Last year, Gull Lake took part in Communities in Bloom as a non-competing participant and did well, very well. Finishing one point shy of Three Blooms, the first-time Communities in Bloom participant did better than other communities that had been involved in the competition for some time.
With the new found confidence, the Communities in Bloom committee made the decision to compete in the CiB competition this year, hoping to see how the community stands up against some of the other communities in Gull Lake’s population range.
Everything kicked off early in the spring with a special open house, presented by the Communities in Bloom committee. Andrew Exelby, co-oordinator for CiB and the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Consultant, came out for the open house to teach about tree pruning and the CiB program itself.
From there, the CiB committee and the town got to work for the 2014 competition.
Since the spring, the CiB has improved the xeroscape garden located across the street from the Clarendon Hotel. In addition, new trees have been planted throughout the community, including near the library, by the north town entrance and elsewhere. Flowers have been planted, trees have been pruned and much more.
“The spring soi-ree with our guest speaker Andrew provided a great learning opportunity about trees and tree pruning,” Ed Lowenberger, CiB chair said. “He was able to demonstrate a hands on approach and answered a lot of questions from the audience.”
“I think CiB has been doing very well. A first for this year was the back alley clean-up project. A lot of trash was hauled away by our town crew spanning a few weeks. This has made a big difference in the alley appeal,” Lowenberger said. “Work has been progressing very well on the Xeroscape garden project. Phase 1 was the planting and laying of the flower beds, complete with landscape fabric and mulch. Phase 2 is almost complete with the placement of landscape fabric, gravel for paths and the placement of large rocks.”
One very large project is the painting of the Elks Hall, which will help the building look fresh and new. In addition, the original Elks sign will be restored and placed on the building.
Other initiatives in place, which came about thanks to the recommendations of the judges last year, include a heritage walking tour, a community clean up and more.
“The historic walking tour that the tourism committee is putting together in conjunction with the CiB committee will definitely be an eye catcher. It will spark a real interest in our community, not only for our local and rural citizens, but the tourism traffic as well,” Lowenberger said.
The CiB judges will be here on Aug. 14, so the Town has asked everyone to make sure their yards and areas in front of their properties, as well as alleys behind homes, are spruced up and tidy. In addition, there is still time to not only enter the Residential Front Yard Competition, but also the Backyard Competition, the Vegetable Garden Competition and the Commercial Flower Pot Competition.
When asked what project was his favourite, Lowenberger had several projects he was proud of.
“I would find it very hard to pick just one as they all took so very much hard work and dedicated volunteer hours to complete. It is amazing to be able to take a barren patch of ground that was full of weeds and trash and transform it into something of beauty,” Lowenberger said. “This is not only for the benefit of our town and rural citizens, but also for tourism traffic that stops or passes through our community.”
With less than two weeks before judges arrive, let’s get Gull Lake looking bloomin’ beautiful!
“I must acknowledge all the volunteers who give so freely of their ideas, thoughts, time and effort, and in some cases, blood and plain old hard work,” Lowenberger added. “Without this dedicated group, none of this would have been possible. I applaud each and every one of you.”