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The signs of spring are passing through Wels

The signs of spring are passing through Wels
“Spring is colorful” is the city gardening motto when it comes to color.
Image: City of Wels

They are the real messengers of spring in Wels: the employees of the city gardening department who are currently planting the beds in the public squares. Unlike in other cities, there is no strict color scheme, explains Christoph Haslmayr, head of the city gardening department: “Spring is colorful, that has proven itself in the past and is very popular with people.”

The magnificent beds that Wels is widely known for require a lot of work. For two weeks, the gardeners have been decorating the city with the “alternating floral” – the planting that is created anew every year. 84 beds and flower troughs – the majority in the city center – are designed in this way with around 75,000 flowers. The most prominent example is the “flower vortex” in the castle garden. “It’s very time-consuming, not just when planting, but also when it comes to care,” says Haslmayr.

The 45 employees in the gardening team work on the beds all over the city – one of them is Marlene Sturm. She is taking part for the fifth time this year and she enjoys the work: “We can design the individual beds ourselves and get involved creatively.” The working day begins at 6 a.m. After a meeting, the gardeners stream to their locations. They usually travel in teams of three, with one driver regularly bringing supplies of flowers from the company’s own greenhouses. “It’s tiring, but we take turns with the tasks so that it doesn’t become too much. And when I’m out and about on my own and I walk past a bed that’s mine, I’m always a little proud,” says Sturm .

Trend towards permanent planting

However, the elaborate decorative beds with the alternating flowers, which are first planted in spring and changed in summer, only make up a relatively small part of the area that the city gardening department looks after: its employees also maintain the parks in the districts. The trend there is increasingly towards permanent planting with perennials and wildflower meadows.

Not only do they need less care. “As a climate alliance company, we strive for sustainability. These types of planting are more resilient to drought and need to be watered less often,” explains Haslmayr. Wildflowers in particular would also promote biodiversity. “They also look good, which makes them attractive in terms of design,” says the city gardener. But the magnificent beds will not disappear: “The changing flower is an important part of the garden culture, the care of which is one of our tasks.”

The demands on urban green spaces have changed in recent years, and not just in terms of sustainability, says the city gardener: “A modern park has to be able to do a lot more than it was 50 years ago. For example, the season used to end in November, but now people almost use the park all year round,” says Haslmayr.

The city gardening team will be planting the spring flowers until the middle of the week, at the same time the permanent planting will be brought into shape. “The nice thing about gardening is that people appreciate our work and often praise us. That’s motivating,” says Haslmayr.

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