Beauty abounds in Westlake in Bloom contest
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
1st: Robert McCormick and Richard Lindsley
2nd: Bill and Libby Miller
3rd: Cynthia Dutli
1st: The Tidwell Family
2nd: Joy and Bob Mossbrugerd
3rd: John R. Anstead
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
Lu Walter “Best in Bloom” Award