Wall-to-wall flowers color the facade of Dr Kevin Kelly’s Lower Paxton Twp. garden.
Three Harrisburg-area gardeners won awards for their landscaping efforts at the 2016 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Annual Gardening and Greening Competition.
Dr Kevin Kelly, Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, and Ruth Davis, Manor Township, Lancaster County, both won top Blue Ribbon awards in the Large Individual Flower Gardens category.
Christine Welch, of West Earl Township, Lancaster County, won a Garden of Distinction Award in the Small Individual Flower Gardens category.
The three were the only gardens in south-central Pennsylvania named in the annual PHS competition based in Philadelphia. Most of the winners are in and around Philadelphia.
The PHS Gardening and Greening Contest recognizes individuals as well as groups for their efforts to beautify and make positive contributions to their communities.
This year, 50 juries visited some 300 nominated gardens throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Entries were judged on design and visual effect, with additional points awarded for creativity and sustainable practices. The gardens were also judged on maintenance and horticultural practices, variety of plants, color and suitability of plantings.
The 10 judging categories were flower gardens, vegetable gardens, container gardens, children’s gardens, rooftop gardens, garden blocks, urban farms, public space plantings, combined gardens and environmental initiatives.
Kelly, a family doctor who gardens on a half-acre lot in the Fairway Estates development, previously won a Garden of Distinction award in 2014 for her yard filled with colorful, avant-garde plants.
Its plantations include flowering shrubs, ornamental trees and dozens of dwarf conifers as well as a wide selection of annual and perennial flowers, as well as statues and water fountains that attract birds.
Curving grass paths run through the matching garden beds, which Kelly maintains organically, using the fallen leaves as her primary “fuel” for the soil.
He’s especially good at mixing and matching plants that pair well in both color and texture.
Ruth Davis gardens with her husband, Bob, on what began as a 16-acre cornfield in 1977, just west of Millersville.
Bob planted “several hundred” trees and evergreens to create the setting for the landscape, and Ruth added masses of native perennials, grasses, annuals, and tropical plants for more color and interest. in summer.
She is particularly fond of hostas, cultivating over 250 different varieties.
“We add as many plants and trees as possible for bees, butterflies, birds and insects,” adds Ruth.
Both are active in the Lancaster County Garden Club in addition to planting and caring for their native landscape.
Welch, a retired university professor, is a “plant enthusiast” who plants and maintains English-style cottage gardens on her half-acre lot near Leola.
The land is wedged between the limestone cliff of an old quarry and the Conestoga River. It was without a garden when Welch moved there a dozen years ago, but now includes a pollinator garden, woodland garden, shade garden, and colorful foundation gardens planted with a wide variety of perennials as well as magnolias, hydrangeas and small specimen trees.
“Every year there is less grass and more gardens,” Welch explains.
All PHS competition winners will be recognized at a reception at PHS headquarters in Philadelphia on Monday, November 14. Winners will receive a garden sign and two tickets to the 2017 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show.
The full list of 2016 winners is posted on the PHS website.