Dozens of Spokane Community College Landscape Installation students took to the dirt-filled streets Friday to carry on a city tradition – installing annual flowers in the six enormous planters out front of O'Doherty's Irish Grille in downtown Spokane.
The mission was clear: fill each pot with enough color and petals to brighten the smile of even the grumpiest of passersby in Riverfront Park, or elsewhere. The method: any means necessary. In other words, work the dirt, plant the plant, celebrate.
“It’s just fun,” said Allie Etter, a second-year student in the Landscape Management program. “I like getting my hands dirty. We’re plant people.”
That much was clear. Not long after Environmental Science instructor Adam Sweeney explained the project and handed the group of students their blueprints, the cohort were off to the races. A handful worked quickly to till the soil, while others began swiftly arranging rows upon rows of bright flowers.
Cherie Christenson, a third-year student, jumped in to do the back-breaking task of laying each plant by its eventual hole. Soon, their roots would be buried, and the mulchy mix of fertilizer and dirt would be covered by eye-catching white stones.
While some may be tempted to do the labor-effortless work of standing still and directing others with blueprints in hand, she couldn’t be bothered. It’s no matter, too. She and her husband are starting a small farm near Reardan, which is exactly why classes such as this are so useful.
“With the plants, it’s integral,” she said of her schooling thus far. “Plus, I get to help beautify downtown Spokane.”
Sweeney said the plants on display are a mixture of product from the SCC Greenery greenhouse (which many of the installing students helped grow) and the Creach Greenhouse in Spokane Valley.
Friday’s installation – on a beautiful, bucolic day with morning temperatures well into the upper 60s – was simply carrying on a years-long tradition. A tradition that didn’t stop when COVID-19 first reared its protein-filled head last year.
“This is just a great class for them to apply what they’re doing,” Sweeney said. “They’re contributing to their city, which is an important thing. I think that’s pretty cool.”