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Broken Windows & Window Boxes

by Bobby Blair
July 8, 2017

The lilies at Blair Square and along Hollis Street and the Historical Society are almost in full bloom.

The Downtown Marigold Project's (DMP) new endeavor of planting window boxes around town is beginning to show results.

These boxes located across from Fairlane Way to 560 Washington Street  received a little help from the town's DPW this past week in the form of tree trimming which will allow the boxes to see the sun. Thank you DPW tree crew and Highway Chief Tom Smith. The DMP takes a collaborative approach to its efforts working in partnership with municipal agencies, businesses, private land owners, and other organizations such as Holliston in Bloom and the Holliston Garden Club.

These boxes along Smith Row (between Exchange and Central Streets) seem to be hitting their stride. In addition to giving one a sense of hometown pride, the boxes are equally a mini economic development project which makes the town more inviting and elicits a sense of well being from the viewer. The DMP steals the idea from the "Broken Window Theory" and that theory assumes that the landscape "communicates" to people. A broken window transmits to criminals the message that a community displays a lack of informal social control and is unable or unwilling to defend itself against a criminal invasion.

These boxes are located on the Exchange Street Bridge. On Saturday morning as I was taking this photo, a rail trail user commented to me, "beautiful, they do make a difference".  While unsolicited comments are always appreciated (sometimes too numerous) they do in fact help us judge what the DMP is doing right or could improve on. The petunia's in these boxes receive a B+ for growth, due to limited sunshine.

In our second year of partnership with Casavant Realty, the DMP did the planting and Rick Casavant handles the watering. The DMP strives to enhance areas of high visibility where the plantings can be most appreciated by the highest number of viewers. It's simply a collaboration that works.

Often times we become so familiar with things that we no longer actually see them. Such was the case with this corner lot at the Central Burial Ground next to town hall. I wished I had taken a before shot of the overgrown Forsythia Bush and bramble jungle that occupied this space. It took a backhoe from the town's DPW this past week to dig out the stumps and bushes. Once again a huge thank you to Tom Smith and the crew at the DPW. As the woman on the rail trail said to me ---- it does make a difference.

This year's DMP's efforts are not without a downside. New planting of marigolds at the Historical Society and town hall were quickly devoured by what we can only assume as chipmunks (devils). New plantings laced with dish detergent and Tabasco sauce have sent  the little %&*#@('S in search of water. A planted whiskey barrel in front of Fiske's Store and several petunia's were stolen from window boxes. A huge planting of pumpkins at the Community Farm and intended for display this fall when America in Bloom arrives in town in October were eaten by hungry deer or woodchucks. The window boxes on the Arch Street Bridge only get a C- grading due to a lack of sun. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Your DMP "going where no gardener has gone before" kinda has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

If you wish to donate, checks can be made out to Downtown Marigold Project and mailed to 57 School Street. The DMP is a non-profit and a part of the local American Legion.


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Comments (4)

I walk the same walk everyday and see the cemetery and the flower boxes along with some of the other projects that the mayor of Mudville has done he makes this town look beautiful I am very proud to know him

- Tim | 7/10/17 12:30 PM

Wait... wait... wait... somebody STOLE the whiskey barrel planter?? As for the pumpkins... anything left out in the open is an invitation for critters to dine. But sorry it happened.

- Jim Morelli | 7/8/17 11:18 PM

What a terrific job- thanks Bobby and everyone who has worked so hard to make Holliston more beautiful

- pat fuller | 7/8/17 2:05 PM

My marigolds were eaten by earwigs, as were my coleus plants. They don't eat the whole plant, just the leaves. I've been trapping them with a trap of tuna cans with some molasses and a half inch of vegetable oil. They go in for molasses and drown in the oil. Chipmunks do a number on my tomatoes :-( . Thanks so much for all you do to make our town beautiful.

- Susan Jacobs | 7/8/17 7:55 AM



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