By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
Boyertown and Pottstown residents attended the awards ceremony for the 5th Annual Home Garden Contest last week and more than 30 people received cash prizes for their growing efforts.
Cash prizes were as much as $200 for first place winners. Second place, third place and honorable mention winners also received money. The contest has six distinct categories with options for children, adults, flowers, vegetable and small spaces.
For the full list of winners and photos of the home gardens entered in this year’s contest, visit the website HomeGardenContest.com.
For the second year in a row, Boyertown residents were asked to enter the contest alongside Pottstown. Each borough had separate judging and prizes but attended a joint awards ceremony at the Brookside Country Club on Sunday.
The contest continues to grow and this year was no different. Participation for the growing event doubled compared to last year’s entries.
“I think whether it’s leadership or whether it’s participants, we care about gardening,” said Dave Kraybill, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation executive director.
Kraybill said gardening has several healthy benefits such as producing fresh food, getting people active outdoors and just being good for the soul. He said because of area gardeners, there is a “more beautiful, scenic community.”
He was excited to see some familiar faces form last year’s contest as well as a lot of new participants. Kraybill said he was also happy to see the different age groups represented. There were participants from very young children to older adults and Kraybill said the contest allows people to see the gardeners of the future.
Linda Lyle, of Boyertown, won first place this year for the “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” category. Gardens in this category used a variety of decorative items to help beautify the area. Lyle has been gardening for about 20 years and said the green space is like having “a little bit of country in town.” She said the garden is a place of serenity for her and she’s happy to share the peaceful space with neighbors.
“I just love gardening. It’s what I do,” Lyle said.
Lyle said there are lots of beautiful gardens in Boyertown and she was glad to see more of her borough neighbors entered the contest this year.
Bonnie Heath, former mayor of Pottstown, entered her husband Mason Craig in the contest after a flyer was left on her doorstep. Heath accepted the 1st place award in the “A Lot With a Little” category on her husband’s behalf.
“This is his labor of love that he’s done for years and years,” Heath said.
Both Heath and her husband are avid gardeners. Heath looks forward to seeing her pepper patch pop up every year which has eight different varieties. She said she enjoys looking at all the beauty in the garden such as the contrast of colors, the symmetry and the balance.
“In our faith, we consider nature to be God’s second book,” Heath said, adding that some very important life lessons can be learned from viewing nature.
Emilie Kurtz, owner of the salon ” EMILIE” in Pottstown, took home the first place prize for the “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” category. She has been gardening at her residence for more than 30 years. From the front of the building, people may not be aware that she has created a green oasis behind her home. Kurtz said she tried to create a “woodsy” look and she likes to include recycled or re-purposed items in the garden. Kurtz said she really enjoys being able to hear the water fall from her pond.
The gardens of both boroughs were judged based on the maintenance of plants and landscape, variety and the overall aesthetic value with creativeness often used as a tie breaker. New this year, first place winners took home a gold plaque so they could display it in their gardens.
The Home Garden Contest is made possible through a collaboration between Building a Better Boyertown and the Mosaic Community Land Trust as well as the main sponsor, the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation.