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People, Plants and Pride… Growing Together


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 *The articles in this section are published under its original language.

  • Yarmouth ready to host 2019 national Communities in Bloom Convention, say judges

    Communities in Bloom judges Tina Liu and Susan Ellis with Yarmouth CIB chair and town councillor Wade Cleveland. – Carla Allen


    Communities in Bloom judges share observations of Yarmouth

    YARMOUTH – Communities in Bloom judges visited Yarmouth last month to tabulate observations for the town’s entry in the annual Communities in Bloom competition.

    Yarmouth has competed in the event for close to a decade.

    The non-profit organization is committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with a focus on enhancing green spaces in communities.

    Susan Ellis is a graduate of the universities of Guelph, Western and Waterloo. She has enjoyed a multifaceted career as an educator, professional marketing and advertising consultant, and municipal manager of economic development, recreation and tourism. She is also an award-winning creative director and copywriter of several marketing campaigns.

    Ellis was in Yarmouth six years ago and says it has “changed profoundly” since then.

    “It’s really uplifting to hear how the community came together to help change the perspective of where they were and where they wanted to be,” she said. “It’s totally what Communities in Bloom is as well.”

    She referred to the work that‘s been done along Main Street as “lovely and iconic.”

    “You’ve done a really great job of creating a place where people want to linger,” she said.

    With regard to areas needing improvement, she stressed the importance of looking at the overall site plan development for the entire town and paying specific attention to industrial areas.

    “Make sure constraints are there so that landscaping takes place as well so that the whole community kind of flows from one area to the next,” she said. “The residential areas are absolutely gorgeous.”

    Tina Liu has practised landscape architecture for over 20 years in a diverse range of high-profile projects in Canada and overseas. As the design manager of the Capital Floral Program, she leads the design of flower bulbs in spring, annual floral display in summer and fall, and perennial bed designs based on the NCC Capital Floral Vision.

    Liu referred to Yarmouth as a “five-star town.”

    “The committee and the town are doing everything right. We have suggestions for improvement but not many,” she said.

    The most impressive aspect of her visit, she said, was how welcoming and inviting the community is.

    “The façade program that you have is awesome. When you drive along Main Street the colour adds so much character to the town. The signage is so authentic and not overwhelming,” she said.

    During her debriefing with the Yarmouth CIB committee she suggested developing a birds-eye view master plan of parks, the trail grid and other attractions, showing them linked together.

    Winners of the 2018 competition will be announced during the 2018 CIB award ceremony in Strathcona County, Alberta, Sept. 26-29.

    The Town of Yarmouth will host the 2019 national CIB symposium Sept. 24-29 of next year. Close to 250 delegates from Canada and the U.S. are expected to attend.

    “You’re ready,” Ellis said. “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

    More about Communities in Bloom in Yarmouth

    Yarmouth’s CIB committee has been chaired by several since its inception close to a decade ago: Esther Dares, the late Ken Langille, Yarmouth town councillor Sandy Dennis and, most recently, councillor Wade Cleveland.

    Here’s a list of CIB awards Yarmouth has received over the years:

    2017 – 5 leaves – bronze in the Canada 150 Category, with recognition for the Downtown Core Streetscape

    2016 – 5 blooms – bronze in the Circle of Excellence Category, with recognition for Helping Hands & Growing Pride

    2015 – 5 blooms – bronze in the Circle of Excellence Category, with recognition of Streetscape Upgrades on Hawthorn Street

    2014 – National Winner in the 5,001-9,000 population category, with recognition of Mayor’s All Hands on Deck Initiative

    2012 – 5 blooms in the 6,501-10,000 population category, with recognition for the Art Gallery’s Innovative Programs

    2013 – 5 blooms in the 5,001-10,000 population category and the Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association Environmental Action award

    2011 – 5 blooms in the 7,501-10,000 population category, with recognition of the 250th Anniversary Celebration as a Community

    2010 – 5 blooms in the 3,001-7,500 population category, with recognition for Reverence for Heritage

    2009 – 4 blooms in the 5,001-8,000 population category, with recognition for Blooms by the Sea

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    It all began with two sisters going on a road trip.   Back in 2014, Bev Prout and her sister were on a quilting “Shop Hop”.   After a couple of hours they started to run out of steam (and money) for shopping and started noticing the beautiful wooden quilt patterns hanging on various barns.  As luck would have it, they were on the Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail in Middlesex County. Having heard about Barn Quilts a few years earlier Bev’s interest was piqued as they continued following the trail, observing the beautiful Barn Quilts along the way.

    The idea for Barn Quilt Trails is credited to Donna Sue Groves and was launched in Adams County, Ohio in 2001. Barn quilts are typically eight foot squares of wood painted in a quilt pattern.  Designs are either selected from existing quilt patterns or original patterns designed by the owners.  They are usually hung on barns or posts.  Each quilt tells a story and is representative of the families who create them.  A quilt trail displays the heritage and landscape of each area in which its found. For instance, Bev’s own barn quilt represents four generations of Prouts, their four daughters, and the four seasons of the year.

