Say It With Flowers

According to Brewer’s Dictionary of 20th-Century Phrase and Fable (1991), “Say it with flowers” was an advertising slogan coined in 1917 by a Major Patrick O’Keefe for the National Publicity Committee of the Society of American Florists. Many things can be “said” with flowers, in St. Johnsbury, we are telling the world that we are proud of our town, and seeking to convey a welcoming atmosphere.

The work of beautifying St. Johnsbury is truly a team effort. That team is comprised of municipal employees, from the Town Manager to Public Works, The St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce, the Beautification Committee, Businesses, Residents, Donors, and The St. Johnsbury Correctional Center Work Camp, and Probation and Parole.

In recent years we have worked to build on each previous year’s addition of flowers to amplify the blooms and maximize their impact. Three years ago we added hanging baskets, last year we doubled the amount of flowers in the existing planters, and this year we added new whiskey barrels to the downtown streetscape. These new additions join the already lovely Western Avenue median, Depot Square Park, Fred Mold Park, the Four Seasons Park.

Gardens and flower pots add brightness and show a sense of pride in one’s town. They are a joy to sit among, and are eye catching when driving by. Long ago I used to tend to container gardens on a house boat in Sausalito, California. I loved the work, and the creativity it allowed in merging color and form, but it always struck me how few people benefitted from seeing them. While planting the containers here in St. Johnsbury, sited for maximum exposure, I hoped that seeing our flowers will brighten your day, give you hope, and make you feel welcome and wanted. Is that what our flowers say to you?

To get involved with beautification efforts in St. Johnsbury, send an email to, or call the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce at the Welcome Center, 802-748-8575.


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