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Article updated: 5/8/2013 4:20 PM

Flower Power Planting Party -- can you dig it?

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By Jeff Long

Spring is blossoming into full bloom now, with vibrant waves of color splashed everywhere -- from summer clothing to beach towels.

The Fox Valley Park District adds to this yearly collage of color, planting more than 20,000 annual flowers throughout the park system each year.

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It is a love worth sharing, which the park district will do again this season with its Flower Power Planting Parties. From 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, groups of volunteer planting teams -- perhaps you included -- will take to the gardens in front of the Eola Community Center and Vaughan Athletic Center to roll up their sleeves and celebrate planting season.

Party favors will include begonias, petunias, salvia and zinnias -- gorgeous annuals that will sparkle with color all summer once they're planted.

Park district greenhouse staff will be on hand to provide their expertise, garden tools and thousands of earth-ready flowers. There will be no shortage of opportunities for all volunteers to plant, and no experience is required.

But this is more than just plunking plants into a hole in the ground. Greenhouse staff will provide valuable tips on proper planting techniques that assure these flower beds grow to their full potential and maintain their vibrancy all the way until the first frost next fall when football season and Halloween are front and center.

Consider it a free workshop that will explain the art of planting and caring for beautiful gardens of annual flowers. All the knowledge and experience gleaned from this community event will come in handy at home.

Follow those tips, and you'll no longer have to keep up with the Joneses -- they'll be trying to keep up with you. Also, all volunteers will receive a complimentary annual to take home and plant.

"People often ask 'How can I create a flower bed like that at home?' and we're happy to give them a little green thumb advice," said greenhouse supervisor Helen Wohlfeil. "With every new flower that's planted, our communities become that much more beautiful."

Wohlfeil was thrilled with last year's turnout that included several Girl Scout troops and children planters eager to get their hands in the dirt and their plants in the ground.

"Giving kids an appreciation for nature and planting at a young age is a great way to start them out," said Wohlfeil. "It makes them very proud to plant something, nurture it and watch it grow."

To be a part of the Flower Power Planting Parties and sign up for a location, contact Debbie Smith at (630) 966-4555 or dsmith@fvpd.net.

• Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at jlong@fvpd.net

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