Monday, August 8, 2011

A Big Thank You

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the Westfield in Bloom campaign this year:

In addition to major efforts from Keller Williams and Williams Nursery, we would also like to thank Diane Genco (butterfly gardening and educational programs and efforts), The Department of Public Works has stepped up their efforts, many landscapers have done special gardens with their clients this year (namely Scapeabilities & Craig Stock Landscaping), The Westfield Y Leaders in Training Campers helped with weeding by Starbucks and on South Avenue, Westfield Newcomers Club weeded the 9-11 Memorial, spread mulch and planted other materials in June, Rake & Hoe takes care of several gardens around town including Shadowlawn Park, the garden behind the North Avenue Train Station and others, Garden Club of Westfield takes care of the seven planters on the corners of Elm & E. Broad as well as several other gardens, Union County Master Gardeners does a lot of educational programs and has many gardens around including at the Miller-Cory and at Trailside, NJ Transit has put additional focus at the train station with maintenance items, Caffrey Tree Service donated their services to trim the trees on Central Avenue underpass up to Cacciola and a few along South Avenue, many merchants purchased our flowering baskets of Dragon-Winged Begonias and variegated ivy and maintain them in front of their stores, most of the elementary schools have children’s gardens and have incorporated educational programs with their gardens), The Green Up Crew assisted with weeding and spreading mulch at the South Avenue Train Station, The staff of Eileen Fisher has been helping us with watering the flowers we placed in front of the Ferraro’s site. Sherry and Daniel Cronin have been very busy the several weeks helping with graffiti removal, weeding, watering and many other maintenance items around town.

Warren Rorden and Rudy Caprario have been outstanding volunteers who have pitched in to help with several weeding and maintenance projects. Warren along with the Rotary Club of Westfield has been instrumental in the Peddles for Progress bicycle and sewing machine collections for the past many years. The Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts have always done admirable service projects. Star Painting refurbished the benches downtown. Craig Stock Landscaping weeded and cleaned the 9/11 memorial. The Westfield Inn contributed rooms for the judges stay. The DWC committees have also been very active this year particularly with design and historic preservation projects around downtown.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Front Page Worthy

Featured in this week's issue of the Westfield Leader, Westfield in Bloom makes the front page! Click the link below to read the full article

Beautiful Store Fronts in Downtown Westfield!

The Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) is proud to award Meeker’s Florist, and Robert Scalera the owner of strip of sister restaurants, Theresa’s, Mojave Grill and Isabelle’s American Bistro, for their “Beautiful Store Fronts” on behalf of the Westfield in Bloom campaign. Their participation with Westfield in Bloom and efforts to beautify the downtown area do not go unnoticed. After last year’s local contest, the DWC has awarded these downtown businesses for their outstanding achievements.

Located on South Ave, Meeker’s Florist is a European design flower shop that offers a variety of fresh and silk floral arrangements and specializes in hand-tied bouquets and custom designs for weddings, showers, receptions, funerals and other special events. The front lawn of the flower shop is filled with large blooming plants and flowers of all types and colors. This rich display of greenery demonstrates their floral design expertise.

The sister restaurants, Theresa’s, Isabelle’s American Bistro, and Mojave Grille, that line Elm Street are adorned with hanging basket flowers and decked with beautiful planters. Their attractive store front area creates a calm and relaxing ambiance. As a result, dining outdoors has become popular with these locations. Whether you’re in the mood for Mexican, American classics or Italian and American Southwestern, any of these mouthwatering options are sure to satisfy.

Westfield's Pride Has Not Stopped Blooming!

With the 2011 Westfield in Bloom tour behind us, efforts to keep the town beautiful are not over. The on-going beautification process is what keeps Westfield blooming throughout the entire year. The Department of Public Works (DPW) exemplifies why our town is a ‘great place to be’. Early this morning DPW workers patched asphalt and the walkway areas at the North Avenue Train Station. The upkeep of the downtown is extremely important, thank you DPW! Your work surely does not go unnoticed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thank You, Sherry Bliwise!

Right: Sherry Bliwise shows America in Bloom judges Billy Butterfield and Melanie Riggs around her property

For the judges to fully experience Westfield a section of the tour was dedicated to the exhibition of residential homes. With all of Westfield’s fine homes and gardens, Sherry Bliwise’s is definitely at the top of the list. An extremely hospitable gesture, Sherry welcomed us into her home with open arms…and cookies. While touring her property even the judges couldn’t hold in their excitement and love for her work. Sherry’s expertise leaves not an inch of her vast acre property untouched. The creative and strategically designed landscape is no fluke. Her precise placement and areas dedicated to specific plants creates a unique and organized look.

Sherry loves and spends a lot of time working on her masterpiece. Furthermore, her knowledge with horticulture enables her to correctly identify each and every plant and flower on her property. Her obvious passion for gardening only made the visit all the more exciting.

Thanks Sherry for showing us your beautiful home!

The Judges Dig It!

Left: America in Bloom judges, Billy Butterfield and Melanie Riggs, and Williams Nursery owner, Dave Williams, meet with Rake and Hoe club members, Gayle Lechner and Irene Greenstein, to tour through Shadowlawn Park.

