(THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN 2015)
POTTSTOWN >> Winners of this year’s Pottstown Home Garden Contest walked out of the awards ceremony hundreds of dollars richer as there was $2,500 available in prizes.
This was the 3rd year for the contest, organized by the MOSAIC Community Land Trust. The competition was different from past years because residents of the entire borough were eligible to enter.
Laura Washington, Pottstown MOSAIC community garden manager, said the coverage area for the contest was expanded with the help of the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation whose mission is healthy living.
“They contacted us and said we want to make the contest bigger, we want to make it better and we want more people to have access to be able to participate,” Washington said.
David Jackson, president of the MOSAIC Community Land Trust Board,” said the opening at the contest awards ceremony which was held Sunday at the Lilly’s Grill restaurant in Pottstown.
Jackson told the audience that the land trust is all about community and that’s what the garden contest exemplifies; community involvement. He also said the contest and the community gardens help to educate residents on healthy living.
“Healthy lifestyles are one of our main missions,” Jackson said.
Washington said people pass by beautiful gardens in the area then the activity become “contagious.” She said it helps people get excited. About 20 Pottstown gardens were entered in this year’s contest.
“It’s through your inspiration that others are inspired to repeat the process and that’s how we change our community,” Washington told gardeners at Sunday’s ceremony.
Madisyn Williams, 10, won first place in the junior gardener category. This was the first year youth 18 and younger had a category in the contest. Williams won $100 for her whiskey barrel garden in her N. Franklin Street front yard. The garden included sweet potato plants and flowers. Williams said she has fun gardening.
“I like how I get to put my hands in the dirt,” she said.
Another new category in this year’s contest was the neighborhood garden. The winning garden is on Chestnut Street. Charlene Charles, Betty Weller and Hub Glenn won first place in this category for the grand prize of $800.
Rich Cressman won first place with his Charlotte Street garden for the residential front or side yard category. He took home $250. Cressman has been working on his garden for about 20 years and it keeps expanding, he said.
“It’s just an ongoing thing which I enjoy. It’s a lot of fun,” Cressman said adding that the activity relaxes him.
Gayle Kramer won first place for the residential backyard garden category and also took home $250. She started a garden at her Cherry Street home when she moved in to add some character, she said. Her garden includes several perennial flowers and a butterfly bush.
“It’s great exercise,” she said.
Washington said the Community Land Trust now has three gardens in Pottstown. People can rent a garden plot at two of the gardens which are located on Chestnut Street. Scholarships are available for those who can’t afford to purchase a plot on their own. She said the community garden supplies compost, the plants, a water system and tools.
“Essentially all the family has to do is show up and they can garden,” she said.
A new edible garden was opened this year on Walnut Street. Everything in the garden is edible such as herbs and fruit.
To find out more about the Pottstown community gardens or the Community Land Trust, visit the website at mosaicclt.org or contact Washington at email@example.com.