Mosaic Community Garden Announces Beautification Contest Winners

How it all began:  In the summer of 2012, Dick Heylmun, the owner of Pine Tree Hill Farm, contacted Mosaic Community Land Trust, after learning about their work in the Community garden on Chestnut Street.

Mr Heylmun, an avid gardener himself, conceived of the idea to offer prize money to people living in the Beech to High Street, Adams to Charlotte Street area for creating beautiful street-side gardens and plantings. He knows how pretty a block can be when the residents take pride in their homes and gardens and he revels in the joy and sense of pride that gardens bring to the gardener and all who pass by.

Mosaic partnered with the Pottstown Garden club to develop, advertise and judge the contest. Flyers were distributed to all the homes in the area while the Mercury helped promote the contest in an article about both the garden contest.

With only nine entries for this competition, the first of its kind in the core neighborhood, we hope to inspire confidence in others to enter next year.  The gardeners chose one of three categories and most of the entries were in the “front garden and planters combined” category.

Two members from the Pottstown Garden Club, Nancy Toothacher and Karin Albera, accompanied board member, Gretchen Lea, (who is also a Penn State Master Gardner), and Laura Washington, the MOSAIC garden manager, as they set out one very hot afternoon to walk the blocks and judge the gardens.  It was hard, yet fun and rewarding.

The contestants showed a sense of pride and enthusiasm about their creations, and had a variety of reasons why they chose one plant or another and why they chose to place them where they did.

Some plants have personal meaning, like beautiful memories and experiences of the gardens and gardeners we have known and loved -they are place makers in our lives. Gardens are often creative expressions of their creators.  Knowing this, while judging makes the job difficult, but all the more fun.

Asking a gardener about their gardens is like possessing the key to a box, open it up and you’ll find out something about what’s inside.

The judges passed several pretty and interesting gardens along the way and wished that those gardens had been entered in the contest too.  When asked why they didn’t enter, a few folks proclaimed… “Mine is not quite good enough”.  Some gardeners can be too hard on themselves. Working with nature is not easy. Nature cannot be controlled.  That makes gardening all the more challenging and rewarding.  I beg all who dig in the soil to keep up the confidence to keep planting. Every garden is a unique expression of the gardener.

20130714_173300_resizedI have entered my garden in shows and contests, even though they weren’t perfect, because others get joy in seeing them.  It is rewarding to watch people blossom when they see what you have accomplished.  It too is a great way to connect with one another. For me, gardening is a great reason to be outside and to work with Mother Nature as I try to express myself.

The Winners Are:

For Planters and window boxes:

Athena Singer 1st prize 352 Walnut Street $150

Anna Johnson 2nd prize 515 Chestnut Street $ 75

20130711_171523_resizedThe Garden awards and prize money were presented Sunday July 14th at 5 o’clock at the MOSAIC Community Garden, followed by a get together with refreshments, conversation and friendship.

We hope you will take the time to walk through the neighborhood and check out the winner’s gardens as well as all the other gardens that capture the imagination.

Garden by garden the Mosaic Community Land Trust’s designated areas will blossom, as the first garden has done, with people sharing stories, recipes, making new friends, learning about their gardens, trading plants and ideas while enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Thank you Dick Helymun for your great idea and generosity!

Mosaic would like to make the Beautification Contest an annual tradition.  If you would like to make a donation or take part we’d love to hear from you.

mosaicclt@gmail.com for more info

Green Thumbs Up and Thanks to Everyone Involved!

Gretchen Lea

Pottstown’s Community Land Trust And Community Garden

Community gardens often have several horticult...

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On December 20, 2010, the Community Land Trust (CLT) gave a presentation before a Pottstown Borough Council and Pottstown School Board joint meeting at the Pottstown Middle School.  The presentation included a PowerPoint document called “A Community Land Trust for Pottstown”, which explained what a CLT is and highlighted the many benefits it can bring to a community.  

Since December, Preservation Pottstown’s leadership has been replaced by the CLT leadership and is pursuing a Community Garden project with the Pottstown School District and Genesis Housing. The CLT received a grant commitment for capacity-building support from National Penn Bank.  Preservation Pottstown’s original mission and by-laws dovetail with the  CLT’s mission, to increase homeownership stabilize neighborhoods and engage in economic development. 

The new leadership is committed to the principles of a CLT and will be focusing on organizational issues over the next few months, including making a name change that reflects the specific vision of a land trust.  CLT founding members are Dave Garner, David Jackson, Chris Huff and Sue Repko.  The CLT is proud to have two members (Chris Huff and Andrew Kefer) serving on the Pottstown Planning Commission. 

The CLT will be assisted in its capacity-building efforts through the support of National Penn Bank. Following the December 20th presentation, the CLT was contacted by National Penn Bank, which has representation on the boards of the Lehigh Valley and State College CLTs. In addition to offering its expertise based on that experience, National Penn has given the Pottstown CLT a grant commitment so that it can hire a nationally renowned CLT consultant to jump-start the organization. The CLT is extremely grateful for their support. 

The CLT has been pursuing a Community Garden project for a vacant parcel in the 400 block of Chestnut Street. The Pottstown School District (PSD) owns the property.  The CLT will be partnering with PSD and Genesis Housing on the Community Garden project.  Genesis Housing’s landscape architect has developed the site plan.   

Community gardens involve residents in growing their own healthy food, help families cut down on grocery bills, and beautify neighborhoods. This project will also provide community service and educational opportunities for PSD students.  

The PSD Facilities Committee recommended that Dr. Reed Lindley, Superintendent of Schools, work with the PSD Solicitor to prepare an agreement for PSD School Board approval that transfers 423 Chestnut Street to the CLT for the purpose of developing a Community Garden.  The agreement is to stipulate that the property return to the PSD should it no longer be used as a Community Garden.  The vote was unanimous.

The CLT will be promoting and creating opportunities for arts/culture, green technologies, access to fresh food, healthy lifestyles and sustainability through affordable efficient housing, work spaces, and connections with neighborhood and community.

The CLT’s Community Garden Committee is headed by Washington Street Corridor resident Katy Jackson. Other members include: Judy Memberg, Andrew Monastra, Andrew Kefer, Mary-Beth Lydon, Joanne Waddell (president of the Pottstown Garden Club), and Eric Schmidt of Colonial Nurseries.

The CLT is looking for community support from Pottstown area businesses, churches and other organizations who are involved in community service.  They ask that you please consider donating, sponsorships or volunteering in-kind services. To get involved or make donations:  pottstownclt@gmail.com

Donations are tax deductible

This will be Pottstown’s first official community garden.   To learn about the benefits of a community garden:  http://www.communitygarden.org/learn/

The CLT’s website is: http://pottstownclt.wordpress.com/

Roy’s Rants fully supports the CLT and the Community Garden project as a way to revitalize the core neighborhood and improve the quality of life for all Pottstown residents.  We urge residents, businesses and organizations to get involved with the CLT, the Community Garden project and any future projects as they develop.