Flower baskets are up again

by:  J. BRIAN MONIHAN Ian Monihan, left, and Kyle Lair throw a flower basket onto a lifter held by Luke Ritchie.

While many local residents slept in this past Saturday morning, close to 50 volunteers hung 170 flower baskets by 8 a.m. throughout Lake Grove and downtown Lake Oswego.

Now in its 21st year, Lake Oswego's Village Basket Program continues to brighten Lake Oswego with beautiful hanging flower baskets that will soon be in full bloom throughout the summer and hopefully until fall.

The Village Basket program is funded through community donations and is managed and organized through the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce. The program costs $70,000 a year, which covers the purchase of almost 250 baskets (some were put up by the city) and the daily watering necessary to keep the plants alive and in bloom.

Baskets are provided by the Garden Corner in Tualatin. Each contains 18 different plant combinations. The baskets need to be watered daily because the leaves on the plants prevent the rain from soaking the baskets thoroughly. Without daily watering the baskets would die.

The program was fortunate to have a carry-over from last year to cushion the amount of funds needed to keep the baskets up all summer. The chamber flower basket committee is working hard to do the same for next year.

'We still need to raise $15,000 this year to provide the same level of seed money for next year,' said Michele Baker, chair of the Lake Oswego Flower Basket Committee.

According to Baker, the volunteers were a mix of seasoned veterans (some having hung baskets for 10 years) and newbies. She said the energy level for the group was high even though some had to get up at 4 a.m. to start the basket hanging process.

After a few hours of lifting 35- pound baskets manually, all the volunteers were treated to a thank you breakfast courtesy of Mike Buck and Gubanc's Pub and Restaurant.

To learn more about the Village Basket Program a Facebook page has been set up, complete with photos and information. You can also go to the Lake Oswego Chamber website, http://lake-oswego.com/village-flower-baskets.htm.

People interested in making a donation can still do so by sending a tax-deductible contribution to the Lake Oswego Chamber Village Basket Program, P.O. Box 368, Lake Oswego, OR 97034. People can also stop by the chamber office to make a donation as well. Volunteers will also be accepting donations at the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market this weekend.