May 21 2018 10:22 AM

Capitol Flower Planting Day at the Capitol is underway

TUESDAY, MAY 22 — The front walkway towards the Capitol building will be getting extra color this morning.

Around 9,000 to 10,000 red, orange and yellow flowers will be planted along the sidewalk that leads to the main stairs of the Michigan State Capitol building from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Barb Thumudo, of the Michigan Capitol Commission, and Josh Risner, a Capitol artist, design the look of the flowerbeds every year, choosing the colors and flowers used. The annual event has been going on for over 20 years.

Thumudo said this year the color scheme of this project will be filled with reds, oranges and yellows. She said the flowers chosen were marigolds, verbenas, begonias and celosias.

The process used to plant the flowers is an old-fashioned way called carpet bedding. From a distance or above there will be a pattern visible formed with the flowers, which makes the flowers look like a carpet.

“This is a Victorian way of planting that fits with the style of the building,” Thumudo said.

The task of planting all of the flowers will take about four hours, with the help of staff and around 40 volunteers.

“The hardest part is the pre-planning,” Thumudo said.

The day before planting Thumudo is out with staff putting color-coded cocktail straws where the same colored flowers will go the next day. Thumudo said they have the pattern pre-made on a vinyl sheet that has holes in it and set it up on the flower beds. She said her and her staff then place the cocktail straws through the holes to mark the correct places and then lift the vinyl sheet off, leaving the cocktail straws behind.

Thumudo said the process that is done the day before makes the actual planting go by quicker, with staff and volunteers having to just replace red cocktail straws with red flowers and so on.

“All plants are donated by the Kalamazoo Flower Group, who donate about 10,000 every year,” Thumudo said.