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Beauty all around us

8/5/2014

On a recent afternoon, my husband, Lyn, and I decided to take a drive to enjoy some of the flowers growing in Hays. We observed several beautiful residential yards and especially enjoyed the colorful flowers in front of the Ellis County Historical Society at Main and Seventh.

On a recent afternoon, my husband, Lyn, and I decided to take a drive to enjoy some of the flowers growing in Hays. We observed several beautiful residential yards and especially enjoyed the colorful flowers in front of the Ellis County Historical Society at Main and Seventh.

We admired the colorful planters situated on the sidewalks in the business district along Main Street and the interesting (and instructive) drought tolerant plantings located in front of City Hall at 1507 Main.

We then toured Frontier Park, at the intersection of Main and the U.S. Highway 183 bypass, where on the east side one sees Russian sage and Slack-eyed Susan, two of my favorite perennials for our more arid area. More colorful flowers grace the entry of Frontier Park on the west side of Main. We then ventured to Ekey Park, located at Holmes and 18th, where we again observed Russian sage planted with knockout roses along with numerous day lilies that were blooming on that day.

Sunrise Park, located at 29th and Lawrence, features numerous plantings of ornamental grasses, as well as a planting of colorful geraniums. Elizabeth Polly Park, located west of Indian Trail between 26th and 27th streets (east of Centennial Towers), contains several attractive beds near the statue of Elizabeth Polly. This provides a serene quiet place to walk and enjoy nature. We finished our tour observing the lovely flower beds, located in Seven Hills Park on the north side of 33rd Street along Canal Street, and the especially colorful and beautiful bed that is found at the intersection just south of 33rd on Canal Street as well.

These are just a few of the locations around our city where we all have the opportunity to "stop and smell the flowers" and enjoy the hard work of the people who work for the city of Hays Parks Department -- especially Jo Ann Schroller. I encourage you to take an afternoon or an evening to observe these beautiful flower beds and the many opportunities for relaxation that are available in your city parks.

As one travels around this area of Kansas this summer, it is so refreshing to see water in the ponds and the green pastures that were not so green or ponds so full in recent years. Since experiencing a wetter than normal June, we need to be aware our area is a long way from receiving the moisture needed to replenish our water resources. As of 8 a.m. July 28, the Hays area is 0.66 inches above normal for the year thanks to the rainfall received during June. However, rainfall totals are 0.56 inches below normal for July.

When examining the drought period from January 2011 through July 28, the Hays area still is 12.66 inches below normal. Even if our area were to receive the needed moisture to replenish our rainfall deficit, the Hays area is located in a more arid area of Kansas that requires us to be responsible in the ways we use our valuable water resources.

For questions or comments regarding anything discussed in this article, contact the parks department at (785) 628-7375.

Janis Lee is vice chairwoman of the Hays Beautification Committee.

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