How it all began: In the summer of 2012, Dick Heylmun, the owner of Pine Tree Hill Farm, contacted Mosaic Community Land Trust, after learning about their work in the Community garden on Chestnut Street.
Mr Heylmun, an avid gardener himself, conceived of the idea to offer prize money to people living in the Beech to High Street, Adams to Charlotte Street area for creating beautiful street-side gardens and plantings. He knows how pretty a block can be when the residents take pride in their homes and gardens and he revels in the joy and sense of pride that gardens bring to the gardener and all who pass by.
Mosaic partnered with the Pottstown Garden club to develop, advertise and judge the contest. Flyers were distributed to all the homes in the area while the Mercury helped promote the contest in an article about both the garden contest.
With only nine entries for this competition, the first of its kind in the core neighborhood, we hope to inspire confidence in others to enter next year. The gardeners chose one of three categories and most of the entries were in the “front garden and planters combined” category.
Two members from the Pottstown Garden Club, Nancy Toothacher and Karin Albera, accompanied board member, Gretchen Lea, (who is also a Penn State Master Gardner), and Laura Washington, the MOSAIC garden manager, as they set out one very hot afternoon to walk the blocks and judge the gardens. It was hard, yet fun and rewarding.
The contestants showed a sense of pride and enthusiasm about their creations, and had a variety of reasons why they chose one plant or another and why they chose to place them where they did.
Some plants have personal meaning, like beautiful memories and experiences of the gardens and gardeners we have known and loved -they are place makers in our lives. Gardens are often creative expressions of their creators. Knowing this, while judging makes the job difficult, but all the more fun.
Asking a gardener about their gardens is like possessing the key to a box, open it up and you’ll find out something about what’s inside.
The judges passed several pretty and interesting gardens along the way and wished that those gardens had been entered in the contest too. When asked why they didn’t enter, a few folks proclaimed… “Mine is not quite good enough”. Some gardeners can be too hard on themselves. Working with nature is not easy. Nature cannot be controlled. That makes gardening all the more challenging and rewarding. I beg all who dig in the soil to keep up the confidence to keep planting. Every garden is a unique expression of the gardener.
I have entered my garden in shows and contests, even though they weren’t perfect, because others get joy in seeing them. It is rewarding to watch people blossom when they see what you have accomplished. It too is a great way to connect with one another. For me, gardening is a great reason to be outside and to work with Mother Nature as I try to express myself.
The Winners Are:
For Planters and window boxes:
Athena Singer 1st prize 352 Walnut Street $150
Anna Johnson 2nd prize 515 Chestnut Street $ 75
The Garden awards and prize money were presented Sunday July 14th at 5 o’clock at the MOSAIC Community Garden, followed by a get together with refreshments, conversation and friendship.
We hope you will take the time to walk through the neighborhood and check out the winner’s gardens as well as all the other gardens that capture the imagination.
Garden by garden the Mosaic Community Land Trust’s designated areas will blossom, as the first garden has done, with people sharing stories, recipes, making new friends, learning about their gardens, trading plants and ideas while enjoying the fruits of their labor.
Thank you Dick Helymun for your great idea and generosity!
Mosaic would like to make the Beautification Contest an annual tradition. If you would like to make a donation or take part we’d love to hear from you