    Fast forward to 2016 when two woman, Denice and Mary, known as the Barn Quilt Ladies, spoke at a meeting of the Huron Perth Quilters Guild. Denice and Mary had created a trail in Wardsville, helped other communities in the Windsor to London area with their trails, and worked on a committee, funded through the Trillium foundation, to put together a website to host trails in Ontario, as well providing information as how to paint a barn quilt, and put a trail together.  Attending the talk with Bev, was a fellow member of South Huron Communities in Bloom (CiB), Chair Cathy Seip. Cathy quickly recognized an opportunity for her organization to provide leadership and said “this is something we could do!” 

    The trail concept was adopted by the CiB and members got to work. Working through the Heritage Committee, letters were sent out to Heritage Farm Owners inviting them to participate.  A notice was put in the local newspaper and on the CiB facebook page seeking interested persons.   A display was presented at the Home and Garden Show in Exeter.  A grant obtained from Canada 150, distributed through the Grand Bend Community Foundation, provided funding for the purchase of 12 boards.  These were distributed to the first 12 people who were ready to start.  Bev, along with her husband, Tom, hosted workshops (technically painting parties) and so began the start of the South Huron Quilt Trail.

    A Trail Guide was put together by the summer of 2017.  South Huron Communities in Bloom also worked with the International Plowing Match (IPM) in promoting their quilt trail, the Huron County Trail, for Canada’s 150th anniversary.  South Huron now has 32 barn quilts with several more in the making.

    If you think designing and making a barn quilt is something you would like to do as a legacy for your family; here are the basic steps:

    1. A large Barn Quilt takes 2 4×8 sheets of MDO GOS plywood; of course smaller ones can be cut from these
    2. Prime both sides with two coats of a good quality primer
    3. Mark the first colour (sometimes you can paint two at once if they don’t butt up to each other) with painter’s tape
    4. Apply 2-4 coats of colour, at least four hours apart. Take the tape off after the last coat
    5. Repeat the painting
    6. Let dry for about a week, then seal with two coats of sealant.

    South Huron Communities in Bloom continues to promote the Barn Quilt Trail.  If you have questions or would like to get involved contact shbqtrail@gmail.com.

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  • Town of Novi Vinodolski – Croatian candidate for International Challenge 2018

    Novi Vinodolski is a typical, small Mediterranean town located at the point where the Adriatic Sea reaches deepest into the harsh beauty of the karstic mountains.

    This is a place boasting as many as 1865 recorded plant species which create sun-bathed flocks of flowers that allure with their fragrances, and form a colourful palette offering an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists.

    Here the fragrances and flavours of sage, rosemary and wormwood, of stone and sea, blend with the scent of legends and the times gone by.

    Lopar, once a fortress, today is a stone album of memories, weathered by salt and wind, bearing witness to the ancient Romans who planted grapevine and enjoyed the wines, and named this region Valis Vinearia – the Valley of Wine.

    Quite a special testimony to the ever vibrant life in these parts, are the Vinodol Statutes dating from 1288. The restored citadel and tower of the Frankopans, the famous family of the Croatian nobility, is the place where this pearl of the world legal and cultural history, and the kernel of the local self-government, written in the Croatian language and Glagolitic script, was created.

    Rising in the park right above the sea, wrapped in the green lace of the imposing Mediterranean pines, is the bust of Ivan Mažuranić, Croatian poet and Viceroy, one of the first architects of the modern Croatian state.

    Living at the intersection of different climates and cultures the people of Novi have not forgotten, indeed have lovingly guarded, their own traditions and customs. And it is during the carnival time, locally known as “mesopust”, that these tenacious, sturdy and proud people show them in all their wealth. In the main square a popular wheel-dance is danced, folk songs are sung, girls wear their lovely folk costumes – and all together they form an enchanting weave of ornaments, colours, joy and all round merriment.

    Ringing through Novi Vinodolski and its cellars, taverns and restaurants is the grand song of wine and life, enabling those of the like mind to share worldly pleasures, and their intoxicated souls to become immortal. Each of those places becomes the spring of music, celebrating both in verse and picture the brightness of life and creating a symphony of pleasures for body and soul.

    In recent years Novi Vinodolski has been changing its face almost daily, adeptly donning new robes, pleasing to its guests.

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  • The Children’s Garden of Hope

    By Evelyn Alemanni

    Lynn Gould is on a mission to bring a special garden to your town. She has a heartfelt vision that every community in Canada should have a flower garden recognizing the need for research for a cure for children’s cancer. It was in 2016 that her precious 12 year old granddaughter, Natasha, passed away from brain cancer. Soon after, Lynn and her family contacted the city of Trail, BC, where they live, to find a site for a garden. It’s not a memorial garden, rather a garden to remind us that cancer strikes children and of all cancers, childhood cancer research gets the least funding.

