By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Local gardeners have a week left 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 and they are planning to hit yards Jul. 25. As in previous years, the hometown pride initiative is about more than blooming flowers and bushes.
“It’s about trying to see what’s in Morinville and how people utilize the properties that they have to make Morinville look better,” said Morinville’s Recreational and Cultural Coordinator Melonie Dziwenka.“I think the Best Garden Competition reflects a sense of pride. I think it allows residents to let us come in and see the space they have. It allows them to beautify their area and show pride in their home. Overall, I think it just shows pride in the town.”
A highlight in viewing previous garden nominees has been the sense of serenity gardeners created in their back yards or the visually striking displays many gardeners had created in their front yards. Those elements will earn points again this year.
Four categories of competition
Once again this year gardeners can be nominated for one of four categories: curb appeal, perennial gardens, outdoor living area and most unique container garden.
The curb appeal competition rewards the gardener’s ability to wow passers-by. 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.
With the outdoor living area competition there is more to it 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 will once again be 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.
Prizes will once again be gift certificates winners can use to add to or maintain their gardens.
Dziwenka said the four categories offer four ways to reward residents and their efforts to beautify their own property while often stimulating nearby residents to do the same. That beautification is not limited to the many colours of annuals and perennials. “People don’t just plant flowers,” she said. “They’re creative in how they use it as herb gardens or they’ve planted small gardens. We don’t have the big farm space in town. It is pretty interesting to see how people are creative and have used their space.”
Although neighbours who have admired the garden next door or shared the quiet space in someone’s back yard often submit nominees, gardeners are invited to nominate themselves as well. To nominate a residential garden phone 780-939-7833 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.