Village employees and some elected officials will roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty next weekend to make downtown Canal Winchester a little more colorful.

Village employees and some elected officials will roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty next weekend to make downtown Canal Winchester a little more colorful.

On May 7, employees will gather at the street department for Canal Winchester's annual Potting Day.

After a Potting Day potluck meal, municipal staffers will begin filling planters and baskets with dirt and flowers.

Urban forester Dick Miller said workers will plant 150 hanging baskets, 13 three-foot planters, 10 two-foot planters, and a dozen 14-inch pots. Each basket, planter and pot will be filled with wine and purple Wave petunias, Miller said.

"We pot them May 7 and they sit on the ground and grow for three weeks," Miller said. "We put them out downtown on the last week of May, about a week before Memorial Day. We don't have a greenhouse facility to push things. A lot of other communities have a greenhouse. We have to pot according to Old Man Frost."

The 130 hanging baskets will be placed along High Street from Columbus Street to the railroad tracks, and on Waterloo Street from Pfeifer Drive east to Trine Street.

Flowers will be concentrated at Stradley Place and the historical marker near where the canal once flowed through the village. The flowers will stay until about Labor Day, he said.

"You have to go with the stuff that holds color throughout the summer," he said.

The aesthetic touch of downtown flowers is not lost on residents and visitors, Miller said.

"People appreciate it. It helps draw people into the old part of town," he said. "People drive through here and say, 'wow, have you seen Canal Winchester?' It's a feather in our cap."

Mayor Mike Ebert, who will help lead Potting Day, agrees.

"People look forward to seeing them," Ebert said of the baskets and pots.

"You'd be surprised at how many compliments we get. A lot of people think we take them down too soon."

Public works director Matt Peoples said he and his crew will use backhoes and Bobcats to move the larger planters into downtown later in May.

"We get so many good compliments on the flowers I can't see not doing it," Peoples said. "We work with the Street Tree Advisory Board to plant the hanging flowers and potted flowers. It adds some color and character downtown."

Peoples said eventually, he'd like to see hanging flowers along West Waterloo Street from downtown to Gender Road.

"We have 150 lights on Waterloo Street (on which flower baskets could be hung). It's a gateway to downtown," he said.

Ebert and Peoples said they like Potting Day not only for the aesthetics, but for the camaraderie. All village staff members participate.

"It gets everyone in the village working together," Ebert said. "It seems like the only time all of the staff gets together is when we have a health care meeting or our Christmas dinner."

In contrast, he said Potting Day is "a fun time."

"We all get together and get our hands dirty," Peoples said. "Some employees don't see each other on a regular basis. The mayor is out there planting flowers. It's fun."