Students and citizens will enjoy bursts of color when blooms are at their peak in three new areas of landscaping donated by a local company and a foundation established in honor of a Revolutionary War hero. The Nelson Memorial Foundation funds beautification projects regularly in the county and it was established in honor of Thomas ‘Century’ Nelson by his descendant Thaddeus Nelson Morris.
Nelson Memorial board member Larry Lynch selected the high school sign for this year’s project and the foundation purchased five Miss Frances Crape Myrtles (with deep red flowers from June to early October), 10 Shishigashira Camellia (with rose-red flowers from October and into the winter), 22 Miss Lemon Abelia (with variegated leaves with yellow, lime and cream blotches and flowers in summer that attract butterflies and hummingbirds) and 44 Red Drift Roses (with red flowers from late April until frost).
Pike’s Frankie Flanders designed the landscaping and was paid to provide the labor for installation of the plants at the high school sign. He installed the drip irrigation for free and then decided to donate more plants and landscaping at both the primary and pre-K schools.
“The generosity of the Nelson Fund’s donor served as an inspiration for Flanders Nurseries Inc. to also give back to our community. So many folks have given their time, services and products to the schools and the recreation fields that it was time that we stepped up to the plate as well,” he said. “The Miss Frances Crape Myrtles were selected to be as close to ‘Pike Pirate Red’ as I could find. Mick Rawls has taken great care of the plantings. We included a simple drip irrigation system that works with a garden hose so that the plants can survive in the summer heat. With all three landscape designs, special attention was paid to try to have something flowering as many months of the year as possible. In the months without flowers, there will still be interesting foliage.”
At the pre-K building, Flanders Nurseries provided and planted three Bald Cypress trees, seven Miss Frances Crape Myrtles, eight Miss Lemon Abelia, one Fragrant Tea Olive tree (with flowers in fall and winter) near the main entrance, 30 Crimson Fire Loropetalum, 15 Cast in Bronze Distylium and one East Palatka Holly (a large evergreen holly tree with red berries for fall and winter).
At the primary school, Flanders Nurseries provided and planted one Miss Frances Crape Myrtle, three Shishigashira Camellia, two Fragrant Tea Olive trees near the main entrance, nine Cast in Bronze Distylium and 17 Coral Drift Roses that bloom from late April until frost and attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
“I thought it would be nice to have some of the children help us with the planting. As they grow, they can see how the tree that they planted also grows. Hopefully helping plant a tree when they are young will inspire some of them to look into the fields of agriculture, horticulture, etc. that are so important to a rural economy,” said Frankie Flanders. “We offered to let some students help. Principal April Teal and Cassie Pierce set that up. We found little shovels at Ace Hardware that were the perfect size for the little ones. They went right to planting with almost no instruction. As we watched them, one started compacting the soil and the others jumped right in. Sometimes grownups don’t do that good of a job!”