Teaming up with the Rake and Hoe Garden members, a part of the Westfield in Bloom tour this year shed light on the hard work the club executes throughout the year. Rake and Hoe club members, Gayle Lechner and Irene Greenstein, were kind enough to guide us through Shadowlawn Park and a fellow club member’s backyard garden. In addition to maintaining the upkeep of the park weekly, over the course of the year the club hosts many events such as “Deck the Halls”, project “Planting Sunshine”, and have even published their own cook book.

Federated with the National Council of State Garden Clubs, and the Garden Club of New Jersey, the Rake and Hoe Garden Club of Westfield, has between 50 and 70 members all of whom share one thing in common: a love of flowers and gardening.

Westfield's Secret Treasure

Above: Taking a lunch break during the ‘Westfield in Bloom’ tour America in Bloom judges Billy Butterfield and Melanie Riggs, Williams Nursery owner, Dave Williams, and DWC intern, Sarah Hoffman, join Diane Genco in her fully bloomed garden.

The 2011 Westfield in Bloom tour, which took place August 1-2, incorporated aspects of both the downtown and residential areas. With this year’s theme of “Attracting the Butterflies”, it was most appropriate to show the judges where the inspiration originated. Diane Genco, whose backyard is a registered Monarch waystation, opened her home to the tour. Her maze-like garden offered a surprise around every bend. As you wander into the depths of the seemingly never-ending garden, exotic plants, flowers, and trees surround you as beautiful butterflies flutter overhead.

Nevertheless, the true treasure harbored within the garden lay no bigger than a speck in plastic boxed containers. With efforts to fill not only her backyard but the entire town with the beautiful creature, Genco raises, tags, and documents the lives of Monarch butterflies. After daily inspections of plant and flower leafs (where monarch eggs are found) Diane collects the eggs and protects them in a plastic container. Additionally, she sprays the eggs with a special disease resistant chemical to keep the butterflies healthy.

With over 250 species, butterflies serve our environment in many ways. Therefore, the protection of these magnificent creatures is essential. Aside from pollination, they are also good indicators of ecological quality of a habitat. In the larvae phase, they are an important part of the food chain. These butterflies also serve as pollinators for Westfield’s plant life. The presence of these butterflies throughout town is aesthetically which flutter joy throughout the town.

A true treasure, Diane’s monarch waystation brings a unique factor to the town. Her gardening expertise and magnificent backyard (and front yard!) garden left the judges in awe. Her hard work and extreme dedication was something we were very proud to show off.

Thank you Diane for opening your home and exhibiting some of the fabulous work you have done!

Korean War Memorial Benches Painted

In preparation for the judges’ arrival the downtown area was cleaned until it shined. Because of the harsh winter we have experienced, the metal benches at the Korean Memorial downtown have deteriorated. Dan Cronin was on the job. He painted a new black coat over the chipped and damaged benches to give them a new and clean look.

Thanks Dan, the benches look wonderful!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The America in Bloom (AIB) judges are finally here! After the all the town’s hard work and dedication, it’s time to show them what Westfield is made of. Judges Melanie Riggs and Billy Butterfield will score Westfield according to eight criteria; tidiness effort, environmental effort, community involvement, heritage preservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas, floral displays, and turf and ground covered areas. A tour involving these eight criteria, conducted by co-leaders, Sherry Cronin of Downtown Westfield Corporation and David Williams of Williams Nursery, will take place August 1 and 2 and show the judges the greatest areas of Westfield, NJ. Historical sites such as the downtown district, the Reeve House & Cultural Center and the Miller-Cory House Museum, residential and downtown areas, town parks and clubs, and local gardens will be exhibited.

The America in Bloom Symposium & Awards Program will take place October 6-8, 2011 where results will be heard. Although Westfield hopes to top last year’s success, we have already won. The many improvements the town has seen as a result of participation in this competition are an award in itself. Throughout the community there have been many effective projects to better our environment including (but not limited to); graffiti cleaning, recycling projects, solar panel installations, educational sessions, historic preservations, maintenance and tree ordinances, school gardens, park clean-ups, plant sales, and earth day plantings and celebrations. Though much of Westfield’s development must be credited to the hardworking residents and volunteers of the town, America in Bloom was a push in the right direction. In addition, many of the “Westfield in Bloom” stories and pictures have been assembled in a blog at

Westfield in Bloom (local AIB name) is about more than gardens and hanging flower baskets. The overall community benefits from the campaign. This program is about education, improvement, and civic pride. With AIB serving as a catalyst in the beautification process, people have more of a reason to get involved.

Over the past two years Westfield has seen an abundant increase in plant life due to the promotion and development of ornamental horticulture. With the birth of each community garden there are residents, organizations, and businesses that have joined together to make it all possible. Everyone working towards a common goal creates a better place to live, work and visit. Continuing this beautification process will attract tourism, which in turn can increase property values, jobs, and economic development.

America in Bloom has brought attention to the importance of town pride, and has celebrated Westfield as a ‘great place to be’.

A huge thank you and congratulations is in order for everyone that has participated in Westfield in Bloom this year and who has helped make our town richer and even more beautiful. Even though the contest is over, keep up the good work! Take pride in the town you live in and continue the amazing efforts you have put forth to make Westfield the place it is today.