The Leaf a Legacy Garden Awards were created about five years ago to encourage and reward residents of McCauley who created wonderful gardens and yards, thereby improving the neighbourhood. Through Revitalization, these awards were broadly patterned after Front Yards in Bloom. The goal was to make our neighbourhood more welcoming and friendly by showing visitors that we care about McCauley.
The first year, a group of interested gardeners walked the whole neighbourhood and tried to find the 100 best gardens here. This was challenging, but by the second year, they noticed residents began to add more flowers and shrubs, and take better care of their yards. Soon it became difficult to narrow it down to just 100.
So how does it work? A group of a half-dozen residents who are avid gardeners, meet and divide our McCauley into 10 different areas. Each gardener walks their areas multiple times, and they select the ten best gardens in their area. They try to be impartial and find new yards to reward every year. Each garden nominated receives a sign, like the one pictured here, to acknowledge and reward all the work the resident has done to beautify McCauley. One winner is chosen for each area, and they receive a special award and gift. These winners are photographed and pictures appear in Boyle McCauley News.
So what’s the criteria for “best gardens?” It is broader than showy flowers and landscaping, and more flexible than Front Yards in Bloom. It could be “showing improvement” or “extra effort” to beautify the yard and improve the neighbourhood. Don’t worry – we know our weather has been hot and dry, or rainy and windy, and some plants don’t thrive. Gardens always change – they are a living work of art – so continue the work to make your yard even more beautiful than ever!
Gardeners, you are to be congratulated – you have made a difference! A lot more yards have colourful flowers, hanging baskets, a variety of trees and shrubs, variegated foliage, and neatly mowed lawns, new fences, various landscaping levels, etc. Some people are doing really extraordinary plantings and landscaping in their yards. So look around and see what your neighbours are doing this year. If you notice a spectacular yard, let us know through the new website Cultivate McCauley.ca created by Master Gardener Dustin Bajer. E-mail him at contact@CultivateMcCauley.ca.
The timelines are somewhat flexible, but neighbour evaluators will be walking around all areas of McCauley between July 15 and 30, and then you should see signs go up like the one shown here. A celebration of the area winners is usually held in September. Actually, all residents of McCauley are winners when our neighbourhood is more welcoming and friendly. This is OUR OASIS in the Inner City! Don’t forget – there are many ideas about what beauty is, so show yours in your yard! Let’s show our pride in McCauley by making our gardens the most beautiful they can be!
Joanne McNeal, a McCauley resident for the past 12 years, retired arts professor, artist, musician, and gardener, who helped organize the first Garden Crawl in June. For more about the McCauley Garden Crawls, see page four.