Thank you to all our volunteers for making this unusual year appear almost normal. The beds are looking great and our Front Yard and Outside Spaces programs both had unprecedented participation by community members.
Urban Front Yard Coordinator

Despite a rainy cold start this planting season, and the challenges of the greenhouses being sold out so very quickly the beds and planters are looking great. Thank you volunteers for brightening up our community!

We had a rocky start after having some new volunteers backing out of their volunteer commitments unexpectedly with no notice at planting time, but our wonderful previous volunteers stepped up and graciously filled the spots. We have such a great group of volunteers and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

We did not have a spring Bed Coordinator meeting due to Covid concerns. I personally missed our annual Bed Coordinator meeting as it is such a great way to connect after a long winter. I know it’s just getting info out, but I enjoy the social part of seeing everyone’s smiling faces. But safety first.

I was hoping to organize a social event for our volunteers that would allow us to get together like last years tour of Bremner House but alas that will be put off to the future as well. If anyone has any suggestions for the future, please let me know.

We have a new board member this year; welcome to Brent Drader! I encourage all volunteers to consider becoming a board member. Sitting on the board is not a large time commitment and Beth keeps them from going on and on and on, and another perspective is always a good thing!

Wishing all dirty hands and a happy rest of the summer.

Until our next edition,
Leesa Lacombe
Volunteer, Volunteer Coordinator
Front Yard Spaces

A first this year, the program had to close early as all 600 signs were used with a week left in the planned 4-week program. Nominations continued to come in even after the projected end date. This year we had 30 community judges who took the time to drive by over three days and evaluate the ten properties then give me their top 5 favourites. Thanks to our Front Yard volunteers, garden club members and some previous winners for participating. The 5 Finalists are: 134/138 Avebury Court, 4204 Summerland Drive, 330 Lilac Terrace, 15 Swallow Avenue, 198 Juniper Avenue, and 1008 Moyer Drive. Also new this year was a voting on our Facebook and Instagram pages. A huge thank you to Home Hardware for again providing $100 gift cards for each of the finalists even though it is a rough year for all local businesses.
Social Media

We had numerous giveaways of planters over the summer. A huge thank you to Salisbury Greenhouse, Wallish Greenhouses, Aspen Ridge Greenhouses, Estate Gardens, South Cooking Lake Greenhouses, and our own Pat Hanlan using items from County Clothesline for supplying the planters given away. The online voting for the Front Yards reached over 11,000 people, a huge success. All posts can also be found on our website and are well worth a look as we continue to increase our online presence.
Outdoor Spaces

We were unsure how this would work this year with businesses starting to open in mid June and the greenhouses closing early after selling out. Some of our previous recipients remained closed permanently and some had scaled down floral displays. Despite those challenges, we found many more businesses with floral displays and handed out 115 decals as a thank you, up from last years number of 79. Sherwood Park News allowed us space for 4 “picture of the week” spots and these were shared by our Front Yard and Outdoor Spaces programs. They also did a feature on the Front Yard Finalists.
Upcoming AGM/Board Members Needed

Our AGM will be held virtually this fall. More information will be in the next month with a date and the procedure to follow for participation. With our programs growing so rapidly, we need more board members to make the load lighter for the present members. We are looking at other ways to connect in our community and require more board members to keep moving forward.
Local Gardening Highlights

We continue to get requests for lists of the Front Yard nominees so people can see these amazing yards. This is beyond the scope and time availability of our volunteers, but here are a few suggestions of places to visit for a great flower “fix”. In our own back yard are Smeltzer House with its heritage garden and the Pollinator Garden located just south of the Centennial Park parking lot on Sherwood Drive.

Buzz around Strathcona County” is a fun way to explore our community with 20 stops including Smeltzer House (100th Anniversary) and Broadmoor Park (25th Anniversary). The Pollinator Garden (planted with the help of our volunteers) and the Edible Gardens (planted and maintained by our volunteers) are also points of interest.

If you want to venture further, the St. Albert Botanic Garden is free and open daily. It is run by volunteers. University of Alberta Botanical Gardens (formerly Devonian) is open by reservation only.