Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Running to Bloom

Just a quick note. I'm at the Downtown 5k race and Pizza extravaganza with a booth promoting the Westfield in Bloom garden and flower competition.
I'm also handing out coupons for 30% off any one item at Williams. Stop in and say hi! And tell me if you like all the flowers around town.
-Dave Williams

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Finished Product

Dave Williams already posted a picture of the new planter at Murray's newstand at the South Side train station which was installed on Monday, but I here's another picture of the finished product. It looks great!!
Thank you Donna Perch for your vision, Coldwell Banker (East and West locations) for your donation to the cause, Dave Williams of Williams Nursery (for your design and donation of the plants), Westfield Lumber for the materials, Galaxy Construction for the construction of the planter, and Fafard Soil for the all of the soil.

It looks beautiful and a testament to a team effort! Do you know how long I have been nagging Murray to remove those old newsracks and tarp! (Oh and thanks to our friends at DPW today who helped dispose of the old newsracks!)

Lilies in the Garden

Lynne, a Westfield resident, writes "Numerous mornings this spring I would wake up, look out my window, and see strangers on my front lawn taking pictures of my garden! I always took it as a great compliment. But this morning as I drove Central Ave and saw the lovely baskets and banner, I wondered if that picture-taking might be related to your Westfield In Bloom program. So, I thought I'd send along some pictures".

I'm not sure if the picture-taking was related to our Westfield in Bloom program, but the lilies
in your garden are absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gardener in Training

Thanks to Sandra S for sharing the pictures of her garden, and especially for the one of her daughter helping with the watering. Absolutely adorable!
Great path and garden, too!

Monday, July 12, 2010

News flash! Murray has a New Planter

Special Thanks to Donna Perch, Coldwell Banker, Galaxy Building Contractors, Westfield Lumber and Williams Nursery for adding this great flowering addition to to the South Ave Train Station. Also special thanks to Fafard Soil for providing the soil for the planter.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Westfield is Blooming!!!

Despite the heat wave, Westfield is blooming and getting ready for the America in Bloom judges, Bruce Riggs and Marlboro Packard who will be coming to town on Sunday, July 10, 2010. They will be here until Wednesday morning and will be viewing 80% of the community in the following categories: floral displays, tidiness, landscaped areaas, urban forestry, heritage, community involvement, turf and groundcovers, and environmental effort.
In 2009, the first year Westfield competed, we received special mention and 4/5 bloom rating for our floral displays (a significant achievement for never having floral displays before). Westfield is also honored to be the only town in the state of New Jersey to compete. It is a friendly competition among 28 towns in the US, and Westfield is competing against Michigan City, IN and Murray City, UT in our population category.

Good luck Westfield! Thanks to all who have participated in Westfield in Bloom!
Westfield in Bloom Co-Leaders: Dave Williams and Sherry Cronin
Photo credit: Jamie Lemberg, Downtown Westfield Corporation

Thanks to Scape-Abilities

It was all hands on deck recently at the train station. In addition to Town of Westfield Department of Public Works, NJ Transit, and some volunteers, Scape-Abilities lent some needed helping hands. Steve Costalos from Scape-Abilities provided two of his crew to help out at the South Side train station. They did a great job too! Thanks Steve and Scape-Abilties! (and thanks to Dave Williams for asking them to help in the effort!)

Warren conquered the weeds!

Warren Rorden, a long-time volunteer and fellow Rotarian, was seen getting the upper hand on some ferocious weeds recently at the park. Warren spent an afternoon and morning at Mindowaskin and did a great job! Thanks Warren!

New Signs at Memorial Pool

As I was heading back today from the Conservation Center, I happened to notice that there was alot of activity taking place --not in the pool but rather outside. The Kirna family and their friends were putting up new signs at the Memorial Pool. This was a project which was presented last July to the Mayor and Town Council as an Eagle Scout project, but it took a while to raise the necessary funds and to fabricate the signs. Here's a link to the article on Westfield Patch last year...

The signs look great! John Kirna can be seen here with his father Oliver taking special care to install one of the two signs. Also, all of the landscaping around the base of the signage was donated by none other guessed it...Williams Nursery!!!

