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Public Works Week: Horticulture Foreman 'Proud of the Way These Places Look' 
A full day of bending, toting, stretching, weeding, mowing and planting can make anyone's back ache. But for John Hooper's horticulture crew, it's all in a day's work.

And besides: City Public Service Department crews take immense pride, and satisfaction, is making a City park or a street corridor look its very best.

In recent weeks, Hooper and other City horticulture professionals have teamed up to do springtime makeovers at Fountain City Park, the Cumberland Avenue corridor, Fort Dickerson and Augusta Quarry, and Everly Brothers Park.

Horticulture crews pose for a photo after planting annuals at Fort Dickerson Park. (Foreman John Hooper, second from the right, wearing tan cap.)

Hooper is pictured above, second from right, with his crew on Wednesday. They'd just planted annuals at Fort Dickerson Park.

Fort Dickerson Park

"I'm proud of the way these places look," Hooper says. "I love working on projects where we can get in there and refresh a bed or a community gathering spot. Sometimes, we get a chance to be able to go into a space where there's really nothing there, and make it eye-catching, a nice place to be."

In recognition of this week being National Public Works Week, City Blog is profiling a few of the front-line City employees, including Hooper, who invest their expertise and muscle into serving the residents and business owners of Knoxville.


Hooper, a City employee for four years, says "there's a lot that goes into this." Effective horticulture requires year-round planning, and his crew's timing means everything. When's the optimum time to weed, to plant, to prune?

"Invasive species are always a challenge," he says. "You always have to keep an eye on honeysuckle and kudzu. They can take over."

Last week, his crew was planting annuals at a neighborhood entrance, and the response from residents was gratifying.

"Three or four joggers stopped and thanked us, which was really nice," he said.
Posted by evreeland On 19 May, 2022 at 10:58 AM