How a “Grimy Smelter Town” Burst into Bloom

“Trail was a dirty, grimy smelter town just a few years ago – and now it is a garden city,” he says.

Situated on the Columbia River in the West Kootenay region of interior B.C., Trail experienced its own Cinderella-like transition when it won a Communities in Bloom (CiB) award at last summer’s competition in the 5,001 to 10,000 population category. Other 2006 winners from our province included Armstrong, Parksville, Prince George,
Kamloops, Kelowna and Summerland.

Chair of Trail’s CiB committee, Dan says the award came as a welcome shock to many residents as this was the first time the community had entered the national competition. He’s quick to credit the win to the many volunteers – at least 80 per cent of Trail’s citizens contributed to the effort – and to gardener Bill Garnet, the “brain” behind the many floral displays.

Bill’s secret to success was to pick one simple theme and stick with it throughout the town’s many displays. He chose magenta as the predominate hue, complemented by shades of yellow and pink. Among the favoured flowers were magenta Supertunias, ‘Bristol Cream’ dahlias, ‘Irish Eyes’ rudbeckias, ‘White Profusion’ zinnas, ‘Yellow Disco’ marigolds and ‘Magenta Orbit’ geraniums.

Clustering patio pots and repeating the same plantings were also key. “If you plant every pot the same, it will make a powerful statement,” says Bill.