    Joining with friends, family, and neighbors, Lynn planted perennials for easy care: Russian Sage, Burberry Shrub, Stella Dora daylilies, Delphinium, Dwarf Daisy, Dwarf Phlox. These are augmented by 250 mixed color zinnias.

    Lynn says, “This is like every garden… it will evolve, but always airy with bright colours.”

    Every day people drive by this stunning corner and are reminded of families who may have a loved one suffering from this disease. To date, Lynn and her family have raised nearly $40,000 for childhood cancer research and people passing the garden have generously sent additional contributions.

    Consider planting such a garden where you live – hopefully one day childhood cancer will be prevented or cured thanks to people who planted gardens that raise awareness.

    Anyone wishing to support research for pediatric cancer as a tribute to Natasha support the Canadian Children’s Brain Cancer Foundation. http://ccbcf.org/tributes/


    Lynn Gould  gould202@telus.net

    Lynn and Natasha

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  • International Peace Garden: Dedicated to the celebration of peace

    Author: Nicollette (Nicki) Weissman, International Peace Garden, Event Coordinator/Marketing/ Gift Shop Manager

    The International Peace Garden exists as testimony to the promise that peace between countries and people is an achievable dream, and that peace on earth, one of the most enduring aspirations of our world, is possible. The International Peace Garden represents the best ideals of humankind.

    The Peace Garden is a dream that began in 1928, after a meeting of the National Association of Gardeners attended by horticulturalist, Dr. Henry J. Moore of Islington, Ontario and Joseph Dunlop, of South Euclid, Ohio. Together, they envisioned a botanical garden commemorating the long, peaceful coexistence of the people of Canada and the United States. Only four years later, on July 14, 1932, Dr. Moore and Mr. Dunlop were standing on the North Dakota and Manitoba border in the middle of North America, along with more than 50,000 people from Canada and the USA, at the official opening of the International Peace Garden.

    The International Peace Garden, spanning 2,339 acres, is the largest garden in the world dedicated to the celebration of peace, and is the only garden straddling an international boundary. Since its opening, it has hosted hundreds of thousands of people as a place of contemplation, renewal, inspiration and friendship. The Peace Garden has come to represent a meeting place between friends, rather than a border that separates two countries.

    The International Peace Garden’s 85th anniversary will be celebrated July 14 and 15. Events are being planned and will be posted on the Peace Garden’s website, https://www.peacegarden.com in the coming months.

    In May, the garden will start coming alive with the perennials that were planted in the fall and over many years. The beautiful yellow tulips will welcome visitors as they enter the garden. In the first part of June, 150,000 annuals will be planted in the formal garden area, along with many pots throughout the garden. It is a beautiful sight when all the flowers are in bloom.

    The Interpretive Center houses the largest cacti and succulent collection    in the state of North Dakota. The Vitko Xeric collection has more than 6,000 thriving cacti and succulents. At the Interpretive Center, you can enjoy them any time of the year, and early spring is a good time to see the variety and profusion of blooms this diverse collection puts on display. The Interpretive Center also has the café and gift shop, which are open May through September.

    The Peace Garden is a tranquil place to visit. We hope you will take the time to experience it this summer.

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  • Ball Horticultural Company – Tried & True

    Plant confidently with these low-maintenance, continuously flowering plants that make a positive impression.

    Shopping at a garden center can feel overwhelming. While your eye may be drawn to unique flower shapes, colors and textures, keep in mind that putting the right plant in the right place is the key to success. And using tried-and-true options can be just as appealing as trying the Next New Thing.

    There are several plants that just “work” and make yo

    u look like you hired a landscaper. Planting these reliable varieties require little or no maintenance. They also tend to flower continuously and always make a positive impression on guests to your garden.

    SunPatiens® is a series of Impatiens that deliver exceptional outdoor performance, tolerating all weather in Spring, Summer and Fall. They also thrive in sun or shade spaces, making it easy to place them wherever you want bright color. SunPatiens are generally resistant to disease, which means more flowers longer with less worry.

    Another easy-to-grow flower for sunny mid-border landscapes is Bonanza French Marigold. These are large, double-crested blooms in the orange and gold color family. They grow under a wide range of weather conditions, and make a gorgeous impact then packed tightly together.

    The new breeding going into begonias over the past decade has been fantastic, and has produced some must-have plants. Megawatt is an interspecific begonia that gives you massive garden power. They grow and fill in fast when planted in the garden or in large containers. Because they take both sun and shade, they make excellent balcony choices when you’re looking to thrill your outdoor spaces. The sturdy flower stems of Megawatt hold the blooms above the glossy foliage for maximum color. Its drought tolerance and no-maintenance growth make this a true winner.

    Whether you lead a busy life or struggle with keeping a green thumb, the flowers above are forgiving and ready to make you look like a pro. Use these tried-and-true options and bask in a successful garden space.


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