Volunteers needed to keep Bristol blooming

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Wanted: volunteer who cares about beautifying Bristol and is willing to donate a couple hours a week to the cause. Morning person preferred.

"That's the problem… we need people who want to get up early," said Ray Massey, a volunteer with Bristol Blooms, the non-profit organization responsible for the flower baskets hanging from the historic lamp posts throughout downtown Bristol.

The baskets have been blooming with begonias, petunias and lobelia since they were hung along Hope, State and Bradford streets in early June. They've been thriving all summer long, and that's not because they've been left on their own. A small group of volunteers have been regularly caring for the baskets, no small job considering there are 140 hanging throughout downtown.

The biggest job is keeping the plants watered. The plants are watered every day, beginning at 5:30 a.m. A group of business owners and residents do the job Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Mr. Massey and a volunteer from the town Parks and Recreation Department water the flowers Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday using the Parks and Recreation water truck. They spend about two hours and 150 gallons of water giving the flowers a drink. Other volunteers from the group help as well, but a second dedicated team on their three days would make maintaining the baskets easier, Mr. Massey said.

"If we had two teams, that would be great. We could work on schedules," said Mr. Massey. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Stan Dimock, who has also been helping water the plants all summer long, at 401-644-4268.

The participation of volunteers is what has allowed the beautification project to take place in the first place, Town Administrator Antonio Teixeira has said. “It’s been a whole community effort. We’re very appreciative. This is a great endeavor that beautifies the downtown area,” he said.

In addition to watering volunteers, Bristol Blooms is continually seeking money to keep the project going year after year. Residents are invited to “adopt a lantern,” and individual donations can also be made to Bristol Blooms. Email bristolblooms@gmail.com or visit the organization’s Facebook page for more information.

bristol blooms

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.