MV acknowledged as “A Community of Gardeners”

Valley Manor’s courtyard garden was the perfect venue for gardening enthusiasts and community boosters to celebrate beauty and community at Madawaska Valley’s Communities in Bloom 2019 awards ceremony.

After a warm welcome, thanks to the Board and staff of Valley Manor, and an introduction of the judges, co-chairs Debbie Marshall and Elser Lee Faith Archer got straight to business announcing this year’s winners in the various categories.

Valley Manor, the parkette between Talk o’ the Town and Stedman’s, and the Stafford Street Apartments won first, second and third respectively in the Community Garden category. Terry Newcombe, Marcia Rutledge, and Lynn Neuman and Ken Horst were the winners in the Vegetable Garden category. Deborah Agnew took first place in Best Flower Garden, with John and Karen Tierney coming second, and Bonnie Mask third. Linda Neuman and Ken Horst, Dale Rutledge, and Mary Peterson were the top three entries in Best Residential Creative Planters while the Ash Grove Inn, Barry’s Bay Metro, and Tyerman and Daughters Employment Centre were top in Best Business Beautification. Photo at top: First Place in Community Gardens went to Valley Manor.


Valley Manor was represented at the ceremony by director Pierre-Paul Filion (left), resident and family service co-ordinator Marlene Shulist, maintenance assistant Randy Burchat, director Heather Poliquin, chairperson Kathy Marion and maintenance manager Martin Yaraskavitch. Photo Mark Woermke

This year the difficult task of local judging fell to local media folks Kristina Boguski of the Valley Gazette, Danielle Paul of The Madawaska Valley Current and Trevor Smith-Millar of Moose FM. The Communities in Bloom judges who will judge the Madawaska Valley’s participation in the national program were Evelyn Allemani of California and Lucy Chang from Ottawa. Allemani and Chang started their judging circuit in Saskatoon and will head to the Maritimes after their visit to the Madawaska Valley. While here they visited gardens, met with horticulturists, viewed heritage and environmental initiatives, and took a boat cruise on Lake Kamaniskeg.


Winners and Judges. Front: Marlene Shulist (Valley Manor), Lucy Chang (National Judge), Mary Peterson, Evelyn Allemani (National Judge). Back: Randy Burchat (Valley Manor), Debbie Agnew, Terry Newcombe, Danielle Paul (Local Judge), Katrina Boguski (Local Judge) and Trever Smith-Millar (Local Judge). Photo Mark Woermke

It was Allemani’s first visit to the Madawaska Valley, and she was impressed and very enthusiastic about its beauty: “I am from Elfin Forest, California where the trees are quite small, so I am very impressed with your beautiful forests and very large trees.” In her comments following the awards presentation, Allemani encouraged gardeners and the community to “Keep up the good work” while Chang commented that, from what they have seen, it is clear that the Madawaska Valley is “a community of gardeners.”


Agnew’s Best Flower Garden (left); Neuman/Horst’s vintage butter churn – Best Residential Creative Planter

Raised beds in Newcombe’s winning vegetable garden


The Ash Grove Inn – first place for Business Beautification

First place winner Debbie Agnew was delighted that her flower garden and gardening were honoured given the “slow spring and heat” the area has experienced. “I placed second last year,” she said, “so I am really pleased. Gardening is my passion.” Agnew proudly carried her first place certificate which features Communities in Bloom’s motto – People, Plants and Pride … growing together.


Communities in Bloom guests enjoyed a “garden” buffet prepared by Valley Manor staff under the direction of Amanda Pinto support services supervisor. Photo Mark Woermke

At the reception which followed the ceremony, MV Councillor Mark Willmer and Co-Chair Debbie Marshall commented on the impact Communities in Bloom has on the entire community. Willmer noted that the pride people here take in their properties is obvious and that it appears to be spreading. Marshall concurred and related an anecdote:

A visitor asked one of the BIA members about the location of a real estate office.
Noting the flowers, benches and landscaping in the downtown, the visitor added,
“This town is so pretty and tidy, I’d like to live here.”




  1. Debbie Marshall

    Jennifer, we are so sorry that you were not at our local CiB contest awards. We make every attempt to make sure everyone is included – we hand out special invitations to all those who entered our contests and we also send out a mass email via the BIA to all businesses. Home Hardware is indeed one of the national sponsors for National Communities in Bloom and we do appreciate the Home Hardware local participation, especially this year. Many people don’t realize that Home Hardware donated the new gazebo kit for the parkette between Stedmans and Talk o’ the Town. (And thanks to the BIA, especially Derek Yuill and staff, for the construction and erecting of the gazebo). To that end, we have nominated Home Hardware to be the Home Hardware Dealer of the year, in the National CiB awards category. Communities in Bloom believes in buying local and we wish to acknowledge Valu-mart and Metro who also consider our BIA/CiB flower colours – we know they do a tremendous business as well when it comes to planting season.
    Jennifer, you have always been gracious to us, whether keeping the BIA flower colours in stock at Home Hardware, or greeting our national CiB judges. We think you would make an excellent member of our local CiB committee and we would be glad to have you on board to represent Home Hardware. If you are interested please contact either Faith or myself, Debbie Marshall. Thank you for your comments, and again our apologies.

  2. Jennifer Orr

    Most of the plants and flowers purchased by Madawaska Valley Township, Valley Manor and Community gardeners were purchased at The Home Hardware Garden Centre. Home Hardware is the National sponser of Communities in Bloom. As a Home Hardware Garden Centre employee I would have enjoyed participating and attending the awards ceremony. It is a pleasure to sell plants to the Community and enjoy the wonderful garden displays around the Madawaska Valley.

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