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How North American cities made public spaces bloom this summer

As the leaves start to fall and kids return to classrooms, municipalities and other large institutions begin to clean up their summer planters and hanging baskets. But as with most cycles, summer clean-up signals that it’s time to begin planning for next year.

This is the time for imagination. For dreaming up new ways to beautify your public spaces while making the most of your budget. To help get your wheels turning, we’ve collected some examples of how real North American communities made their public spaces bloom.

Using hanging baskets that save big on water and labour

H2O Edmonton Alberta hanging basket

Hanging baskets are a great way to add living colour but they often require a lot of water and labour. That is, until now. Communities are discovering an innovative solution: the H2O Labour-Saver hanging basket

“The H2O Labour-Saver hanging basket has outperformed every other hanging basket we’ve tried,” said Dorothy Jedrasik, Crew Leader at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, Alberta. Prior to switching, Dorothy’s team was using fibre baskets fitted with dish pans. “We went from watering every single day to watering every 2-3 days in sunny, windy locations and every 4-5 days in shaded, protected locations.” Learn more about the City of Edmonton’s experience using this innovative solution in this case study.

Designed for public spaces, the 23” basket has a removable liner and a built-in wicking system that draws water up from the 2.6 gallon reservoir, reducing watering needs by up to 50% resulting in labour and fertilizer cost savings. Its reservoir drainage plug lets you drain the water before transport so that the baskets are lighter and easier to hang.
“We have had the H2O Labour-Saver baskets for at least 10 years and plant up 200 every year. They are the best baskets out there on the market,” said Joe Pelz, Parks Foreman for the City of Red Deer, Alberta. “On average, we water them twice a week in the hot summer days but in the first month we are only watering them once a week.”

Classic hanging baskets  

H2O hanging basket essex county

Communities and institutions can never go wrong with the traditional single or double hanging basket display. The streets of Essex, Ontario were decked with gorgeous pink calibrachoa in H2O baskets. And believe it or not, this photo was just taken in September. The planters still look fresh and beautiful.

Upcycled city planters 

Red Deer planter

In addition to doing hanging baskets, Joe’s team in Red Deer thought outside the box this year. After discovering that the H2O planters fit perfectly in the city’s unused waste bins, they repurposed them to line sidewalks downtown.   

Towers of flowers

The city of Oshawa took the H2O basket to the next level by creating flower towers downtown. It’s easily done. Onion baskets hold the planters in place and can be adjusted to create a tiered effect.

Dynamic wrap around planters create unique opportunities 

Bridges, lampposts, gates or dividers – wrap-around containers let you bring beauty to places you may not have thought about before. They might be little additions, but they can help boost a municipality’s tourism economy by adding that extra touch of quaintness. 

Beautiful baskets on bridges

This summer, marina-facing bridges in Akron, Ohio, were outfitted with brightly-planted wrap-around containers that brought beauty to pedestrians and drivers on top of the bridge, as well as boaters and marina restaurant diners below it. 

Lamppost wrap-arounds

In Pierre, the state capital of South Dakota, wrap-around containers decorated main street lampposts, making the historic city centre an even more enticing shopping avenue for tourists and locals. These wrap-around baskets are a cousin to the H2O Labour-Saver hanging basket, and have the same water-saving functionality. 

St. Pierre hanging basket wrap around

Tips to consider for 2020 planning

“High quality products are especially important for municipalities looking to beautifying their public spaces. Every dollar spent needs to deliver long-term value back to the community,” says Karl Eckert of Eckert’s Greenhouse. “The H2O Labour-Saver line of products is built for life in the city and will keep communities blooming for years to come.”

Karl has 43 years of experience as a grower in Michigan and is the inventor of the H2O Labour-Saver hanging basket and wrap-around basket. As communities plan for 2020, Karl recommends that they keep these tips in mind:

  • Budgets are tight. Look for solutions that will help your community save on labour and water
  • Invest in long-term value by selecting pots and iron accessories that ensure longevity 
  • Every community is unique. Find products that are fully adaptable to your situation (parking decks, bridges, large poles, etc.) and work with suppliers that can help you think outside the box. 

H2O Labour-Saver hanging baskets, wrap-around planters and other horticultural solutions are available in Canada at A.M.A. Horticulture Inc. Discover more solutions at