Make the McKenzie Connection!

“WOW” taken down

River Stop basketsBy Ada Weeks

WALTERVILLE: We know summer is over when the spectacular floral hanging baskets are taken down from their custom metal supports on light poles at the Walterville Shopping Center. These beauties have delighted both local folks and Highway 126 travelers, from May through October, with their massive display of flowers.

Greg and Tamara Clift, owners of the McKenzie River Nursery, are the dedicated providers and caretakers of the baskets. Greg recalls, “Tamara and I had been to Victoria, BC, on our honeymoon, and marveled at the bayfront hanging baskets. In 2002, I contacted the local Walterville merchants to ask if they would ‘mind’ if we put baskets up on the light poles at no cost to them or the community. Of course, they said yes, as long as we also took care of them.”


“I recruited Lyndell Cane, owner of Walterville Welding, to make large metal support hangers,” Greg said.

Some of his original hangers are still in place, as well as at the Walterville Community Hall, and East Lane Veterinary Hospital in Leaburg.”

Thirteen years later, Lyndell, with his truck and winch, still helps Greg hang the baskets in May and take them down in October, before the rains begin. Weighing in at 75 pounds when watered, this is no easy task.

For those of us whose hanging flower baskets look a bit pathetic, perfectionist Greg is all too willing to share the secrets of his show-stopper floral basket success: start with ten gallon baskets, water daily with a MiracleGrow type fertilizer, and recruit help. Don Payne of Walterville has been helping for six-seven years to maintain the baskets daily at 5 a.m., Monday through Friday, while Greg tends the hour-long watering task on weekends.

Greg adds that classic 12” hanging baskets, sold at McKenzie River Nursery, need fertilized water twice daily in hot, sunny locations. Stay tuned for Hanging Basket Class schedules at MRN next spring, taught by the local experts, Greg and Tamara Clift. Perhaps gardeners from Victoria, BC are now coming to Walterville for floral inspiration, thanks to the dedication and generosity of McKenzie River Nursery.

Image above: Lyndell Cane and Greg Clift were following their annual Fall routine recently, taking down hanging baskets in Walterville.


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