Rob Barbor is a horticulturist with a degree from West Virginia University. Using sub-irrigated planters (SIPs aka "self-watering") he has worked some landscaping magic for the small town of Buckhannon, West Virginia (est population 5,700).
The flower displays shown in these photos are spectacular. He is using organic methods (no pesticides) for environmental reasons but the quality of these plants is due primarily to the on-demand water provided by the SIPs.
He and his crew are doing a superb job of maintaining flowering displays that are far above the quality I have seen anywhere in the country, including California where the climate is much more benign than West Virgina's.
I am curious as to whether he learned about SIPs in school or on his own. In any case, Mr. Barbor could get a top-notch horticultural job anywhere in the country if he chose to. We could certainly use his talents here in Balboa Park, San Diego.
BUCKHANNON — Rob Barbor peered through the leaves, and bent down to get a closer look. The dark green foliage flowing over the flower bed made it hard to see.
Cars passed by the horticulturist as he reached one hand in the undergrowth and lifted the plant’s vines up with the other. Brushing away some soil, he found what he was looking for — a little sweet potato, practically hidden in the dark earth.
“You can see them,” he said, smiling. He stood back up, satisfied.
That was just one of the many ornamental sweet potato plants successfully producing in the flower beds, hanging baskets and planters that Barbor has scattered across Buckhannon. This particular potato was hiding in a round, raised flower bed outside of City Hall at the end of September. Its long vines covered in hearty dark leaves complimented the bed’s pink sunpatiens and white vinca. A spider plant with tall, wispy flowers in light pink and dark purple provided the final compliment to colorfully frame the city building’s entrance.
The name of this horticultural program?
“Beautify Buckhannon,” Barbor offered on the spot. It’s a common mission in the commercial horticulture industry, but Barbor’s approach is challenging the norm. Read more...