By the way, Andrew Kirna (John's brother) just placed a new sign at the Municipal Building as an Eagle Scout Project too. These signs look so professional, and despite my attempts to recruit them to make some new signs for some of our downtown businesses, they said that they were going to retire now from sign making when these projects were completed.

Congratulations Kirna family! Thanks to everyone who contributed to this great project and thanks to the Kirna's we have some great new additions to Westfield's landscape!

Central Avenue Gateway

Thanks to Williams Nursery for installing the baskets on the fence at the gateway to downtown from Central Avenue. Dave Williams and crew have been tremendous partners in our Westfield in Bloom effort!

Also, thanks to volunteers Rudy Caprario, Daniel Cronin and Barry Corcoran for their assistance in helping me to clean up the sidewalks on both sides as well. It looks great!

Training Baskets

Williams Nursery staff member Matt Mitchell helps install the new hanging baskets at the train station.

Matt was also responsible for the daily watering ofall the baskets while they were in our greenhouse.

-- Post From My iPhone

Central Ave Solution

In planning for the baskets for the light posts in town, the growers have to be notified almost 6 months in advance to produce the flowers. We had assumed that the light posts would have been installed on the South side of the train station, and we had the baskets waiting and ready to go. An unexpected delay, and the poles aren't up.

We decided to mount the baskets on the fence on the Central Ave underpass. Its one of the important entrance spaces to the downtown area, and it creates an inviting welcome to our great town.

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Lincoln School goes from Tree to New Garden Space

I received a note in May from Susan Kowalenko telling me about Girl Scout Anna Liah DeRojas's garden project at Lincoln School. It started with a tree that she received from Williams Nursery as part of our donation of trees to celebrate arbor day.

They used the tree to start a big family.The big family is the new garden at the kindergarten center at Lincoln School.

Anna Liah DeRojas is a sophomore at Westfield High School, she approached Lincoln School with the idea. She wanted to create a multi-purpose garden on the site for her Senior Gold Project. The tree is the center piece of the garden.

The garden includes an educational and a butterfly component. Four “sensory” beds have been placed in the center of the garden which can be used by the teachers as an educational tool (they include taste, touch, sight, and smell).

Lots of people were involved in the project.
Special thanks to Katie Bartlett for providing the pictures and the DPW for moving the heavy paving stones.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Condo Rennovations

The Cowperthwaite condominium complex underwent a complete renovation of its gardens recently. The goal was to remove overgrown shrubs and to update the gardens by adding color and diversity. Plants chosen are dwarf or slow growing to keep maintenance costs low. Shrubs and trees flower throughout the warm months providing ongoing interest and have berries which create fall and winter color.

A new garden on the right side of the entrance features native trees and shrubs. Three 'Winter King' hawthorn trees grace the garden providing white flowers in the spring, beautiful foliage and bright red berries in the fall. Dwarf fothergilla shrubs also bloom in the spring and feature colorful foliage throughout most of the growing season. Virginia sweetspire blooms in the summer and has burgundy fall foliage. The garden is ringed by Blue Star junipers and amsonia, a perennial native to the United States. It has blue flowers in the early summer and bright yellow fall foliage.

Hydrangeas abound throughout the garden. 'Endless Summer' hydrangeas are used along the front of many of the units with 'Limelight' on the corners. Oakleaf hydrangeas grow along the sides of various units with an abundance to be found on the right side of the complex facing Clark Street.

A dwarf Japanese holly called 'Hoogendorn' is used throughout the complex, as well as slow growing Blue Star junipers. Red crape myrtlewhich has showy late summer flowers, is already the favorite of many owners. Two native hollies, inkberry, and winterberry can withstand wet areas so are used in low-lying spots on the property.

The updated gardens provide interest and color throughout the year in addition to showing native plants that will withstand New Jersey's diverse climate. Clare Minick, the landscape designer, has kept in mind the needs of the condominium owners while focusing on Cowperthwaite Square's visual appeal.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Heart of Stonleigh Park

Nestled in the heart of Stoneleigh Park, one of the oldest, most charming neighborhoods in Westfield, sits a unique home occupied by the Kettlesons who have lived in Wesfield since 2001. One of the main features of the home is the British garden which they established and continue to maintain themselves. Mrs. Kettleson is the chief landscape designer. She has completed the Master Gardener program and has taken additional gardening and landscape courses at Rutgers.

