NORRISTOWN — By mid -July those vibrant and bountiful zinnias and cheerful marigolds will be brightening your yard with all their seasonal glory and could even earn you a cash prize.
After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the popular Norristown Garden Contest is back, relying on the expertise of judges from the Norristown Garden Club in deciding who has a green thumb worth heralding.
“The contest is for residents of Norristown only,” noted chair Honey Bawduniak. “Some people enter every year and newcomers are welcome too. We look at front, rear and vegetable gardens. It’s really nice, because one lady who lives in the Powell Street area won two years in a row, so then people on her street started planting gardens too and entering. And sometimes we drive around and if we see a nice garden we’ll put an entry form in their mailbox. Sometimes these twin homes will have just a little plot of ground but they plant such nice flowers and it really brightens up the yard. One lady only had a small yard but she did all these container plants and won a $50 prize.”
The Garden Contest also serves as an educational tool in many instances, Bawduniak noted.
“Stewart Middle School won in 2019 for their organic strawberry garden. The kids were so surprised to find out they could raise their own strawberries,” Bawduniak said.
Window Boxes and Container gardens are also eligible, as well as schools, churches and other public places.
Deadline to enter is June 30. Judging will take place on July 14.
Entry forms are available at Genuardi’s Greenhouse, 410 Fornance St., Norristown, at the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library, 1001 Powell St., Norristown; the temporary Municipal Hall in Logan Commerce Center, Suite104, 1700 Markley St., Norristown, and on-line at the Norristown Garden Club (norristowngardenclub.org.)
“It depends how many people enter as far as the number of judges we have,” Bawduniak said. “It’s a little easier to judge now that everyone has cameras on their phones, and we use the pictures to compare the gardens.”
A front yard prize will win $100 for the owner; a rear garden prize wins $75; a vegetable garden, $50. Window boxes and hanging gardens can win a $20 Honorable Mention prize.
The contest is all about beautifying Norristown on a grand scale.
Garden Contest rules specify that gardens must be primarily maintained by non-professional gardeners. Front Flower Gardens shall be judged by size: Small (size of a row or twin home), Medium (size of a semi-detached or small single home), and Large (anything over). Winners will be notified by email, when possible, or by phone. Winners will have a yard sign denoting a Winning Garden placed by Norristown Garden Club. Names of winners and garden photos may be used on Norristown Borough website and Norristown Garden Club’s website. Home addresses will not be published. All winners will be recognized and given their monetary prize at Norristown Garden Club’s September Meeting.
“We want to revitalize Norristown, because it used to be so nice, and this is all about bringing Norristown back,” Bawduniak said. “The contest is really good for the Garden Club and for Norristown.”