of dirt and dressed every spring with Dari-du, an organic soil conditioner made in western Michigan.

“Building soil fertility is key,” he said. With it, the plant can take care of itself. When our soil is fertile, there are fewer diseases and pests. ”

Soil conditions vary greatly when it comes to containers such as baskets, jumping jewels, and many large and humorous pots around the city. For these, the workers use a soil-based mixture made for containers. These compounds usually contain peas, crushed peel, perlite and vermiculite, and similar ingredients. And they are lightweight, making a 16-pound bag easy to carry.

What is the 2022 plan? Expect to see metal sculptures in key areas designed by Richardson and built by city workers, increasing the use of houseplants in beds and containers; And use architectural thinking to plan where big, bold and rough will be.

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