Mr. and Mrs. Kettleson moved to Westfield from Toronto, Canada. They are passionate about their garden and about minimal use of chemicals. They focus on organic materials by using compost created on the property to fertilize their plants.

Their garden is an exciting display of beautiful flowers throughout the year. In the spring the garden is graced by more than three thousand bulbs which spill out everywhere providing a mix of colors and textures typical of English gardening. Many of the beds are framed with boxwood which focuses attention and adds a unique border. Interest is added to the garden not only through an abundance of flowers but also by use of garden accents. A massive garden urn graces the front of the house and additional pieces are to be found throughout the backyard.

The garden has impressive plantings in bloom throughout the year beginning with snowdrops in spring followed by a succession of bulbs. White, yellow, and purple are used for tulips and fritillaries. Abundant alliums are offset by parrot tulips and daffodils. Clematis blooms throughout the summer in addition to perennials such as foxglove, delphinium, and artemesia. Trillium, astilbe and hydrangeas may be found in profusion. Silver grasses enhance purple plantings in the summer garden. Monkshood and lilies are found in many of the beds blooming into fall.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Exceptional Roses, Exceptional Garden

The Roberts garden on Fairmont Avenue is an entrancing blend of heirloom and modern plants combined with antique garden artifacts. The Roberts have lived in their house for four years and have spent much time adapting the garden to their unique interests. Dr. Roberts is the "head gardener" in addition to his work as pastor of TWhe Presbyterian Church in Westfield. Mrs. Roberts is the "under gardener" who completes many of the daily chores that keep a garden tidy and free of pests.

The backyard of their home is an entirely new design with a strong influence from Dr. Roberts' midwestern origins. He grew up with a great garden at his home in Missouri and carried the love of flowers and gardening to today's Westfield home. The Roberts have added a patio to the backyard using existing hardscape materials. They also added a small pond, which enhances the antique statue that formerly resided in the garden of Dr. Roberts' grandparents. A black lace sambucca has been planted in back of the statue to heighten its beauty.
In the spring witch hazel is in bloom as is one of their camellias. As the weather warms, there is an abundance of day lilies and blackeyed susans that blend well with the many varieties of roses. Most are David Austin roses. Exceptions are heirloom roses: the 'Harrison Rose' that blooms right after the forsythia and the 'Paul Neyon' started by Dr. Roberts great grandmother. It is a hybrid perpetual rose with huge pink blossoms.

Another striking feature of this garden is the perennial Kirengeshoma, which looks like a giant sunflower. Its beautiful golden flower is an irrestible treat to passing goldfinch. The Roberts garden is also home to a number of apple trees. Among them is a new offering called Gingergold. It originated in the South following Hurricane Camille's devastation of the orchards in Virginia. One of the world's foremost apple historians advised Dr. Roberts on which apples to plant.

Costumes as Garden Art

The second stop I made on the Garden Club of Westfield's Tour was the Rekoon House.
The Rekoon home is located on one of the highest points in Indian Forest, a residential area in Westfield. The location provides a breathtaking view of the town. The Rekoons have lived in their home for over sixteen years and have spent much of that time in renovating and restoring the garden to its present colorful condition. When they arrived, the garden was parched and contained none of the plantings that you will see.

The first landscaping was very traditional in nature. It soon was replaced with the present multihued plantings. The garden is at its best in the middle of June when a profusion of flowers are in bloom.
Impatiens, pansies, and roses are in abundance at this time. While their current landscaper does most of the work, he confers with Mrs. Rekoon to plan plant selection and location.

Two patios occupy more than two thirds of an acre on this property. Garden art displayed here is offset by the raccoon statuary collection owned by the Rakoons. As you enter the gate of the garden, the patios and much of the art can be seen. The back garden also contains a swing counterbalanced by shrubbery planted to bring color and structure to the garden throughout the year.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Butterflies and Nature and Relaxation oh my!

