Went on a judging spree tonight for the East York Blooming Contest. Checked out 11 different gardens, mostly under the Environmental category.
Judges attended an orientation earlier this summer at Maple Cottage where we were instructed not to discriminate against any colour, variety of plant, or style of garden, but to judge what we saw according to the guidelines in the point schedule. In the environmental category I viewed tonight, that meant considering the design, use of plants & hard landscaping, condition and maintenance of the garden, along with colour and texture.
Like a good judge, I stuck to the point schedule, which meant my personal favourites didn't necessarily get the top scores of the evening. Although I had to wonder about how one or two of these sites came to be nominated, overall the gardens were quite lovely.
My favourites weren't necessarily the biggest or most exotic looking, but the ones that had a touch of whimsy; that laid a welcome mat out for birds & pollinators (plants with nectar or berries and blossoms, ponds, fountains, bird baths); or displayed an easy elegance translating into informal, low maintenance (not no maintenance), with a splash of colour.