Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oak House in Bloom

I was quite excited when Sherry and I received this email from Diane Genco and Gene Schaefer for inclusion in our town's entry in America in Bloom. Here's a garden that not only provides beauty, it provides a habitat for wildlife, and its also a waystation for Monarch butterflies!

Here's an excerpt of the email they sent to us:
We are listed as an official site for Monarch Waystation for Monarch Watch ( it means that we have all components needed for Monarch Butterflies, they need host plants for the caterpillars-milkweed and nectar plants for the butterflies. I hand harvest eggs from the milkweed, rear, release and tag the Monarchs for their flight to Mexico in the Fall). We have a shared garden space with our neighbors and their children have been actively involved in the Monarch release (as you can see by the photos that they provided).

We also are a National Wildlife Federation's Certified Wildlife Habitat™ since 2001.
This means that we have met the following criteria and have provided and will continue to provide elements for each of the following areas:

*Food Sources - For example: Native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
*Water Sources - For example: Birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
*Places for Cover - For example: Thicket, rockpile, birdhouse
*Places to Raise Young - For example: Dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond
*Sustainable Gardening - For example: Mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizer

In our garden we plant many native species- and the gardens look very different at different times of the year.
We have been working on the gardens for 22 years and still is a work in progress.

Diane and Gene have an "After Father's Day Rule", no more heavy garden work-just basic work and enjoy the garden.

What an great space to enjoy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You don't have to be a Park to participate...

If your a resident in Westfield you can take part in Westfield in Bloom. This picture was sent to us by Betty Kettleson. What a great front yard! Thanks for the picture.

If you want to be included in the compilation that we are putting together for the judges send your picture with your name and address to
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Monday, May 4, 2009

America in Bloom Judges are Coming to Westfield!

Westfield, NJ - Downtown Westfield Corporation and Williams Nursery of Westfield have teamed up for Westfield to be awarded a national "America in Bloom" award. The America in Bloom contest awards community applicants for their efforts in the following categories: tidiness, environmental, community involvement, heritage, urban forestry, landscaped areas, floral display, and turf and ground cover areas. The DWC and Williams Nursery are partnering with the Town of Westfield and other community organizations like the Garden Club of Westfield, Rake & Hoe Garden Club, Friends of Mindowaskin, Master Gardeners, and many other volunteers to help Westfield win the contest.

Two judges will be visiting Westfield on July 2 and 3 as part of the AIB national beautification campaign and contest. Westfield is one of 39 cities competing in 10 population categories in this friendly contest that promotes community involvement, patriotism, and civic pride along with beautiful landscapes.

America in Bloom is modeled after Canada’s successful Communities in Bloom program, which began more than eight years ago with just 29 cities and has grown to include several hundred competing provincially, nationally, and internationally. AIB began on a small scale in 2001 when four US cities were mentored by Canadian cities in environmental awareness, community involvement, heritage, urban forestry, landscaped areas, floral displays, and turf and ground cover areas.

Judges are professionally trained volunteers. While many are retirees with careers devoted to public gardening and municipal grounds keeping, others are master gardeners and civic activists. The same pair of judges will evaluate each community within a population category.

America in Bloom judges begin their journey in the Southeast in June and will finish the end of July. In their travels, they will witness the same community spirit that made Canada’s program so successful. “In speaking with participants, I find a new-found enthusiasm for their neighbors and the community they live in,” says Alex Pearl, AIB’s chief justice. “Municipalities, businesses, and individuals are willing to pitch in. Little efforts go a long way to include so many people. America in Bloom is building pride through the use of plants.”

The results of the competition will be revealed at the America in Bloom awards symposium in October in Hershey, PA. In addition to the awards banquet, there will be educational seminars and tours to horticultural attractions in the area. For local information about Westfield’s participation or to submit stories and digital photos of your Westfield residence, business or outdoor environment, contact Sherry Cronin at Downtown Westfield Corporation or Dave Williams at Williams Nursery at or visit the website at For additional information on the national program, contact America in Bloom at 614-487-1117 or visit

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Westfield in Bloom - Reeve House

The Westfield Historical Society successfully obtained a listing for the Reeve Property on the National Register of Historic Places in July 2005. Through the research, it was determined some of the important inhabitants of the property include: Brig. General John Myrick who was raised on the property from 1841 to 1855; William Stitt, the proprietor of the Westfield Hotel who owned and lived on the property from 1872 to 1898; and William Edgar Reeve, a prominent figure in the history of Westfield who purchased the property in 1906 and lived there until his death in 1962; and, subsequently his son Edgar Reeve, who occupied the house until his death in Dec. 2001. The Reeve House was deeded to the Town of Westfield in 1985 from Ralph and Edgar Reeve, the only descendents of the Reeve family. The deed was contingent upon the agreement that Edgar Reeve would live the rest of his life in the house and that the Town would have to use the property for only charitable, municipal or other public non-profit purposes. It is clear from the will of Edgar Reeve and other correspondence that he wanted the Westfield Historical Society to have use of the property and to realize his vision for a museum and resource center.