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By Eric Marshall
Special to the News 

City's Horticulture Department Kicks up the Charm for Lake Wales

New Landscapes Part of Lake Wales Connected Plan

 

Last updated 3/18/2022 at 11:27am

Robert Connors

New flowering magnolia trees will soon grace Lakeshore Boulevard.

Some 300 Florida native plants and 1,052 Florida friendly plants have been planted in select areas by the City of Lake Wales Horticulture Department, and more are on the way, part of the city's new emphasis on reclaiming its original status as "a City in a Garden."

New plants are now gracing various parts of the city including the Stuart Avenue and Scenic Highway parking lot, downtown Linear Park and the Lake Wales Family YMCA.

"We're kicking up the charm in the city," Lake Wales Horticulturist Lester Gulledge said. "This is the first of many upcoming horticulture projects." Gulledge, a certified arborist, is responsible for the City's first all-inclusive tree assessment policy that has preserved healthy trees and identified unhealthy trees for removal.

The plantings are part of the City's Lake Wales Connected Plan - a community-based vision for the future. The plan focuses heavily on the integration of trees and multiuse trails in the city.

The horticulture department plans to landscape the new 3,000-foot Park Avenue Connector Trail upon its completion this fall. Landscape design plans for the trail include new cathedral live oaks, flowering perennials and ornamental grasses.

Robert Connors

Native groundcover flowers are part of landscaping plans for Lake Wales

"Many of the plants we use attract pollinators," Gulledge said. "We want our plants to flourish. Birds, butterflies and bees transfer tiny grains of pollen among plants, helping the growth of flowers," he added.

The horticulture department also plans to install 125 trees along Rails to Trails, a multiuse trail that runs between Scenic Highway and Buck Moore Road.

"It's exciting to see progress being made," Assistant to the City Manager Michael Manning said. "We're paying homage to the city's original visionaries and landscape architects led by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr."

The city's efforts go hand-in-hand with those of Lake Wales Heritage, which will soon be installing 30 magnolia trees along Lakeshore Boulevard.

 

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