Morinville looking for residents to show off gardens

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Local gardeners have less than two weeks to register for the Town of Morinville’s Annual Best Garden Competition. Once again this year, judges will be looking to reward gardeners for the design and maintenance of their gardens, but also those who are practising environmental sustainability.

“I think what it does is it showcases some of the yards and what some of our residents do to beautify Morinville,” said Morinville’s Recreational and Cultural Coordinator Melonie Dziwenka. “So it’s not only about what the Town does. It’s really about the residents. It’s kind of that sense of community spirit. We all take pride in our community.”

The recreation and cultural coordinator said she was amazed by the work of last year’s competitors.

“There are some amazing yards,” Dziwenka said, adding that the competition isn’t just about front garden curb appeal. Backyard gardens, seldom seen by passersby are also important. “Some people have created some very cool places.”

Dziwenka said last year’s contest had four entries and she would like to see at least 10 gardeners competing this year. Deadline to enter is Aug. 10 and judging will be held on Aug. 14. There are several competition categories again this year: curb appeal, perennial garden, outdoor living area and unique container challenge.

The curb appeal competition rewards the gardener’s ability to wow passersby. Judges will be looking for first impressions, overall effect, use of space and materials and any special features and focal points the front garden might have. Additionally, points will be awarded for selection of plant materials, with textural contrast and plant combinations playing a role.

The perennial garden competition is open to gardeners with five or more species of perennials and those whose perennials make up at least three quarters of their garden. Judges will be considering a number of factors, including first impressions, visual impact, rhythm and flow and the use of colour. Additionally, judges will be considering the succession of bloom, as well as the health and vigour of the individual plants.

There is more to the outdoor living area competition than having elegant patio furniture on a nice deck. This part of the competition rewards the gardener / landscaper for their ability to maximize outdoor enjoyment through Alberta’s ever-changing weather patterns. The area must have plants, although these may be growing in containers. Some of the elements judges will be looking for include visual impact, balance, proportion, location and quality of workmanship.

Weird, wild and wonderful is the aim of the unique container challenge, an element of the competition open to business owners as well as homeowners. The goal is to create a one of a kind container arrangement. Judges will be looking for several elements, including intrigue, visual impact, proportion, placement and integration into the garden.

But whatever level of competition a gardener chooses to enter, Dziwenka said a key ingredient is the garden’s sustainability.

“It’s not just about the hose,” she said. “It’s watering, composting, recycling things that can go into your garden.”

A total of 10 points are available per category to gardeners who have implemented sustainability into their garden design, working with rather than against nature to reduce the environmental footprint.

“We don’t know how things are going to last, when we talk about water levels and things like that,” Dziwenka said. “When we encourage people, it’s not about living for today. It’s about living for future generations to come. It’s ensuring that there’s something for the future, not just for this moment.”

But conservation is something Dziwenka said she is quite conscious of, having grown up in a disposable era with its TV dinners, disposable diapers and throw-away culture.

“We created a world where everything was throw-away,” she said. “We are that adult generation and I think the more we look at sustainability, it’s also longevity for us. I think as a community we look at that as a whole. It’s not just having the best grass because we have the sprinklers out all the time. It’s because we’ve irrigated properly; we’ve graded properly; we’ve looked at things.”

Judges will be looking for sustainability elements, including rain barrels, the use of mulch and placing plants close to each other.

Dziwenka said many Morinville gardeners have put a lot of effort into creating attractive and sustainable gardens and she is looking forward to recognizing those who have.

“We have this little piece of heaven right here and I’m really starting to see that and feel that within the community,” she said.

Entry forms can be obtained at the Town of Morinville office or for further information contact Melonie Dziwenka at 780 939-4361.

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The Morinville News is an online daily and bi-weekly print publication serving Morinville and surrounding area. Our print publication is distributed on the first, third and fifth Wednesday. You can also follow us online on Twitter @MorinvilleNews and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MorinvilleNews

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