Five blooms – in bronze – thrills green-thumbed volunteers

Communities in Bloom judges also award municipality with an Outstanding Achievement Award, for years of dedicated work at Centennial Park


With beautiful fall colours shaping the contours of a small park on the south end of town, a group of gardening volunteers cheered with pleasure over a recent announcement.

The team had gathered together on a still-snowy Thursday morning at Centennial Park, at the end of Broadway Avenue where it meets Park Street, to celebrate their glorious wins.

Killarney Communities in Bloom (CIB) member Connie Blixhavn had attended the 2018 CIB National and International Symposium and Awards event, held in Strathcona County, near Edmonton, Alberta, from September 26 to 29, on her own last weekend, on behalf of the municipality and the local gardening group.

And she was delighted with the result.

“We didn’t win the big prizes, but we were up from the usual five blooms,” said Blixhavn. “They gave us a Five Blooms Bronze, for extra points. We achieved 84 points out of a possible 100.”

But a surprise win for the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain was the announcement of an Outstanding Achievement Award.

“We did win a Land Reclamation Award, for Centennial Park, at the end of Main Street,” said Blixhavn. “It doesn’t have to be a new project for the reclaimed land category. The town started this park project years ago. There used to be a gas station and motel there; I think it was Hossacks at one time, and Janz’s later. The municipality got the land back in taxes. The park itself was designed by a landscape architect, Dean Spearman, who used to live here, which is probably why it still looks so good today. The CIB took it on about 10 years ago, and we brought it back from disrepair. I wrote the story, and made the application for the site, and we nailed the prize.”

Local CIB members – especially volunteers Marie Waldron and Barb Kitching – have been dedicated in keeping this particular garden looking so wonderful throughout the milder seasons, she added.

And some of the extra points, which helped garner the bronze addition to their blooms record, were achieved by the judges’ positive remarks on the recently completed Keith’s Korner, located at the southwest corner of Broadway and South Railway, said Blixhavn.

The park, created on what was previously rough waste ground, was designed to commemorate nationally renowned lawyer and philanthropist Keith Heming, who spearheaded the now-burgeoning, multi-million-dollar Killarney Foundation back in 1979.

“We received special recognition for Keith’s Korner, for the new rain garden there, and for the big rocks, which we moved from Oak Point during the water line and sewer project two years ago, as a form of recycling,” said Blixhavn. “We were slightly up in each area of judging, including this particular project, which gave us an overall rise in points.”

The local CIB representative was also handed a nice $100 Home Hardware gift certificate during the symposium, to use at the group’s discretion.

“What will we spend the gift card on?” said Blixhavn. “Probably something like potting soil. We always need to buy more potting soil.”

HAPPY MEETING IN CENTENNIAL PARK – Members of the local Communities in Bloom gathered together at Killarney’s Centennial Park on Thursday morning, to celebrate this year’s achievements. Not only did they score a Five Blooms Bronze rating overall, but they also won an Outstanding Achievement Award in the land reclamation category for their decade-long work at the beautiful Centennial Park. From left are: Shawna Phillips, Barb Kitching, Joan Ferris, Rose Bateman (CIB chair), Marie Waldron, and Connie Blixhavn. Standing proudly – with the new plaque – are Brian LePoudre and Gerald Phillips. Missing from the photo are Eleanor Skeoch, Angela Desmarais, Betty Fitzpatrick, Hilda Fenton, Debbie Jones, Pat LePoudre, Brenda Mitchell, and Kathy Sawatsky Gilmour.