Beauty abounds in Westlake in Bloom contest

A pond surrounded by an exceptional variety of plants illustrates the beauty of "Best in Bloom" winner Carol Stephens' landscaped yard. Photo by Jim Bedell

The annual Westlake in Bloom competition came to a close on Aug. 9 with an awards ceremony at LaCentre. The top three entrants in each of the 16 categories were treated to a special reception celebrating their efforts. On this night, a long wait blossomed into a memorable experience for one Westlake homeowner.

As picturesque gardens scrolled on the video screens and grinning gardeners made their way one by one through the applauding crowd to receive a plaque and pose for a photo with Mayor Dennis Clough, Carol Stephens waited. Category after category, from Hilliard flower boxes to hotels, small yards to shade gardens, she waited.

Carol had entered the annual community beautification competition years earlier and came in as a runner-up both times. After that, she took a break from the contest. She was proud of her yard, but didn't want to compete against a ringer.

“One of the reasons I didn’t enter for a few years is because I felt like I was competing against professional landscapers,” Carol said. “I do it all myself, I don’t have any help with my garden. I even built my own pond and laid all my own patio pavers.”

Finally, the last category to be presented was hers. The event’s emcee, Planning Director Jim Bedell, called out the third-place winner. It wasn’t Carol. Neither was the second-place winner.

“We got down to first place and I honestly thought that it was a mistake, that they’d lost my application because I hadn’t won anything yet,” Carol recalled.

And just like that, everything changed. The next name called was Carol Stephens, first-place winner of the entire large yard residential category. And again, moments later, her name rang out when the winner of the Lu Walter “Best in Bloom” Award was announced.

The Bloom judges gave Carol’s yard on Riviera Lane perfect scores across the board – overall garden design including color, balance and texture; quality of plant material; originality; and maintenance.

“It is truly a work of art,” commented Bedell, who photographs all of the Westlake in Bloom entries. “There is so much to see in this yard with its many outstanding specimen trees, shrubs and perennials. Focal points such as potted plants and artwork surprise the visitor. The garden is neat as a pin and all of the plants are exceptionally healthy. This has been a labor of love and it shows and we are grateful for it.”

While there can only be one grand prize winner, all of the gardeners in the contest can be proud of the beauty that they added to Westlake’s landscape. And next year they’ll know the ringer to beat.

2017 Westlake in Bloom Winners

Patio Garden and Abutting Garden
    1st Place: Marian Ext and Dr. Roger Mansnerus
    2nd Place: Dolly and Dick Hartman
    3rd Place: Sharon L. Huelsman

Shade Garden
    1st: Robert McCormick and Richard Lindsley
    2nd:  Bill and Libby Miller
    3rd: Cynthia Dutli
Vegetable Garden
    1st: The Tidwell Family        
    2nd: Joy and Bob Mossbrugerd    
    3rd: John R. Anstead    
Flower Boxes
    1st: Beverly Wilkinson
    2nd: Debbie and Ron Perger
    3rd: Judith Brancifort

Residential Landscaping – Front Yard
    1st: Mary Beth and Jack Bedell
    2nd: Mary Kim Elkins and Dave Greenspan    
    3rd: Lonna Nimylowycz    

Residential Landscaping – Rear Yard
    1st: Lan Le Truong To and Binh V To    
    2nd: Mike and Joanna Fanning
    3rd: Annarita Hein

Residential Landscaping – Entire Yard, Small
    1st: Brigitte Vangunten
    2nd: George and Diane Woyansky
    3rd: Roger C. and Ruth E. Williams

Residential Landscaping – Entire Yard, Large
    1st: Carol Stephens    
    2nd: Cindy and Ron Furgales
    3rd: Susan C. Mulhern

Evergreen Cemetery Fence Garden
    1st: The Barry, Coe, Ward and Hull Families
    2nd: Robert and Val Dickerson    
    3rd: Joseph and Mary Buckey    

Hilliard Boulevard Flower Box
    1st: In memory of James M. Dunphy Jr.    
    2nd: The Lux Family        
    3rd: The Guercio Family    

Community Garden Plot
    1st: Georgine Rak
    2nd: Michelle Parson
    3rd: Rebecca and Geza Terezhalmy     

Apartment or Condominium Complex Entrance
    1st: Sturbridge Square Apartments    
    2nd: Wyndgate Club        
    3rd: Bay Landing Condominiums    

Place of Worship
    1st: Westlake Seventh-Day Adventist Church        
    2nd: St. Ladislas Church    
    3rd: CrossPointe Community     
Nursing Home, Assisted Living or Independent Living Facility
    1st: The Belvedere of Westlake    
    2nd: Rae-Ann Suburban
    3rd: Rae-Ann Westlake
Business, Hotel or Motel
    1st: Applied Companies        
    2nd: Kleinhenz Jewelers                
    3rd: LaCentre Banquet and Conference Center         
    Dean’s Greenhouse

Lu Walter “Best in Bloom” Award
    Carol Stephens

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Volume 9, Issue 16, Posted 10:26 AM, 08.15.2017