I joined a committee in Creve Coeur about 6 years ago. I was attracted to the Recycling, Environment and Beautification Committee because they were planning to hold a citywide garden contest and were asking for residents who had an interest in gardening to join the group. I loved the idea of a contest that awards citizens, schools, retail establishments and businesses because of the gardens they create, so I joined. I proudly call myself a “Chronic Volunteer” and that pretty much sums up what I do. I joined the committee because of the garden contest.
Every other year we ask for nominations for the contest. The contestant has to fill out an online form and supply photos of their garden. It’s so simple, a 1st grader could do it.
There are many categories in the contest. Like I said previously, we have awards for homeowners, subdivision entrances, schools, churches and institutions. This year we had categories for “Best Rain Garden,” and “Best Storm Water Solution,” but we received no entries. The next contest (in 2014) might have an award for “Favorite Tree,” or “Best Recycled Garden.” We like to mix it up! In addition to changing up the categories in the contest, the committee’s title has changed- we’re now the Horticulture, Environment and Beautification Committee.
This year we had an award for “Best Curb Appeal.” Steve Sigmund of Royal Manor Drive won hands down with his clean, manicured planting beds. Steve’s home is on the corner of Ladue Road and the entrance to the subdivision. You’ll know his house if you’re frequent Ladue Road east of Mason. There’s no invasive, nasty Honeysuckle, just crisp mulched and bordered beds. Steve is a die-hard Mizzou fan, we loved the way he proudly flies the black and gold flag at his front door. Adding to the curb appeal were many containers filled with bright flowers. The back patio keeps the clean theme going with nicely clipped hedges and more flowers. I have to think that Steve’s neighbors thank him for the manicured and professional way his landscape brightens the neighborhood. I thank him for keeping Honeysuckle, my nemesis, off Ladue Road!
Another award in the homeowner category is “Best Use of Small Space.” We’ve had this award before and awarded it to a homeowner who had a small lot and managed to pack lots of interest into it. The previous winner’s garden boasted a collection of Bonsai, a small pond, a vegetable garden and lots of birdfeeders. This year the award went to Lizz Chamberlain of Conway Road. Lizz has a real flair for decorating and loves to entertain. Her classic brick patio boasts cast iron furniture accented with pillows, an umbrella and cushions in bright colors: it bumps up the charm factor big time. “Mophead” Hydrangeas, “Annabelle” Hydrangeas, Hosta, Impatiens, and Boxwood encircle her lovely back patio with charm and character. Lizz also added large planters, containers and window boxes chock full of flowers and vines to make every visitor feel welcome. Did I mention that she also had a darling galvanized watering can rigged up as a water feature? For all this and more, Lizz’s garden was voted “Best Use of Small Space.”
The other category for Creve Coeur homeowner is “Best in City.” We don’t take this category lightly, the gardener who wins this title must have a whole lot going on: creativity, diversity and a real desire to take gardening to the next level. George, the homeowner on North Walling Drive won this title unanimously. In fact, the group wanted to give him 1st place in the “Container Gardening” category as well. Unfortunately, only one award per homeowner is possible. George is an avid Orchid collector and built a wooden grid that hangs inside one of his 3 enormous Catalpa trees. The trees are mind-boggling and so impressive. The pool deck at the North Walling home boasts numerous containers of Succulents, Cacti, Palms, Ficus and a huge container of bright red Castor Bean plants. Three huge Castor Bean plants fill a large, contemporary container, making quite an impact in the corner of the pool deck. Walking down the property to the back garden, numerous birdfeeders and a Bluebird house entice winged visitors. Under the shade of 2 enormous Catalpa trees, a Colorado Blue Spruce, some River Birch and Dogwood is a peaceful, serene shade garden, complete with a flagstone path and large rock seating stones that leads to 2 Adirondack chairs. A long sweep of invasive Honeysuckle was removed and planted with “Endless Summer,” “Annabelle,” and “Limelight” Hydrangeas. Red-Twig Dogwood offer great color and fill the center of the garden. Hosta, variegated Solomon Seal, Russian Comfrey, Spiderwort, Celandine Poppy, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Vinca and more offer flowers year-round. Yes, this garden has it all. Worthy of “Best in City.”
If you’ve been to Pastries of Denmark on Olive Street Road in Heritage Plaza recently, you must have noticed the colorful green umbrellas that grace the patio tables outside. No doubt you’ve also seen the many containers of colorful flowers out front as well. Visitors noticed, the committee noticed, so we gave Pastries of Denmark the “Best in Commercial” award. Some well-placed containers, full of annual color are the perfect spot to place signs that advertise specials and offer suggestions for carryout or eat-in meals. The group chose Pastries of Denmark because it’s a splash of color and charm that is easily attainable for any storefront. The financial outlay isn’t going to break the bank, and it beautifies the entire building. Plus, we loved that the green color of the umbrellas matches the bakeries’ logo!
Barnes-Jewish West County took the prize in the “Best Institutional” category. All of the judges were in agreement that Barnes-Jewish went all out this year. The front entrance to the hospital is a riot of color. Large containers hold huge yellow Hibiscus trees. They’re under planted with vines and annuals filling out the enormous pots with riotous color. Enormous beds of Petunias in a variety of colors fill borders in front of the hospital, along the sidewalk as well as all along the entrance. Neatly manicured island beds planted with Daylilies, Barberry, Liriope and Burning Bush brighten up both sides of the large monument sign on Olive and Mason. Thanks, Barnes West for ramping up the visual interest and beautifying the grounds. It’s a great job and appreciated by the City of Creve Coeur.
Many entries arrive for the “Best “Subdivision/Condominium Entrance/Common Ground” but there is only one winner. Enclave at Bellerive (Ladue and Mason Roads) won because of the lovely entrance plantings and also for the spectacular pond and waterfall display in the common ground area. Clipped Boxwood, hot pink Knockout Roses, Petunias and Liriope are effectively planted in a linear and classic design. The overall feeling screams Southern hospitality and grandeur. Upon entering the subdivision, you are immediately drawn to the majestic waterfalls, pond and statuesque gazebo. I can imagine time spent relaxing and listening to the sounds of moving water as it falls, flowing into the pond. Take a walk around some afternoon when you have time to spare. You’ll be glad you did. Enclave at Bellerive has no rival and absolutely deserves the “Best Subdivision/ Condominium Entrance/ and Common Ground.”
So, there you have it. The above mentioned gardens are the 2012 winners in Creve Coeur’s Beautification Contest. If you like to garden, or if you feel that your subdivision entrance could be shaped up, you’ve got 2 years to do it. If you’re a business, church, school or institution that would like to beautify your grounds while beautifying Creve Coeur, you’ve got some time to hop on the gardening bandwagon. We’ll be looking for your application in spring 2014!