By Morinville News Staff
Morinville – It was two green thumbs up for local gardeners Thursday morning as judges made the rounds of front and back yards looking for this year’s winners of the Morinville Best Gardens Competition.
As in previous years, residents were asked to nominate themselves and their neighbours in four categories of competition: Overall front to back appeal, container gardens, perennial gardens and outdoor living space.
This year saw Morinvillians nominate three residents, two businesses and one church for their horticultural flair.
Overall front to back
Overall Front to Back Appearance was awarded to St. Jean Baptiste Church with a score of 192 out of a possible 200 points. The church was followed by Morinville resident Donna Becker with a score of 174.
Morinville’s Recreational and Cultural Coordinator, Melanie Dziwenka, who was one of this year’s judges, was particularly impressed with what she saw at the church, particularly knowing a group of volunteers plan, plant and look after the colourful garden’s upkeep.
“I think, for me, the church is a true representation of how a community comes together and take something that is a very public area and make it very visually appealing and very welcoming,” she said. “When I sat down on the steps it felt very calming. No matter where you looked in the whole area, it was very peaceful, very colourful and very bright. I just felt a calmness.”
Dziwenka said she felt the church’s garden was not only pleasing to parishners but also to passers-by. “This is our main road that people are going in and out,” she said. “It really showcases whether you are someone who lives here or someone who is travelling through. Morinville is very proud of our space and our spirit.”
Unique container garden
This year’s winner of the unique container garden was Donna Becker with 182 points. Becker was followed by Mona Bouchard of Bouchard Graphics with 156 points for her large containers in front of her downtown office.
Dziwenka said she was particularly impressed with Becker’s rustic chair container garden. “Her container used natural resources as well,” she said. “She had different heights within the plants. It was just very welcoming as you walked by and drew your eye to it right away. I just thought it was a creative use of wood, flowers and spacing.”
Outdoor living area
Becker also won for outdoor living space. Although the only nominee in the category, she received 194 out of 200 points for her multi-levelled recreation area. “You’ve got a very closed-in and shady spot that’s very tranquil to the next level right below it with a water fountain,” Dziwenka said. “The third level has a fire place which felt welcoming. Right from the third level up to the first you feel welcome at every step of that. That has been over the last two years something where we have watched each level mature.”
This year’s winner of best perennial garden was Angie Hall with 191 points out of a possible 200. She was closely followed by Donna Becker with 189 points.
Although both gardens were full and healthy, Hull seemed to edge ahead for her creative use of outdoor art, colourful and creative accouterments interspersed throughout her perennials.
“Her perennial garden was literally a wonder of treasures,” Dziwenka said of the winner’s efforts. “No matter where you looked or which angle you looked there was something new hidden or something hanging. She took normal lawn decorations and just created a peaceful serenity garden. There were multiple perennials that were very advanced. It was kept up. There were bright colours. It was very well done.”
Winners will receive some gift prizes on behalf of the Town of Morinville and local sponsor businesses.
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM THURSDAY’S JUDGING