‘The Flower Lady’ tends summer streets’ blooming baskets
School’s out, fireflies are blinking in the warm dark nights, and the flower lady is out on Main Street.
Spencer Moore and her faithful dog, Biscuit, are again riding around on their converted golf cart, watering the flower baskets that hang from street-lamps, spreading the nurturing spirit of gardening, fostering blossom and bloom, letting all the village know summer is in full sway.
“It’s part of summer: Riding out, visiting, keeping plants alive,” Moore said. “But it just keeps growing.”
Usually she waters the village baskets in the morning, and the baskets along Route 35 in the Copps Hill area during the afternoon.
“All in all, it’s 196 baskets. It’s almost a full-time job,” she said.
“Long term, I think I need to have a partner I can split it up with.”
A new series of flower baskets has recently been added on the east side of Route 35 and in nearby parking lots by the landlords of the commercial properties there.
“They added 30 baskets,” Moore said.
Watering the flowers is seasonal, of course. “Memorial Day through end of September,” she said.
The flower baskets come from Hollandia Nursery in Bethel.
“The nursery likes to come check on me,” Moore said. “They’re perfectionists, and that why we use them. They don’t like it when the baskets go dry.
“So, I have to stay on my toes,” she added. “Flowers are a big investment.”
The flower program has been budgeted at $25,000 annually the last couple of years. But actual costs run a little less, according to Controller Kevin Redmond.
“Flowers cost about $10,000 and watering costs about $12,000 a year — could be less if we get a lot of rain,” Redmond said. “We expect about $2,500 from landlords towards the cost of the flowers.”
Moore gets budget support from the First Selectman Rudy Marconi, works with Tree Warden John Pinchbeck in ordering the flowers baskets from Hollandia, and gets a hand from the guys at the highway department when needed.
“It’s a real team effort between Rudy, John Pinchbeck and the town garage,” she said.
“I had a problem with the pump. And I just show up at the town garage and they drop everything and help me.”
Bed for Biscuit
Moore and her watering companion, Biscuit, who’s now 13, get other support, too.
“Mike Zap, the handyman, he made this bed for Biscuit. He was such a sweetheart,” Moore said.
Zapp puts hooks up for new baskets, and adding the dog bed to her watering cart was his suggestion.
“He said ‘Oh, my gosh, I have to make a bed for Biscuit!’”