The Lexington Council Garden Clubs is offering an opportunity for you to showcase and share your own outstanding garden, or if the grass is greener in the neighbors' yard, to nominate them for recognition in the group's Lexington in Bloom contest.
Program chairwoman Liz Pattengill said she would like help from residents in all Fayette County neighborhoods in locating special gardens, the sort that are eye-catching and leave people feeling glad to live here.
"Lexington is growing so fast," Pattengill says, "that there seem to be subdivisions popping up everywhere. It helps to have eyes out noticing worthy candidates."
There is only one week left to meet the May 31 deadline for nominations.
Judges — including landscape designers, master gardeners, previous winners and some of the club's own experienced gardeners — will visit each garden.
Winners will be honored at a reception at 2 p.m. June 22 at The Arboretum's Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center, 500 Alumni Drive.
The contest started in 1992 and was held until 2002. It returned in 2010 and has been held every two years since then.
Winners this year will be chosen in each of four county quadrants and five categories, including front yards designed by amateurs and those created by professional designers; those at large and at small businesses; and an open-ended miscellaneous category, examples of which could be container gardens, window boxes, community gardens and non-profit organizations.
Gardens must be in Fayette County and must be visible from the street. Points will be awarded for the overall first impression, creativity, plant selection, appropriateness, maintenance, and use of color and texture in each garden
Pattengill said she has noticed gardening trends that include incorporating rain gardens and monarch butterfly way stations, and using more native plants.
"We are trying to think outside the box and adjust to the changes in organic gardening, native plantings, and encourage those," she says.
Vegetable gardens also seem to be appearing in front yards and curb strips. One such garden in the Henry Clay Boulevard area was growing strawberries and leaf lettuce to share with passersby.
"The miscellaneous category is getting more diverse," Pattengill says.
She said the purpose of the program is not only to award winners, but to instill a spirit of community, to increase civic pride, and to improve the city's visual appeal by the imaginative use of flowers, plants and trees.
The rewards for a job well done go both ways.
"We found a noteworthy front and side garden off Winchester Road, south of Loudon" Avenue, Pattengill says. "The gentleman who lives there was using a cane but said he did the yard work himself. He seemed really pleased to have people stop and admire his work, and that made us feel our outing was worthwhile."