In 2015, the committee created a consistent look plan throughout downtown by using locally made plant containers. They had to be easy to maintain, create beautiful focal points year around, withstand the elements, created locally and tie in elements from local artists.
The containers were constructed with a SIP (Sub Irrigation Planter) System. This SIP holds approximately 4 gallons of water that Public Works fills weekly. The SIP System is designed to create a reservoir in the bottom of the planter and which gradually wicks up through the soil to water the roots of the established plants (hand watering from the top was also required after planting until the roots were established).There is also an ‘overflow’ drain so planters don’t just fill up in the case of heavy rainfall.
Currently there are 42 planters throughout the historic district. Some of the planters were constructed of cedar by Walter Tolley and then stained. Each planter is accented with decorative metal “straps” created by three local metal artists, Julia Burr and Dan and Tekla Howachyn.
Many aspects were taken into consideration when selecting the location for each planter such as ADA regulations, on-street parking and the opening of car doors, loading zones, current placement of rockers and benches, water meters, flag poles and merchants established flower pots and their desire to have a planter in front of their business.
While every container includes an evergreen centerpiece surrounded by perennials, annuals and bulbs, the actual selection of specific plants were determined based on which side of the street they are located, sun exposure, water requirements and the individual designer’s preferences. By varying the plant heights, foliage colors and blooms the members have made each container a work of art for residents to enjoy and to welcome visitors year around.
Materials and construction of the planters, the decorative iron work as well as all plants for both phases were paid for by the Black Mountain Beautification Committee and the Town of Black Mountain.