Nominations needed for new Stratford garden competition

Communities in Bloom advisory committee members Carys Wyn Hughes, left, and Barb Hacking stand in front of a garden at city hall on Tuesday July 30, 2019 in Stratford, Ont. The committee is currently looking for nominations for a new local competition called: 'Where are the Best Bloomin' Gardens in Stratford?' Terry Bridge/Stratford Beacon Herald/Postmedia Network Terry Bridge / Terry Bridge/The Beacon Herald

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The Communities in Bloom judges have left Stratford but the group that oversees the process is hoping the pride it takes in creating and maintaining beautiful gardens will not just live on, but be passed on.

The city’s advisory committee has launched a new competition, “Where are the Best Bloomin’ Gardens in Stratford?” It’s currently looking for nominations from local gardening enthusiasts.

“Just send it in and we’ll do the rest,” committee member Carys Wyn Hughes said.

Once the nominations are in the committee will select 12 finalists. A sign will be posted in those dozen yards proclaiming the accomplishment.

“Recognizing them as contributing to making Stratford a beautiful place,” committee member Barb Hacking said.

There are prizes up for grabs, but the finalists have an additional task – they’ll be asked to pass the sign along to another deserving gardener somewhere in the city.

“Paying it forward,” Hacking said.

Self-nominations are welcome.

“People are shy of nominating their own garden is what we found,” Wyn Hughes said. “We just want them to get something in, whether it’s theirs or not.”

The initial deadline was Wednesday but has since been extended to Aug. 9.

“Just to give people a little bit more time,” Wyn Hughes said.

To nominate a garden, take a photo and sent it, along with the owner’s name and contact information, to There’s no cost to enter. The committee began working on this project this past January, but opted not to launch it until after the judges left.

As for the recently departed judges – one was an Italian visiting for the first time and the other was a Stratford veteran from Gatineau, Que. – the committee is fairly confident in its showing.

“I feel it went fantastic,” said Wyn Hughes, who spent three days alongside them.

This year – it’s the 25th anniversary of Communities in Bloom – Stratford was entered in the international medium category along with Leighton-Linslade in Bloom, U.K.; Malahide, Ireland; Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary; and Nivelles, Belgium. The results won’t be unveiled until September.

A permanent sign has recently been installed by the York Street information centre commemorating the city’s past championships.

A permanent sign has recently been installed by the York Street information centre commemorating the city’s past Communities in Bloom championships. Handout/Stratford Beacon Herald/Postmedia Network Supplied