Westlake celebrates flower power

Mayor Dennis Clough presents Rita Briggs with this year's Lu Walter “Best in Bloom” Award at the Aug. 12 ceremony.

Westlake held its annual gala for greenery Aug. 12, as gardeners from across the city came together for the presentation of this year’s Westlake in Bloom contest awards. Eighty-one residents and businesses competed in 11 categories, ranging from window boxes and patios to entire yards and institutional landscaping, as well as the Evergreen Cemetery fence gardens and Hilliard Boulevard flower boxes.

The judging team of avid gardeners, Westlake Garden Club members and master gardeners visited each entry and awarded points based on use of color, texture, balance, quality of plant material, originality, maintenance and design.

The overall “best in Bloom” winner of the Lu Walter award – whose namesake’s philosophy on gardening and life form the basis for criteria – was longtime resident Rita Briggs.

Rita, who has been gardening as long as she’s lived in Westlake – 60 years – also won first place in her category, window boxes. She maintains five flower boxes along the exterior of her Hall Drive home, a task she said can take up to several hours per day.

Award judge Judy McNamara noted that “the splash of color, plant material and design of the window boxes would bring a smile to Lu Walter’s face. Lu was a master flower designer and she would agree that the Briggs’ flower boxes deserve this award.”

This is the 15th year for the program, which started with the flower boxes along Hilliard Boulevard. “It’s amazing what can grow from a small idea,” Mayor Clough remarked. “Now we’ve got beautiful gardens, beautiful yards, beautiful businesses, beautiful apartments, beautiful churches that have really taken it upon themselves to make their property more attractive.”

The abundance of foliage has a ripple effect throughout the city. “It helps to create some pride in our community,” Clough said, “and it also helps people to get excited and enthused about doing something like that [in their own yards].”

The participants in Westlake in Bloom would likely agree, the reward is more than a plaque at the end of the summer, it’s contributing to the beauty and vitality of the city of Westlake.

Read More on Nature & Environment
Volume 7, Issue 16, Posted 11:02 AM, 08.18.2015