New prizes in Cultivate Yards contest


Enter photos of your yard in summer contest

The Cultivating Front Yards event kicked off this week with two new ways to show off the blooming beauty of your property. One part contest and one part show-and-tell event, this program was designed by the City of St. Albert’s Economic Development Department to recognize the work of local gardeners.

“It’s an initiative by the city to beautify St. Albert yards and our major partner is the Gazette,” said Joan Barber, adding that the event theme fits with the city’s brand as The Botanical Arts City.

Nominations forms for Cultivate Front Yards are available at They may be submitted by July 21 in the following categories: Art in Front Yard, Edible Front Yard, Xeriscaped Front Yard, Business Yard and Beautiful Front Yard. Anyone may nominate themselves or they might nominate a neighbour for recognition.

Submissions will not be judged in this part of the event but instead, gardeners will receive stakes that recognize their contribution to making St. Albert a beautiful botanical city.

“I envision repeat entries from year to year with gardeners featuring stakes from 2016, 2017, 2018 and so on from every year. Perhaps they will have their stakes lined up to show that their beautiful yards have been recognized,” Barber said.

Gardeners such as Ireen Slater, who previously won in an earlier version of the City’s Cultivate Front Yards contest, may well be recognized again.

For Slater, who has always been an advocate for social issues in this city, her tidy garden is a refuge that takes her away from her volunteer work. In years past she won the Best Small Garden category but she has a new home with a much larger garden area. She spent the past two summers turning it into her own English country garden and is excited to show off its beauty.

“I have a rockery here, and a fairy garden and a Japanese garden area. I also have a Canadian tribute with red and white flowers,” Slater said.

Her fragrant garden boasts roses, petunias, snapdragons and hostas and includes a plentiful selection of art. She could easily submit a nomination in several of the Cultivate Front Yards categories.

Gazette prizes

New this year is the St. Albert Gazette’s sponsorship of a photo or video submission to the website. Photos of the front or back yard are welcomed and while the goal is to showcase gardens featuring a Canadian theme to celebrate the sesquicentennial, it is not an essential requirement of the contest.

The Gazette contest requires community participation as viewers of the online photos/videos will vote for their favourite garden. The two submissions (one for the back yard and one for the front yard) that get the most votes will win. Photos must be submitted by Friday, July 21 and then the voting continues until August 6. The winners will be notified by Thursday, August 10. The winner from each category of front or back yard will receive a $500 gift certificate from Hole’s Greenhouse or Quality Landscaping Supplies.

Family and friends may vote for the submission they like once per day.

“The Gazette is excited to support this because it is an excellent community project that beautifies our neighbourhoods. The Gazette is proud to have fun in doing this while at the same time supporting St. Albert as the Botanical Arts City,” said publisher Brian Bachynski.


About Author

Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.