26 July 2016

Front Yards in Bloom 2016

Front Yards in Bloom (Edmonton)  nominations are in and the first step in judging is complete. This year I was happy to be able to offer some assistance in placing placards and performing some preliminary judging. It's an extraordinary experience to go out in the communities and see the beautiful flowering yards.  The first two photos are of a yard that I thought was especially well designed and taken care of.  The use of colour and textures, the layout, the ground to treetop use of plant material, proportion and scale are just some of the criteria upon which this yard was graded. Overall, it is a lovely landscape with an arched gateway into what looks to be a promising back garden.

In another nominated yard the homeowner was out tending to her front bed. There was a raised bed  of large proportion full of colourful annuals near the front door.  She was minding another area nearby when I approached.  She was thrilled to be nominated and as I explained the nomination, she said "but they haven't seen the back garden."  She was proud of her back yard and it is obvious she puts a lot of love and care into maintaining her yard.  She definitely contributes to the beauty of her community.  Though several of the roads are being torn up in the city's own efforts of maintenance and beautification, the homeowners in this area prove a certain pride and awareness of the beauty a garden brings into the world.  I wish I could have nominated many more.

In another yard, the extensive use of large full blooming hanging planters is eye-catching from the road.  As you go up the front walk there is a water feature hidden from street view and more lush plantings.  Statuary complements the yard well.

This garden above is one I nominated for colour, use of boulders that totally complement the style of the house, and statuary that is in keeping with the overall feel.  Note the use of different hard surfaces too.  It caught my eye as we drove by.

Though this property doesn't have a front garden per se, the planters are colourful, complement the style and welcome the eye.  I love the railing planters on the upper balcony.  Seeing these have made me reconsider using bacopa in planters again as I have decided upon a red and white theme for all my planters for next year.  (It will be Canada's 150th birthday, afterall.)  With all the new trailing plants now available to gardeners, bacopa seems to have lost favour but this homeowner proves that it is still in vogue to use this white flowering trailer. This home garden was not amongst those nominated but certainly deserves a nod.

I wish I'd taken more photos of the home gardens that were nominated as there were many attractive landscapes in this area.  This front step of another not on the list of nominees caught my eye of course for the pair of horse statuary on the front steps.  The planters are beautiful too, of course.

As a volunteer with Front Yards in Bloom, I also placed signs and did preliminary judging on some public spaces.  Those that proceeded to the final round of judging in Public Spaces category included a church and rectory garden and a community hall garden.  Also close in the category was a lovely garden at a hospice and shelter.  The garden is behind a wall and not particularly visible from the road which prevented it from being seen in a neighbourhood that is a bit derelict.  Beautifully kept perennials offer brightness and cheer in what can be a dark and dreary world for those in need of the hospice's services.  Though it didn't receive high marks in a few of the categories because it lacks visibility, it certainly contributes to the beauty of this neighbourhood.  No photos were taken of this site to protect the privacy of those in the vicinity.

The following photos are of two of the public spaces nominated for Front Yards in Bloom.  The first four belong to a school in the inner city area.  They have a natural garden within a fenced and locked area, pretty colourful planters and a lovely designed front garden.  Significant effort and pride of place is evident.  Being summer and school being out, the natural garden could use some tending, where it lost points, but I want to give kudos for the program and the participants who made this stately old school with magnificent architecture even more appealing to the beholder through their gardening.  Two signs were placed, one by the front door and another at one of the gardens, to indicate that their efforts have contributed to the beautification of the neighbourhood.

The community hall in the Parkdale/Evansdale area (seen above)  received top marks for contribution to the beauty of the neighbourhood.  From the boulevard to the treetops, this garden is colourful and unique among its peers.  It is well-kept and colourful, just like the paintings on the exterior wall by the main entrance.  It feels like a big welcome to all in the community.

The Front Yards in Bloom program is a city-wide initiative to acknowledge those who make a positive contribution to their community through their gardens.  This is the second year I have been fortunate to participate in the program.  While it is fun to meander through neighbourhoods to see the gardens, it was a real eye-opener to see the gardens in the public spaces and to realize the extent a simple concept such as public gardens can contribute to the sense of a neighbourhood. I haven't covered all of the nominated in this post but suffice it to say all of the gardens regardless of size and budget contribute to the health and beauty of our city.  It is a sharp contrast in the inner city and yet I know there are those who take gentle pleasures in minding the flowers.  We need beauty in all places and these public spaces, some in the most humble of circumstance, justify their desirability.

#CityofEdmonton #yeg #FrontYardsinBloom #gardensinpublicspaces

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