Edible herbs popping up in planters around Iowa City downtown

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) — It’s a new way to interact and utilize the environment in public spaces, planters containing edible greenery such as rosemary are popping up around Iowa City’s downtown for the second year in a row.

The planters are specifically packed with a wide variety of plants that can be used for tea-making, according to assistant Parks Superintendent, Tyler Braid.

“The idea is to have them out here so the public can see them. They can pick a leaf here or there, some of them need to be dried. Some of them you can use different parts of the plant to make tea if you’d like.”

This is the second year for the program, following the success from last year. Some of the planters even feature actual tea-pots to promote the idea.

Baird said they hope the project gets more people engaged with their environment, “Any time we can get the public to interact with things that we’re doing around the city in our parks with recreation. It’s kind of a way to passively program a space, so create something interesting here that creates a buzz, get people down here.”

Some of the edible plants include lemongrass, rosemary, lavender, passionflower, french thyme, black-eyed Susan, and St. John’s wort.

Recent University of Iowa Graduate, Abby Gainer said she tried some of the vegetables planted through the project last year

“I think it’s a really good idea especially from the standpoint of food insecurity. Things like herbs are not something that typically students would dish out for because it’s an extra thing, it’s an add on. From a student standpoint I think it’s cool that this would be something we could get for free,” said Gainer.

The Iowa City Parks Department doesn’t use pesticides on their plants, including perennial plants. The herbs do take a little more extra attention but overall fair well in the planters.

According to the city, these planters can be found around the city:

  • In front of city hall
  • Next to Irving Weber Statue on Iowa Ave.
  • Market Street between Linn and Dubuque St.
  • Lower Entrance of Robert Lee Recreation Center.
  • Terry Trueblood Recreation Area between Park Lodge and Fin


Ashley Neighbor

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids
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