Morinville Best Gardens Competition looking for gardening excellence

A miniature garden bench adorns the front flower bed of Betty and Peter Larsen’s home. The Morinville couple took second place in the curb appeal category of this year’s Morinville Best Garden Competition in 2010. – Stephen Dafoe photos

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 and they are planning to hit yards Aug. 17. As in previous years, the home town pride initiative is about more than blooming flowers and bushes.

“Not only do we have some amazing green thumbs here in town, I think it’s showcasing the pride of not only their lot, but the pride of Morinville and the pride of the community,” said Morinville’s Recreational and Cultural Coordinator Melonie Dziwenka.“I think when we do these things we kind of show that spirit and I think it also kind of tends to rub off on your neighbours a little bit. When your yards are looking nice, I think it flows into a block that flows into a community.”

Dziwenka said one of the highlights in touring last year’s garden nominees was seeing the serenity gardeners had created in their back yards or the visually inviting display many gardeners had created in their front yards. “I know that with two of the winners from last year when you drive by their yard you have that very warm feeling,” she said. “It’s what I want to see in our community.”

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. “They’re like the quiet, silent heroes within our community,” she said of local gardeners. “It also becomes getting to know your neighbours.”

The recreation coordinator said nominees are most often submitted by neighbours who have admired the garden next door or shared the quiet space in someone’s back yard. Entry forms can be obtained at the Town of Morinville’s Community Services office in the Morinville Community Cultural Centre or online at Nominations can be made by calling 780 939-4361 or e-mailing

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