Downtown Black Mountain Gets a New Look

Downtown Black Mountain Gets a New Look

Photo by Barbara Reed

A two-year project spearheaded by the Black Mountain Beautification Committee (BMBC) has culminated in a new look for downtown Black Mountain. Thirty-two new plant containers have appeared on State Street, Sutton Avenue, Cherry Street and Broadway Avenue. The containers are part of BMBC’s effort to create a more consistent theme throughout the downtown area.“When a town has attractive streetscapes, I think it reflects well on the community,” says Rhonda Reedy, chair of publicity for the BMBC. “The containers provide a nice entrance and introduce tourists to the town in an eye-appealing manner.”

The planters were constructed of cedar and stained by local resident Walter Tolley. Each planter is accented with decorative metal straps created by metal artists Julia Burr and Dan and Tekla Howachyn. “People in town like that the artwork on each planter is unique,” says Libba Fairleigh, co-chair of the Consistent Look Committee, a subcommittee of BMBC. Not only are the designs of the containers themselves very different from one another, but the plants within the containers are different as well. “What grows well on Cherry Street might not grow as well on sunny Broadway,” Fairleigh says. “Most containers are anchored by a variety of conifers while some have canna lilies and grasses. Designers have used reliable, drought-tolerant plants including sweet potato vines, summer petunia, marigolds and zinnias.” Suitable plant designs will be installed twice a year to meet the seasonal growing requirement.

All planters are watered using the Sub Irrigation Planter (SIP) system, in which water is wicked from a reservoir at the bottom of the container. The SIP system was chosen over top-watered containers for its ease of maintenance: the SIP reservoir is filled just once a week.

In August, the Town of Black Mountain, in coordination with the BMBC, was awarded a state grant to expand upon this project. “The committee will be working closely with the town to determine how to use the money, which will include more planters on downtown streets, benches and trees,” says Reedy.

For more information about the container project or the Black Mountain Beautification Committee, visit

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