Marietta Main Street’s Purple Petunias Now Hanging Downtown

Marietta residents, visitors, and business owners making their way downtown this morning will be treated to pops of purple petunias adorning lampposts throughout the city’s commercial district. Marietta Main Street, the local nonprofit that manages the downtown flower program each year, coordinated the funding and installation of all 350 flower baskets as part of their downtown beautification program.

“This year, we are humbled to share that 212 donors sponsored 289 flower baskets – our biggest year yet in our flower campaign,” said Marietta Main Street Executive Director, Cristie Thomas. “This program is really important to our downtown, as each donor helps ensure all 350 vibrant flower baskets full of purple petunias are cared for and on display from May to September.”

While to most onlookers the baskets appear seemingly overnight, the flower program is a heavy lift for the nonprofit, but one that is greatly appreciated by the community. “It’s no small feat to manage this program and we continue to be grateful to each individual, business, and organization who supports our downtown by sponsoring a basket,” said Thomas.

Last month, Marietta Main Street invited community members, local organizations, and businesses to sponsor a flower basket for $75 each through the Flowers for Hope campaign. Sponsors were given the option to contribute an additional $25 as a donation to Marietta Main Street in support of the nonprofit’s mission to continue revitalizing downtown. Tags will be installed on each lamppost later this month uplifting sponsors and those whom sponsors chose to honor through their donation.

“I think this opportunity is really special for our city and is unique to Marietta because we invite donors to sponsor baskets In Honor of and/or In Memory of loved ones,” Thomas said. “Every year when I hang the tags on downtown lamp posts I’m often moved to tears because it’s a beautiful display of love and care, to uplift folks in our community and to remember those who have passed.”

The baskets add vibrancy and a sense of hospitality to our commercial district during the summer.

Thomas said she adores the downtown flower program for a variety of reasons – one, the flowers are lovely. “The baskets add vibrancy and a sense of hospitality to our commercial district during the summer when tourists are traveling in and locals spend more time exploring downtown and walking our river trail.”

The tags, however, are what really make Marietta’s program special, she said. “It invites members of the Marietta community near and far to celebrate each other and remember loved ones in a really special, unique way.”

At the end of each season, Marietta Main Street gives donors a chance to snip their tags from their lamppost and save them as souvenirs. Thomas said many donors take advantage of this option year after year, so the organization creates a new tag design each year so that the tags remain special for those who collect them at the end of each season.

The effort to fund, hang, and maintain 350 flower baskets downtown is quite an effort, but the impact of the flower program goes beyond adding color and greenery to the streetscape.

“In a retail district, an active beautification program not only looks great and contributes to an atmosphere of hospitality, but it also has a positive economic impact as well,” said Thomas. “In districts with successful beautification efforts, compared to those without, an average increase of about 30% in revenue is the result. People want to be in places that are cared for and with flowers lining every downtown block, it invites folks to stay longer, stroll farther, and explore our downtown shops and restaurants more readily.”

Thomas said the downtown flower program would not be a success without the organization’s incredible partnership with Jay Huck and his team at Huck’s Greenhouses.

“Jay and his crew plant our flowers and grow them every year in preparation to install them downtown,” she said. “Then, his team waters our flowers every single day, taking about 6 hours per day, in addition to a mid-season trim and treatments to ensure our petunias stay alive and well throughout the full summer. We could not do what we do without the support of Jay Huck and Huck’s Greenhouses.”