Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Norristown Gardens - A Contest and a Non-Contest

My pink roses last year. 
I've said before that N-town in summer is a garden place. Ride down certain streets, and you'll see flowers in front of every house. Even many of our row houses that have no front yards have window boxes or container plantings. A peek into a lot of side and back yards reveals thriving vegetable beds and more flowers. And we've got a whole slew of gardeners tending community plots.

I think we take our gardens for granted, but as I've said many times before, they're an asset to the look of our town. We should all express appreciation to the residents who make them happen each year.

At the Arts Hill Fest last Saturday, I stopped and talked to the ladies at the Norristown Garden Club booth. What attracted me to their table was a display of photos of Marshall Street School kids learning about and doing gardening. I'm a firm believer that one of the best ways to teach kids biology is to get them outside working in a garden early in life--they not only learn botany with the plants, but also about bees and earthworms and eco-systems.

Anyway, the Garden Club told me about this year's contest they're running for Norristown gardens. CASH prizes, folks. 1st prize in each category is $100, 2nd is $50, 3rd is $25, and Honorable Mention is $20. The categories you can enter are Front Yard Garden, Rear Yard Flower Garden, Vegetable Garden, Window Box, Container Garden, and Public Places (Churches, Schools, City Lots, etc.). Any garden within Norristown's limits is eligible. The deadline to enter is June 6th. They'll come to judge your garden on July 9. So you all have plenty of time to get your gardens in tip-top shape.

The Garden Club has a form to fill out for contest entry, but it's not available on their website or facebook page. I have a pdf of it, though no way to pass it on through this blog. Still, if you want to enter, send me an email at this address and I'll send you the pdf. If you don't garden, but see a plot in your neighborhood that you think could win, email me for the form and give it to your neighbor. It's a bilingual form, so we can get the whole community involved.

That said, I have to admit that where any art is concerned (and gardening is most definitely an art), I have an aversion to contests. Art shouldn't be about competition. There's a reason we all can identify with the phrase "Dance like nobody is watching." We don't want to be judged on self-expression. When we aren't judged, we're free to delight in the joy that comes from being creative. And when we all share our creativity with each other without fear of judgment, we all have way more fun.

My day lilies in 2013 
So, I've decided that the Norristown Diary will sponsor a Norristown Gardens Non-Contest this year. Like the rules above, all gardens within town limits are eligible. Simply send me a photo or two of your garden  (jpg, png or gif format) in any or all of the categories above (or add new categories: side yard garden, for instance) to the same email address as above. Tell me where in town the garden is. I'll post the photos I receive on the Diary every now and then. If I get enough photos, I'll even start a Facebook page to show how great our gardens look. Send the photos anytime you've got something pretty or interesting blooming in your garden. Tell me in the email if you want your name mentioned or if you'd just prefer something generic like "a front yard garden on Arch Street."

Please, though, if you send pictures of people, I need permission from each to publish their image or I'll crop them out. And I won't publish photos of children on the internet with any hint of where they live, so keep that in mind.

Let's start being proud of our gardens, Norristown. We're a beautiful place during the growing season.


  1. Elena,
    Entry forms for the Garden Contest are at the library and borough office. They are online at Norristown.Org under News. Hope our neighbors will enter this contest.

  2. I would have liked to enter, but the "parents" that recently moved to this area allow their children and teens to destroy the work that a lot of us gardeners put into our yards