Downtown Flower Project#
The City of Fort Collins Parks Department is proud to present the Downtown Flower Project. The Parks Department works diligently to provide and maintain the flower beds in Downtown Fort Collins. The beautiful and memorable displays take a great deal of planning, partnerships with local organizations, sustainable and environmentally friendly efforts, and provide a sense of place to the Fort Collins community.
Planning, Sourcing & Design#
The Downtown Flower Project is refreshed annually with the thoughtful care and consideration of the Parks Department Horticulture Team. The Horticulture Team works diligently to plan the flower beds throughout the downtown Fort Collins area, they source specific flowers and plants from local growers, and expertly design all flower beds and pots.
45,000 Flowers & Plants#
About 45,000 flowers and greenery are planted each summer by Parks staff, and placed throughout Downtown Fort Collins.
270 Different Species#
Keep your eyes out for some of our unique flowers planted including Digiplexis Illumination Flame, Tea Cup Elephant Ear, Meteor Shower Verbena, Venti Light Rose Dahlia, and Truffula Pink Gomphrena.
The Downtown Flower Project is funded through a partnership between the City of Fort Collins and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
- Annual flowers in Old Town Square are funded through a partnership with the DDA. Two-thirds of the funding comes from the DDA, and one-third from the City of Fort Collins Parks Department.
- Annual flowers in enhanced downtown alleys are funded by the DDA.
- Annual flowers in downtown public right-of-way such as Linden Street, College Avenue, Oak Street Plaza, and downtown side streets are funded through the City of Fort Collins Parks Department.
Where do the flowers come from?#
Flowers are sourced locally from nearby greenhouse, Plantorium. A few common species of flowers included in displays are Dahlias, Petunias, Coleus, Calibrachoa, Petchoa, Zinnia, Strawflower, Canna, Verbena, and Gomphrena.
Did you know?#
The Parks Department collaborates with Colorado State University’s Horticulture and Landscape Architecture team to select the best varieties of plants. Each season, staff from the Parks Department visit the nearby Annual Flower Trial Garden and choose flowers that are grown for optimum performance in Colorado’s climate. Learn more about the Annual Flower Trial Garden online here.
Want a sneak peak of our design process?#
The Horticulture Team follows the design principle, Thrill, Fill, and Spill on each flower pot. "Thrill" indicates the larger, showstopping plants in the center of the pot. "Fill" points to the plants that help fill out the center and provide structure for the overall design. Then, "Spill" showcases the plants that make up the edge of the design and expand past the perimeter of the flower pot.
The image below shows a table and the corresponding color circles mapping out how plants are placed in a flower pot.
This particular design is used in 30 pots throughout Downtown Fort Collins.
Most plants in the Downtown Flower Project are grown in Ellepots. Ellepots are plant holders made from environmentally-friendly paper, suitable for propagation.
Ellepots eliminate excess plastic containers, allow plants to take root more quickly, and reduce staff time required for planting.
From water usage to compost efforts and everything in between, the Parks Department ensures every possible effort is as sustainably friendly as possible. Learn more with the expandable topics below.
Hazel Dell Mushroom Compost#
The Parks Department mixes Hazel Dell Mushroom Compost into each and every flower bed in the Downtown area. The compost is derived from a mushroom substrate, primarily hardwood sawdust. The best news is that there's no manure so Downtown Fort Collins is left smelling fresh and clean.
Nuance Cacao Husks#
Smell something chocolatey in Downtown Fort Collins? It might be the mulch in the flower beds! Each bed is filled with a mixture of cacao husks which act as a fantastic all natural fertilizer.
Less Plastic Waste#
Almost all plants you see in Downtown Fort Collins are grown in an Ellepot. Ellepots cut back on plastic and are a completely natural and biodegradable container for growing seedlings into the beautiful plants you see today.
Also, all plastic trays and containers that are used for plant delivery are returned to Plantorium after initial planting.
The Parks Department's expertise of water efficiency results in a healthy and thriving plant environment in Downtown Fort Collins. With several key combined factors including - the development of soil structure and health, the fertilization process, and the daily care via deadheading, pruning, and weeding - plants are provided with the appropriate water they need to thrive in the Downtown Fort Collins environment.
All in-ground flower beds throughout Downtown Fort Collins have been converted to a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation delivers water directly to the roots of the plant, eliminating overspray and reducing water loss.
Impact & Importance#
When someone comes to visit Fort Collins, where do you take them? Downtown of course!
While wandering downtown you'll notice a strong resemblance to Disneyland's Main Street USA - we’re proud to say that it is modeled after our very own Downtown Fort Collins. The alleys have European-style walkways with potted flowers and lighting to make the experience beautiful. Streets a lined with nature including stunning flower beds and trees most of which are maintained by the Parks Department.
The sense of place and community-centeredness provided by the Downtown Flower Project is part of what makes Fort Collins so beautiful and memorable.
Insects, Birds & Bees - oh my!#
Flowers attract all sorts of pollinators through their vibrant colors, distinct scents, and various shapes. Insects, birds, butterflies, bats, and bees are common pollinators we see frequenting the flower beds of Downtown Fort Collins.
Thousands of Visitors#
Aside from the pollinator communities that visit the flowers, thousands of people frequent the 500+ shops and restaurants of Downtown Fort Collins every summer. The flowers are a special and welcome addition to those enjoying the Downtown area.
Colorado State University (CSU)#
CSU's Horticulture and Landscape Architecture team's research provides direction and ideas to the Parks Department to assist with the planning and development of flower bed design. The Trial Gardens, hosted by CSU, is an integral part of the planning process. Learn more about the Annual Flower Trial Garden online here.
Local Small Businesses#
Nuance Chocolate donates cacao husks to the Parks Department, which serve as a great source of fertilization for the Downtown Flower Project. They also improve soil conditions and structure in the flower beds.
USDA-certified organic mushroom compost is purchased from local business, Hazel Dell Mushrooms. This compost is 100% weed and animal manure free!
Plantorium Greenhouse & Nursery is a family-owned and operated greenhouse just north of Fort Collins. They have been working with the Parks Department for over 15 years.