The city says tree and flower planting will go ahead with precautions to protect city staff from COVID-19. That means 230,000 municipal flowers are destined for the garden rather than the compost heap. Most Hamilton
parks and boulevard gardens will bloom this summer despite the city’s pandemic pause.
Hamilton’s emergency operations team has announced the resumption of “limited” municipal services in May after six weeks of COVID-19 shutdown — including carefully distanced gardening and landscape work.
That’s probably a relief for city horticultural staff waiting to hear the pandemic fate of about 230,000 young plants and flowers they’ve nurtured for months in municipal greenhouses.
Some private greenhouse growers have been forced to give away plants for free — or just dump them in the compost — during a provincewide COVID-19 safety shutdown on many businesses.
But Mayor Fred Eisenberger said green-thumbed city workers will be back on the job this week, “employing all the necessary physical-distancing measures to keep our staff safe.” The news comes as the province also allows community gardens to reopen with strict safety rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The city’s goal is to plant around 70 per cent of roadside beds, park gardens and hanging floral baskets across the city, if the weather and COVID-19 allow.
There are around 280 municipal gardens along streets, in traffic islands and roundabouts alone, let alone hanging baskets and park plantings.
It’s still unclear whether the city will be able to hire its normal roster of summer students who usually pitch in for horticultural work like planting roadside gardens, however.
Tree-planting in parks and along city streets is also expected to go ahead, but with work not starting until June.