The Villages Flower Show
While recently driving around The Villages entertaining out-of-town guests, they commented on the beautiful flowers and landscaping. I enjoyed discussing how much pride we take in our community and how the beauty of The Villages is like no other. I explained that in The Villages, District Property Management’s landscape division oversees the installation, maintenance, and removal of more than 1.6 million annuals each year. The District currently has 5 contractors that provide this service throughout The Villages.
The flowers are changed out quarterly. The change-outs occur in January, April, July, and October. Winter annuals are installed in January and are picked based on their ability to withstand freeze and frost damage. The spring and fall selections are usually the most colorful due to mild temperatures, and the summer selections are picked based on their ability to withstand the harsh temperatures and wet soils that come along with seasonal rainfall.
The District landscape contractors choose the flower varieties from an approved list of species that have proven to work well in Central Florida and The Villages. The selections must be decided at least 3 months before the change-out occurs. Some of the flowers selected take longer to germinate than others. All of the flowers start in a humidity/temperature-controlled unit. The time in this unit depends on the type of flower, but some of these flowers will need to be in this unit for up to 7 weeks. The 2nd unit they will enter is not temperature-controlled but still has protection from the elements. They will remain in this unit for up to 3 weeks or until they are healthy enough to be transferred to 4” pots. Once transferred to a 4” pot they are put into a 3rd unit to continue growing. Once the flowers have reached an appropriate size they are moved outside and placed under a simple mesh netting. The flowers will have spent between 2.5 to 3 months at the nursery before being picked up by the contractor.
The landscape division requires that all annual beds be maintained in a fashion to allow for a full, colorful appearance at all times throughout the year. Beds must be kept free of spent flowers, weeds, and debris. Shrubs and turf surrounding the color beds must be trimmed to keep from encroachment on the color beds since not maintaining the surrounding material would reduce the size of the annual beds over time. All of The Villages’ annual beds have an as-built that lets our contractors know how many flowers should be planted in the bed, the irrigation zone that controls the flower bed, and the type of plant material in the surrounding area.
Frequently, I am asked why are the flowers different in all areas of The Villages? The Villages design intent is to have different types of annuals as you travel throughout the community. As you travel around the 77 square miles of The Villages be sure to marvel at the magnificent colors and enjoy the flower show.