It happens all the time. You’re walking through a neighbourhood and suddenly the world opens as senses take in colours, sounds of water bubbling, a breeze carrying light perfume and pure beauty.
You’ve come across a neighbourhood of gardeners, and this year Bella Coola Court in Juniper Ridge earned the honour of Best City Block during the 35th annual Beautify Kamloops awards.
“Each contribution by individuals makes Kamloops a more attractive place to live,” said Tony Bradwell, chairman of the Beautify Kamloops committee. “This is really about recognizing those people.”
The committee was also hoping to make a good impression this year with two special guests in the audience during awards ceremony at TRU’s Horticulture Gardens: Communities in Bloom judges Bob Ivison of England and Alain Cappelle of Belgium.
The contest involves hundreds of communities across the country and an international challenge involving communities from the United States, Asia and several European countries.
And these judges were duly impressed.
“It’s not only flowers and landscaping,” said Cappelle of what makes an award-winning community, “but the people that really makes the difference.”
Perhaps more than any other, this year’s newest award is all about people. The Jeanette Moslin Award For Volunteering in an Institutional Garden memorializes a woman who dedicated herself to the Hospice Home garden to create a serene world for individuals with terminal illnesses.
Eventually Moslin became a client of the facility and benefited from her own work. The garden then went to the care of Tom and Janet Waterhouse — this year’s winners. And even when Tom died late last year, Janet kept up the volunteering.
Editor Mel Rothenburger presented the oldest award of the event, Best Residential Street Frontage, which has been sponsored by Kamloops Daily News for more than 30 years.
Ken Watson and Louise Marcelet of Azure Place in Sahali earned the prestigious distinction.
“The one we’re presenting the award to tonight really is quite different,” said Rothernburger. “It’s very special because the road frontage is actually quite narrow but it opens up to this wonderful garden with a lot of excellent use of rock and colour and it’s almost like you’re entering the pathway to the Taj Mahal.”
Marcelet was compelled to thank her landscape designer, who was able to materialize her ideas. She was also grateful for her neighbours’ patience.
“I wanted the rock, my neighbours just about had a fit when they saw all the rock,” she laughed.
The Best Vegetable Garden Award winners are Luigi and Torchia of 13th Street, whose bean plant reminded presenter Joe Cooper of childhood stories of Jack and Beanstalk.
“They’ll need step ladders to pick the beans this year,” said Cooper.
The Grassroots Award for encouraging community gardens throughout the City went to Karen Rosenke, who just started her retirement and is now expected to redouble her efforts, according to presenter Rae Wilson.
The culmination of all the efforts makes for a top contender in the running for the Communities in Bloom contest, according to contest judges.
“(Gardens) are important not only because they look good but they make people feel good,” said Ivison. “And we’ve seen tonight that the feel good factor is there. You can see the pride.”
This year’s Beautify Kamloops awards went to:
* Kamloops Daily News Award for Best Residential Street Front: Ken Watson and Louise Marcelet of Azure Place
* Kamloops Garden Club Award for Best Vegetable Garden: Luigi and Giulia Torchia of 13th Street
* Communities in Bloom Committee Award for Best Community Garden Plot: Judith Kinloch for River Street plot #14
* Kobayashi Award for Best Residential Property Not Seen From The Street: Gail Steger of Fleming Circle
* Rona Home Centre Award for Best Water Feature: Rob and Kim Hillard of Schubert Drive
* Art Knapp Plantland Award for Best Multiple Family Residential: Sierra Vista on Pacific Way
* Simply Best Award for Best Organic Garden: David and Elaine Sedgman of Monmouth Drive
* Urban Systems Award for Best Commercial Frontage: Tudor Village on Summit Drive
* North Shore Business Association Award for Best North Shore Commercial: Robo Carwash
* Kiwanis Club of Kamloops Award for Best City Block: Bella Coola
* Grassroots Award: Karen Rosenke
* Jeannette Moslin Memorial Award For A Volunteering In An Institutional Garden: Tom and Janet Waterhouse