Archive 2008 - 2019

Day 2 America in Bloom Judges Tour (part 2)

by Cherry Fenton

Day 2 America in Bloom Judges Tour

America in Bloom judges have visited Holliston 6 times. Each participant is rated on specific criteria – Flowers, Landscaped Areas, Overall Appearance, Historical Preservation, Urban Forestry, Environmental Efforts, and a new category for 2018 Community, Vitality. Communities are grouped in a population size and ranked numerically according to their overall score.  A community is not judged against other cities in the same population size. Holliston has won its population size 3 times in 5 years of competition, so it was bumped up to “Circle of Champions” ranking in 2016 where all other cities have also won at least 3 times as well.  Judges visit each America in Bloom contestant for two days, visiting places that show the newest projects or distinctive locations. Later, the Judges write a comprehensive report detailing what they felt worked well based on their criteria and more importantly, provide suggestions to help a community . Their experiences in visiting other cities across the country is invaluable. The judges are horticultural professionals and are more like consultants who share their expertise and experiences that have made other communities successful.

Day 2 Part 2

Following the tour of the Community Farm, the group went to Anthony’s on the Green where the judges had a working lunch with Town Planner Karen Sherman. Following the review of the town’s open space plans with Karen, Deb Moore gave a brief history of the golf course and the distinguished trees on the property that were identified by the Holliston Garden Club’s Tree Spotters committee.

The group went up to the Community Garden where they were greeted by AgCom chair PJ Kilkelly to hear about the Community Garden and Aviary. Garden plots were filled with colorful cages, some brimming with ripe tomatoes or squash, and many had fences to keep woodchucks and rabbits at bay.

The judges also got to meet Girl Scout Troop 72253 leader Karen Haynes and two of the girls in the troop. They spoke of their Silver Badge project and the plants they installed outside the Community Garden fence. (Judge Douglas Airhart pointed out that this was the first town/city he has visited where a girl scout project was mentioned!)

The Girl Scout representatives joined the AIB judges and HIB members for a special butterfly release. Monarch butterflies were released and joined the existing monarchs in the aviary. Judges were able to view monarchs up close and see the eggs that the monarchs had laid on the leaves of the milkweed plants. (Editor’s note: there are monarch caterpillars in various stages now at the aviary.)

HIB members and AIB judges then toured the golf course to view the water conservation features, some of the special trees featured by the Tree Spotters, and the machine that Johnson Golf Management had purchased in 2017 to battle invasive vines at Pinecrest (and at their other properties) because of an HCAT special about invasives.

The last stop was Lake Grove Cemetery, a private cemetery located in Holliston.

The group was met by the town historian Joanne Hulbert for a tour. The cemetery is notable for its scenic location with a view to Lake Winthrop and large trees. The judges were shown an example of a “white bronze marker”, a grave marker made of panels of zinc.