Leaf a Legacy

Presenting some of the winners of this gardening challenge.

  • From Area 6: This row of houses along 108A Avenue is full of innovation with flowers, shrubs, and vegetables combined into creative front beds with curving sidewalks. Joanne McNeal

  • A boulevard tree gets a hug from flowers on 109A Avenue. Joanne McNeal

  • A creative front yard on 92 Street. Joanne McNeal

  • A flower box with pole beans planted in the back, on the alleyway north extension of 94 Street. Joanne McNeal

  • This garden combines flowers and vegetables with fruit trees, shrubs, and a kiwi hedge on 110 Avenue. Joanne McNeal

  • A winner in Area 7. Rosalie Gelderman

  • A garden on 110 Avenue. The resident plants this flower bed like this every year. Joanne McNeal

  • Ambrose Place, providing housing for Indigenous people, was a winner in Area 2. Residents have put a lot of energy into their colourful front flower beds Joanne McNeal

  • This winner in Area 10 is quite a new house in McCauley on 108A Avenue, whose owners created and take good care of a lovely front yard with a variety of flowers and colourful shrubs. Joanne McNeal

  • This newish house on 108 Avenue has a manicured front yard with various colourful flowers and shrubs, plus trees. Winner, Area 4 Joanne McNeal

You may have seen the pretty yellow and green signs around McCauley on various yards. Leaf a Legacy began five years ago, to encourage residents to take pride in their yards and to make changes that enhance the beauty of our whole neighbourhood. We began with the goal of finding 100 beautiful yards in McCauley. We formed a small team of six to eight neighbour gardeners, who each took an area of McCauley, walked around it, and chose the best yards that demonstrated 100 beautiful gardens.

Signs were put on various yards each year, rewarding 100 resident gardeners for their work. That goal has remained the same for the past five years, but each year the decision has become more difficult. The committee keeps asking itself, “How do we decide which are the best?” or, “How do we interpret beauty?” That is what makes the decision difficult. We know people have different ideas about what is beautiful. Some residents prefer a profusion of colourful flowers, while others have focussed on innovative landscaping, or a traditional Italian vegetable garden, or some innovative way to solve the challenges of wind and weather, sun, and shade, or the direction their house faces. Some residents have created special floral displays on side or back alleys, but these cannot always be seen by the passing public. Most of the winners have put a lot of continuous work into their front yards, which are visible from the street.

Some have asked what the criteria is for being chosen as one of the 100 great yards. We recognize that there are many interpretations of beauty, and we wanted to include them all. We realize that we have to remain flexible to allow for a variety of tastes. So, we came up with a kind of checklist for nominators to think about as they walked through their areas. These may include:

  • Flowers
  • Trees or shrubs
  • Veggies
  • Creative landscaping
  • Special features
  • Fences
  • Environmental solutions to light, water, soil, or birds/bees

Basically, we looked for whatever ingenuity was used to develop and care for a beautiful space. In addition, a yard had to show that it was cared for: watered, weeded, mowed, pruned, etc.

Each year since 2014, our neighbourhood was divided into specific areas, which also included businesses, churches, agencies, and government buildings such as schools. We originally had 12 areas, but now have ten, to try to ensure an equal spread of households, businesses, and other buildings. We tried to acknowledge all the work that people had put into making their yards or gardens more beautiful. Every year, each nominator had to choose a winner in their area. The system is not perfect, or “written in stone,” but the goal is being achieved: more residents are taking good care of their yards and gardens.

So, look around your area and see who else needs to be nominated as one of the 100 best yards in McCauley. Also, ask yourself what you can do to improve the beauty of McCauley’s gardens. One suggestion was to ask the winners to write a brief story of their gardens, with photos. If you are a winner this year, and would like to do this, please send them to me, as I am year’s coordinator. My email is: joannemcneal1106@gmail.com.

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