October 17, 2021

Maryland Heights Residents

Crazy About Home & Real Estate

Pottstown and Boyertown gardeners celebrate seeds of success at Home Garden Contest ceremony

4 min read

It was Stephanie Beener’s first time entering the Home Garden Contest but that didn’t stop her from taking home a $150 first place cash prize during the awards ceremony luncheon held on Sept. 26 at the Sunnybrook Ballroom’s Social House in Lower Pottsgrove.

“Maybe about two or three years ago, we got a random postcard from a neighbor that said you should really enter this contest,” Beener said.

She still wasn’t quite convinced to participate but continued to receive encouraging notes and comments about her Pottstown home garden. Beener finally decided to enter the 9th annual Home Garden Contest this year for the “general garden” category.

“We have a lot of people who say they walk by with their dog just to see the garden through the seasons,” she said.

Beener was one of more than 30 individuals who were recognized on Sept. 26 for their home gardens. The annual contest is open to anyone who resides within the Boroughs of Pottstown and Boyertown. Each borough has separate judging, but all winners were recognized in the joint awards ceremony. The contest has categories for children, flowers, vegetables, and more. Winners receive cash prizes.

Dave Kraybill, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation president, gave the welcome at this year’s award ceremony and said the purpose of the contest.

“To encourage and support gardening in both beginners and experienced gardeners as this contributes to the physical and the mental health of residents and promotes a sense of community among the residents in the Pottstown and Boyertown Boroughs,” he said.

A total of 72 gardens were part of the 2021 contest, making it the most entries to date. Pottstown had 50 home gardens entered into the contest and Boyertown had 22 gardens entered into the contest.

“The reality is that a lot of people over this pandemic have picked up gardening,” Kraybill said to attendees of the awards ceremony.

He went on to say that the past couple of years have been a challenging time which has led to some personal challenges for people such as depression and other mental health disorders.

Kraybill explained that home gardens don’t just positively impact the homeowner, but also benefit the whole community.

“I think we’re celebrating today your success as gardeners in the garden contest, but at the same time we’re also celebrating the ability of gardeners to influence the world and your neighborhood,” Kraybill said.

Beener said the garden gave her and her husband a reason to get outdoors during the pandemic. The couple spent the pandemic tilling their backyard into a big companion garden with vegetables and flowers.

“It’s nice because it’s bonding,” Beener said. “When we were first together, I would garden and he wouldn’t. Now that he’s into it, he likes that it’s meditative.”

Gretchen Lea, Penn State Extension master gardener and a member of the Home Garden Contest committee, announced the Boyertown contest winners during the awards ceremony.

“There’s not anything bad you can say about gardening,” Lea said. “It’s not bad for your health. It’s not bad for your mental health. I just can’t think of anything bad so I’m glad you’re all doing it.”

Lea said it was a great year for Boyertown gardens as the 2021 contest saw double the entries for the borough. She said the gardens were designed in different, creative ways.

Karrie Miller won first place in the general garden category for Boyertown residents. This was her third year entering the contest after her friend had originally encouraged her to enter.

Miller said the same friend got her interested in gardening about five years ago.

“I started doing a little bit each year and it’s something we do together. We do our flower shopping together,” Miller said.

She said working in her garden is a stress reliever and you don’t know how much you’ll like gardening until you give it a try.

“You can just start out with something small and simple. It doesn’t have to be something large. That’s actually how I started,” Miller said.

The Home Garden Contest is made possible through a collaboration between the Mosaic Community Land Trust and Building a Better Boyertown as well as the main sponsor, the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Representatives of each make up the contest committee which organizes the annual growing event. Registration for the contest opens in the springtime. For more information about the contest and a full list of the 2021 winners, visit www.homegardencontest.com.

 

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