Lilia Alexander has come a long way since she first started gardening in Hay River.
“I started when I planted plastic flowers,” she recalled with a laugh. “That was my first one. And people said, ‘I love your flowers,’ and I kept washing it because of the dust.”
In her third year as a gardener, she started to plant real flowers.
On Aug. 15, Alexander was among the many gardeners honoured at the awards ceremony of the ninth-annual Hay River Yards in Bloom contest.
She was honoured with the People’s Choice Award, which is voted on by community residents.
“I’m happy,” she said of winning the award. “I thank all the people who chose me.”
The Darm Crook Award, which goes to the overall outstanding gardener for the whole town, was won by Karen Hordal.
“We look after our yard. It’s fun,” she said, “I mean it’s a hobby.”
Asked what the award means to her, Hordal responded with a laugh, “Oh, I’ll work harder next year.”
The winner of the Darm Crook Award is decided by the judges for the contest.
Alexander and Hordal were among many gardeners honoured at the awards ceremony.
Lorie Steinwand, the contest co-ordinator, said there were more than 200 participants in this year’s competition.
The mission of Yards in Bloom is to encourage people to beautify their spaces and have a tidier, more inviting community.
“I believe that there are more people wanting to learn, or they feel inspired when you have somebody like the Yards in Bloom program knocking on their doors saying, ‘Hey, that’s a unique flower you’ve got there. Can you tell me more about it?'” said Steinwand. “It gives them that confidence, it gives them that boost to do more for the next years.”
Yards in Bloom is a program of the Hay River Beautification Committee.
FACT FILE HEADLINE
The winners are…
Here are the 2015 Hay River Yards in Bloom award winners and honourable mentions. The contest is divided into six regions and several categories.
Darm Crook Award overall winner
People’s Choice Award winner
1. Eva Dryneck
2. Hilda Diane McCallum
Honourable mention: Janet-Marie Fizer
1. Bev and Warren Gibb
2. Chris Robson
Honourable Mention: Yvonne Maurice
Vale Island Bridge to downtown
1. George and Tina Rewega
2. Gladys Wright
Honourable mention: Marge Osted
1. Gwen Maisonneuve
2. Linda Duford
Honourable mention: Josie Farrell
Honourable mention: Jennifer Webb
Downtown to Baptist Church
1. Lilia Alexander
2. Cindy Haley
Honourable mention: Lisa Boyce
Honourable mention: Lionel Painchaud
1. Carol Hoffman
2. Eileen Bolt
Honourable mention: Bonnie Lee
Honourable mention: Angela and Darcy Farnsworth
553 and industrial area
1. Doreen Scheller
2. Marla Mateus
1. Jennifer Tweedie
2. Henry Javarto
Honourable mention: Linda Sanguez
Honourable mention: Louise Seaman
Baptist Church to welcome sign
1. Joel and Heather Hubert
2. Gary Wilson
Honourable mention: Arlane Roy
1. Anna Crosman
2. Dorothy Lirette
Honourable mention: Carol Smith
Honourable mention: Peter Lecouter
Miron Drive south to town limits
1. Karen Rowe
2. Eileen Gour
Honourable mention: Velma Rowe
Honourable mention: Helen Green
1. Jacquie Richards
2. Barb Hancock
Honourable mention: Kerri Domes
Honourable mention: Alison Steed
1. Hay River Suites
2. MSS Ltd.
Containers, a category which includes such things as gardens on apartment balconies:
Kevin Bentson and Natasha LeBlanc