Sherry had posted a few of the pictures that she had taken at Oak House during the Garden Club of Westfields Papillion Garden Tour. I have a few that I want to share myself.
Dianne and William have a wonderful space. They pay great attention to color too. Look at how the blue colored bench, bistro set and arbor compliment the garden. They have some great blue hydrangeas that are the same color.  The garden not only is a great place to visit if you were a bird or a butterfly, its a great place to relax in too. They even had a few plants that I never saw before. I loved the large leaved Petasides (Butterbur). Dianne told me that the leaves turn to follow the full moon! How Cool!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Back Yard Surprise

One of the best things about the Westfield in Bloom project is that I've gotten to see some amazing garden spaces that I've never known to exist.

The Day that we received these pictures I was visiting someone only a few hundred feet away. I never would have guessed that this backyard oasis was there.

Thanks to Jennifer Wikoff for providing us with these photos! She has a wonderful shade garden of hostas along with some beautiful roses.

Nicely Done! 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lots of work taking place around town!

Every day in Downtown Westfield, it seems that someone is doing something to improve their properties. On July 1st, we noticed that the Westfield Service League was getting a new color on their previously very brown building, and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was getting work too!

Just more reasons why people love Downtown Westfield!

Win Gift Certificates!!!

Don't forget to enter your favorite gardens, window boxes, storefronts in our contest as part of the Westfield in Bloom project!

Prizes will be awarded for:
  • Best window boxes
  • Best planters
  • Best kid's gardens
  • Best storefronts
  • Best of Westfield
  • Best Gardens

Win Gift Certificates to your favorite Downtown Westfield business and Williams Nursery! Each winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to the downtown business of your choice and a $25 gift certificate to Williams Nursery.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Here They Go Again!

Gerry and Dennis of the Town of Westfield Department of Public Works (DPW) was at it again this week. After repairing the belgium block curbing on the islands in the South Avenue parking lot, they ripped out the old and tired landscaping to put river rock in the island beds. Yea!

Thanks Gerry and Dennis (again!) and of course, thanks to the Town of Westfield and the DPW supervisors (Claude particularly) for assigning them to improve that area!

The America in Bloom judges will be impressed with all of the projects that DPW has taken on when they visit July 11-13, 2010.

Barry recruited another volunteer!

It was the hottest day this week when Barry Corcoran worked with volunteer, Paula Ehoff, Chief Operating Officer of the Westfield Y, and some other community service kids. The task was to complete the weeding and mulching of municipal Lot #1 near Trader Joe's. Paula walked through the lot, saw what was happening, and quickly went home and changed. Before we knew it, Paula showed up with a wheelbarrow to help out!

Thanks Paula and Barry! The lot hasn't looked that great in a long time!!

By the way, Barry finished his volunteer work this week as he was recruited to return to his pre-retirement job. We are sad that he is gone, but obviously he is in high demand!

We thank Barry for his tireless effort in helping downtown Westfield get ready for the America in Bloom judges who will visit July 11-13!

The Habitat Garden at Franklin School

The Habitat Garden at Franklin elementary school provides children with an outdoor environment for learning about horticulture, wildlife and how to better protect our earth. It also provides the teachers with an outdoor classroom to supplement their teaching of math, science, writing and art. The children meet monthly in the fall and spring to plant annuals, perennials and vegetables in the garden as well as weed and rake to maintain it. They also "turn the compost" and do crafts and other activities related to learning about nature and gardening. The garden has several different areas which are connected by a series of paths which allow the children to more easily navigate and explore. It is Wildlife Certified and has a dedicated area for composting as well as an outdoor weather station. During the school year, several classrooms learned about composting and contributed items from their homes to three garden composters. The butterfly section of the garden has shrubs and perennials that attract butterflies and a small butterfly house. The sensory section has four dedicated boxes for sight, taste, smell and touch and encourages the children to identify the different smells and textures. The children are growing broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, peas, beets, brussel sprouts and radishes and had their first harvest in June which was celebrated with a vegetable tasting. The garden also provides a place for the community to enjoy during non-school hours, with several benches for seating and a nice environment to read a book or have lunch.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Bones, 2009 America in Bloom judge. (The judges loved this garden stop on their tour last year!)