Youngsters take part in Petunia Pandemonium

Bothwell Middle School seventh-graders, from left, Lucas Belkowski, Brady Quinnell and Brody Lemire plant flowers on Friday afternoon along South Front Street as part of this year’s Petunia Pandemonium. Community planting was to continue today. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — The southern gateway to Marquette already has gotten a little brighter.

Area youngsters kicked off the 33rd annual Petunia Pandemonium, put on by the Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee, Inc., on Friday along South Front Street.

Barb Kelly, Petunia Pandemonium chairperson, helped guide the youngsters, which included seventh-graders from Bothwell Middle School who worked along South Front as well as 4- and 5-year-old youngsters from Marquette Hope, who planted flowers in Father Marquette Park.

And there were many types of flowers that, if all goes to plan, will grace the area this summer because of the event. According to Kelly, they include dusty miller, petunias, cosmos, salvias, new varieties of grass, chartreuse-colored coleus, sweet potato vine, lobularia, impatiens and others.

It probably was a lot of fun for the middle schoolers to get out of class on a sunny day, but Petunia Pandemonium likely had a bigger purpose for them.

“Planting is a fairly simple process of digging,” Kelly said, but she noted it also comes with the satisfaction of watching plants grow and children of any age realizing they can do something for their community that makes people happy.

In fact, everybody who drives into Marquette sees the flowers, she said.

“People plan their weddings around it,” Kelly said of Petunia Pandemonium. “They’ll call me and say, ‘When are the petunias going in this year?'”

The Bothwell youngsters adapted what they learned from Kelly’s talk and, armed with their trowels and bottles of water, got to work putting the flowers in the ground.

“It’s pretty great planting flowers,” said Lucas Belkowski, a Bothwell student, who noted the activity would be part of his National Junior Honor Society efforts.

The MBRC doesn’t expect to conduct Petunia Pandemonium in 2022 because of planned road work on South Front, but it still needs to raise money to replace the water system that will largely be destroyed during the road project.

The committee plans to conduct its famous Garden Tour this summer, but tax-deductible contributions supporting the committee’s efforts also can be mailed to MBRC, P.O. Box 334, Marquette, MI 49855, or donated at mqtbeautification.org.

Petunia Pandemonium was to continue today with the community involved in planting flowers.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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