The newly planted flowers and trees along the James Walter Francis Drive demonstrate that relatively minor improvements can go a long way toward beautifying Road Town and other population centres in the territory as the recovery proceeds in fits and starts.

We hope that similar greening will continue around the islands in public areas, on the grounds of businesses, and in private yards.

Even before Hurricane Irma, the capital was long neglected, with a lack of a comprehensive plan stymieing efforts at improvements in spite of decades of well-conceived proposals that were largely ignored. The storm wiped out much of the already struggling city, and leaders’ promises to build it back stronger often have proved to be little more than empty rhetoric.

The new trees and flowers, however, made a big difference, providing an example of how baby steps can lead the way forward.

We hope that such planting efforts will continue, and that they will be carefully planned in collaboration with scientists, landscapers and other experts. Where possible, native species should be selected, and they should be fit for purpose.

To that end, shade is a major consideration: Currently it is a rare commodity in the capital, which means that residents and tourists are less likely to spend time there.

Plants can also help with flood prevention in certain areas, and leaders should consider establishing larger versions of the successful rain-catching garden that was recently built at the Ivan Dawson Primary School in Cane Garden Bay.

Planting more greenery and flowers in Road Town and other areas will go a long way toward making them more comfortable while larger recovery initiatives are in progress.

Government, of course, should play a major role in the effort, but businesses, homeowners and other residents also should come on board and do all they can to beautify their own properties.

We suspect the effort will pay off many times over.