Spring marks return of famous C-shaped iris garden, tree blossoms
May 9, 2018
Omaha Central High School may be the most beautiful public high school in the state. Much of this is thanks to the building’s neo-classical architecture. But when the weather gets warm, Central becomes a landscaping hub not often seen downtown.
The school has grounds keeper David Morlan to thank for the past 23 years of outdoor maintenance on the many acres of Central. He works with head engineer Debra Bolas to make sure that the school has all the materials and equipment needed to boost the botany in the spring. Once the weather gets nice, the first thing to do is cut back overgrowing plants and pick up the beds. There is usually no plan for this end-of-the-year planting, allowing them to make the grounds as special as they can.
“We go with what we like,” Bolas said. “We do order the purple and white wave petunias in advance that hang down in front of the south porch.”
It’s these prideful flower baskets and the well-known “C” iris garden that makes Central’s grounds stand out.
Along with the petunias, Morlan and Bolas mulch and fertilize the flower beds, including the memorial garden. The also aerate the grounds and lay grass seed. There are many flowers that come back every year, as well, including sedum, Stella D’Oro lilies, knockout roses, midnight salvia and irises.
Of course, while school is still in session, these emerging flowers and the rest of the plants on campus are at risk of being trampled by students.
“We try to block of areas once school is out to give the areas time to heal themselves,” Bolas said. “We usually will not plant flowers until school is almost out for the summer and then work on the lawn.”
Central truly does have wonderful garden beds created by wonderful people. But, it can be hard to appreciate that when flowers are crushed and grass is brown. Ways to help make the gardening and landscaping look its best? “Please walk on the sidewalks,” Bolas said. “The grass and flowers are for everyone to enjoy and they make this downtown high look awesome. We work really hard on providing a space [where] students and staff can relax and smell the roses.”