In a stroke of good fortune in an otherwise sunshine-deprived week, the clouds cleared away and the sun dried up all the rain, just in time for the arrival of the Communities in Bloom judges last Wednesday.
This is Lake Country’s first year as a participant in the contest, which seeks to promote community spirit. Judges Peter Crawshaw and Karri Loadman were taken on a whirlwind tour of the community that started bright and early in the morning with breakfast at Gatzke Farms and finished late in the evening with a dinner reception at Gray Monk Winery. In between they visited all four wards stopping along the way at points of interest relevant to their judging criteria.
The judges look at the community from a perspective that considers the overall appearance and upkeep of public spaces as well as the interconnectedness of the individuals and organizations that make up Lake Country.
One thing that both Crawshaw and Loadman agreed registered as a positive on Lake Country’s scorecard was the level of youth involvement in the community.
“Up at the Boys and Girls Club we saw a community garden that had been decorated to welcome Communities in Bloom. We were really impressed with what those kids are doing over there,” said Crawshaw.
The specific criteria that the judges asses include: tidiness efforts, environmental awareness, community involvement, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas, floral displays and turf and ground cover.
Lake Country is competing in the mentor category under the guidance of the City of Kelowna whose own Communities in Bloom initiatives have been hugely successful in past years. Winners in the provincial contest will be announced in September.
The Lake Country Garden Club used the judges visit to hold a contest of their own. The ‘Bloomin Garden Contest 2011’ was an initiative idependent of Communities in Bloom but the winners were invited to attend the judges dinner reception where they were awarded locally made garden trophies.
The Bloomin Garden Contest categories and their winners were:
-Arrowleaf Cellars for Business/Commercial
-David and Marilia Solberg for Residential Garden
-Deb and Glen Briggeman for Vegetable/Edible Garden
-Ron and Lois Taylor for Xeriscape Garden
-Laine and Gary Lowe for Residential Patio/Deck.