Bloom winners enhance Westlake's beauty

Terence Poje talks about the natural design elements of his Westlake in Bloom award-winning backyard.

Westlake held its annual beauty of nature celebration Aug. 2 at LaCentre, as the winners of Westlake in Bloom were recognized for their green-thumbed efforts. The friendly competition, now in its 11th year, encourages residents and businesses to help beautify the city by landscaping their properties and planting the Hilliard Boulevard flower boxes and Evergreen Cemetery fence gardens.

Eighty-five entrants in 23 categories vied for top honors, as judged by nine master gardeners and several city employees. Westlake’s four garden centers contributed gift certificates for first-place winners and discounts on plants for Bloom participants.

This year’s overall winner was Terence Poje of Strauss Drive, who took first place in the Residential Entire Yard Landscaping, Medium-Sized Lot category, as well as the Lu Walter “Best in Bloom” award. The judges noted the arbor of New Dawn roses and combination of evergreens, perennials and annuals, commenting that “every view is lovely while maintaining a secluded feel.”

Poje, who took third place in the contest in 2010, said he was shocked to win first place this year, not to mention the Lu Walter award. He began landscaping his yard in 2002, and has refined and added different elements every year. He does all of the work himself, although he is considering bringing someone in to help with the mulching next season and has plans to install a sprinkler system.

Poje said he has always been drawn to the design aspect of landscaping, dating back to his childhood years digging around in the yard of his parents’ Elyria home. “I got all of my big mistakes out of the way back then,” Poje laughed, admitting that he still makes his share of “minor” mistakes now and then.

Winning entries were praised for variety of color, texture and plant material, as well as creativity, use of space, repurposing of materials and visual impact, among others. First place was awarded to the best entrant in each category with a score of at least 90 points out of a possible 100. Second and third place and honorable mention were also awarded.

To see a list of the winners and Nate Dreher’s video of the Westlake in Bloom award ceremony, visit the city’s website at www.cityofwestlake.org.

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Volume 4, Issue 16, Posted 10:42 AM, 08.07.2012