Where do all the orphaned mums go?

Last week, I was driving past UVA’s Fontaine Research Park and noticed a crew of landscapers pulling up mums from the flower beds around the entrance sign and on the traffic islands. They were tossing them into the back of a big truck–obviously about to take them to mum heaven, though they were perfectly healthy and beautiful.

I’d just noticed these flowers were in the ground one week before. That’s about how it seems to go around there; you enjoy the tulips for less than a month before they’re taken out and replaced by equally short-lived pansies or marigolds. Nothing is allowed to decay or decline before it’s given the boot.

The workers I saw were with a private landscaping company, not the city, so I’m guessing it’s UVA that oversees the plantings in that spot. I’m all for the job creation that such a planting schedule must drive, but obviously it’s incredibly wasteful to cultivate so many flowers, season after season, only to toss them out.

Here’s a project that someone in UVA’s landscape architecture program should undertake: Design plantings for Fontaine Research Park (and anywhere else around grounds where similar waste occurs) that will look good year round, without the need for installing and removing plants when seasons change. I’m sure it’s possible.

Readers, any ideas about what would go in such plantings? Anyone ever snagged plants or bulbs that were being tossed?

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