On Aug. 29 at Benvoulin Heritage Church, a celebration was held to honour the winners of the Green Thumb Garden Contest 2012.
The Green Thumb Awards recognize individuals, neighbourhoods and businesses that beautify our community through their gardening and stewardship efforts and raise awareness of the important role landscaping plays in our community, thereby encouraging others to participate.
Congratulations to all winners:
Best large garden and boulevard: Louba Kruger is a plant collector who has made a beautiful garden on her corner lot and the boulevard.
Best medium size garden: Mary Fabris and Paul Chappie designed their garden for a wonderful garden view from the balcony. It includes very productive raised vegetable beds.
Best small garden: Margaret Vick and Stan Szombathy created a jewel of a garden, a very good example of how to make the most of a small garden lot.
Best garden design: Ursula and Bill Thiessen have created gardens of quiet beauty including Japanese and Zen gardens.
Best large commercial landscaping: The Belgo Wedding Chapel. Terry and John Whitaker made a beautiful wedding setting in their orchard and perennial garden.
Best small commercial landscaping: Fresh Green Grocer. Susan McDonald put attractive landscaping in front of her new business that encouraged neighbouring properties to improve theirs.
Best institutional landscaping: Regency Retirement Resort Sandalwood has colourful common gardens plus raised beds for seniors to do their own gardening. They are filled with veggies and well cared for.
Best multi-unit landscaping: Sandpointe Adult Resort is a gated community that avid gardeners seem to gravitate to. Everyone has a tiny, beautiful garden.
Best school garden: At KLO Middle School, Michelle Hamilton has inspired her students to develop a large native plant garden on the perimeter of the school. The ongoing project includes restoration of the riparian area along Fascieux Creek.
Best block: Marin Crescent, the Quarry, Upper Mission has beautiful, well kept front gardens.
Urban forestry: Dr. John Noble has planted many varieties of trees to create an arboretum on his Mission property.
Gardener of the year: Pat Zander, master gardener and ardent volunteer, has organized the Kelowna Hospital Auxiliary plant sale (the largest in Kelowna) for several years, teaches gardening for Seniors Living in Retirement and mentors new master gardeners.
Outstanding community involvement: Okanagan Master Gardeners give free advice at garden centres and events as well as hands-on work at volunteer managed gardens such as Cottonwoods Serenity Garden, Hospice Garden, Benvoulin and Guisachan Heritage Gardens.
There is still space in my two-night Introduction to Xeriscape class Sept. 24 and Oct.1.
For details and registration information check www.okanaganxeriscape.org.
I am also teaching Easy Maintenance Gardening with Ornamental Grasses on Saturday, Oct. 13, 1 to 3 p.m., at Kinsmen Fieldhouse. Cost is $20 (barcode: 126042). Register online at kelowna.ca/recreation or call 250-469-8800.
Gwen Steele is executive director of the non-profit Okanagan Xeriscape Association. Learn more about Gardening with Nature and plants for the Okanagan from the website www.okanaganxeriscape.org.