Residents who beautify their landscaping are being noticed and rewarded in Blendon Township this summer.
Township leaders cultivated a new plan to recognize beautification efforts after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the annual garden show.
Using money from the Blendon-Westerville Joint Economic Development Zone funds and personal donations, 40 Blendon Township residents will be awarded a $100 gift card to Hoover Gardens and a coupon for a significant discount there as well, said Pamela Clegg, Blendon Huber Ridge Blooms coordinator.
In 2008, the Blendon Huber Ridge Blooms garden show and contest began for Huber Ridge residents to promote beautification, she said.
In 2015, Sunbury Woods residents were given that same opportunity.
"The show and contest was not extended to all of Blendon Township for various reasons," Clegg said. "But this year Blooms judges will drive around the entire township and select 40 properties to be awarded for their beauty."
Some residents already have been named winners and residents will continue to be selected through mid-July.
"No one will be entering yards -- it will simply be a matter of seeing the beautification from the street view," Clegg said. "The goal in 2020 is to celebrate those residents who took some extra effort to make their landscape look good in these trying times."
Kim Reed, 4500 Central College Road, said she was excited to have been chosen as one of the winners.
"I knew a little about the Blooms contest but was surprised when Pam contacted me," she said. "Being recognized validates that your efforts are worthwhile."
Reed said gardening is a passion.
"I enjoy creating something beautiful for others to enjoy," she said. "I plan my gardens to coexist harmoniously with the environment they are planted in and plant with the goal of being able to enjoy yearround color and interest."
Reed said she plans to use her prize to continue to support her "habit" with the added perk of supporting a local business.
The garden of Chuck and Debra Kemmer, 3366 Arnett Court, also has been selected as a winner.
Chuck Kemmer said he's retired and tries to keep the property looking nice.
"We grow a lot of ferns, hostas and summer plants," he said. "I've got some old signs/antiques in the flower beds. They (the judges) like the looks of it."
Suzi Heit, 3349 Hunt Club Road, said her garden has been a work in progress since she and her husband, Steven, moved there 20 years ago.
"The previous owner had planted a number of hosta varieties that are still a big part of the gardens," she said. "Over the years I have added other perennial plants and bulbs. Each spring I fill in the spaces with annuals."
Heit said she tries to plant her garden so there always is something blooming.
"Gardening is my therapy as well as an exercise program," she said. "I love digging in the dirt and enjoying the fruits of my labor."
Heit said she agreed with the process used this year because it was inclusive.
"Not everyone knows about the contest. This way it was very objective judging."
Heit said she's going to have a good time wandering around Hoover Gardens looking at what she can add to her gardens, or even finding some new equipment.
Clegg said winning residents receive a keepsake note card in the mail asking for a reply.
Once they reply, they will receive the gift card and coupon.
She said the idea was initiated by trustee Stew Flaherty, Blendon Huber Ridge Blooms chairman and initiator, with support from trustees Jan Heichel and Jim Welch.