Hosta lover gets the green thumbs up

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EAST WILTON – It was her years of devotion, not to mention the countless varieties of hosta, that made Beverly Oliver the green-thumbed winner.

Oliver’s Ladybug Gardens on the Holley Road in Farmington was chosen as the July 2008 “Yard of the Month.” The monthly designation goes to the homeowner with the most aesthetic garden, or the yard that is most likely to make the neighbors turn green with envy. The good-natured contest is sponsored by Rocky Hill Landscaping & Nursery of East Wilton, in a collaborative effort with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. Gardeners sign up each month to join the competition.

It was obvious Oliver has tended her extensive gardens for many years, said Corey Black, co-owner of Rocky Landscaping & Nursery. Black and last month’s Yard of the Month winner, Clint Brooks of Jay, served as judges for this month’s garden entries, that were in Jay, Chesterville, Wilton and Farmington.

“She deserved to win,” Black said of Oliver. “She put a lot of work into it; a lot of creativity, has a real concern about plant health and she has every variety of hosta imaginable.”

The garden contest got its start this summer with several gardeners signing up to be contenders for the next round of judging. But, all too often, Black said, they’ll call and ask to be taken out of contention.

“They’ll say, ‘I’m stressed out,’ because their garden doesn’t look perfect,” Black said. “But it doesn’t have to be perfect to win.” This summer’s frequent rain has made for some interesting challenges for gardeners with plants that prefer less soggy conditions, a lawn that needs mowing or weeds that go into hyper-growth mode.

The “Yard of the Month” contest is one that communities across the county have embraced. The event promotes attractive homes and yards, while the modest $10 registration fee is donated to the participating towns to landscape and buy flowers.

The judging, which occurs at the end of each month, looks at a variety of elements in the gardens that include neatness, creativity and overall aesthetic appeal. Oliver had the honor of placing a “Yard of the Month” sign out front until next month’s competition comes around.

To sign up, fill out a short registration form, which are available by emailing rockyhill.landscaping@verizon.net or by calling 645-5381. The form can be dropped off at Rocky Landscaping on Route 2 or mailed to P.O. Box 836 Wilton, ME 04294, Attention: ‘Yard of the Month.’ For more information, call 645-5381.

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