A city crew added a punch of colour to downtown Trail Monday with about 80 large floral pots strategically placed throughout the core.

A city crew added a punch of colour to downtown Trail Monday with about 80 large floral pots strategically placed throughout the core.

Communities in Bloom judges coming to town

CiB members are busy getting ready for the international judges visit July 19 to 21.

Another year of blooming has begun and Trail Community in Bloom members are busy getting ready for the international judges visit July 19 to 21.

“We’re hoping the whole community will once again chip in to help put our best foot forward,” says chair Dan Rodlie. “Go in front of your houses and businesses and look around. We want good curb appeal so judges get a good first-impression. Look at your boulevards, cut the grass, get rid of the weeds and grasses in sidewalk cracks.”

This is Trail’s 13th season with the national Communities in Bloom program which judges cities on five categories: tidiness, heritage preservation, environmental conservation, florals, landscaping and urban forestry. Scored in percentages, the optimum is to achieve a score of 82 per cent or higher, for the top five-bloom status.

Trail won the provincial title (in the under-10,000 population category) in 2004 and went on to win the national title in 2006 and again in 2010. The city also won the first ever Butchart Gardens Reclamation Award in 2010 for the development of Colombo Piazza and then the Capital Region Floral Award in 2012 and the Landscape Award in 2014, for having the best floral city and best landscaping (respectively). These latter awards encompass all size categories across the country – so best in Canada!

In order to compete internationally, a city has to have won at the national level. Trail is now in its seventh year of international competition. Castlegar won in this category last year and will be competing in the Circle of Champions this year (so NOT against Trail).

Trail could drop back and compete nationally again, but Rodlie said the committee liked the higher level of judging.

“It’s stricter, tougher and a lot better for the city. It’s a bigger challenge but gives us back a really good report on how well we’re doing. Being international, we’re competing against 30 or 40 cities because everyone had to win in their category before moving up. It’s all the best of the best in these classes, hence tough to score.”

The competitors against Trail in the “medium” city category this year are: Ahoghill, Northern Ireland; Jasper, Alberta; Stettler, Alberta; and Estes Park, Colorado.

Trail fell down last year on its score for urban forestry. The judges saw too many dead and suffering trees, Rodlie said. To render the problem, the CiB committee conducted two surveys to identify issues and put in a plan.

“Not all can be done before judging – there’s not enough time or money. We just have to be prepared when judges ask questions that we have the answers. They are very critical if they see stressed or dying trees. They ask why we let that go.”

Unfortunately, due to last week’s windstorm, quite a few huge trees came down and there was considerable damage to others. And this heat has really been stressing the new trees.

“Residents and businesses can also help by pouring a bucket or two of water into the root systems of any area trees, especially the ones downtown and the new maples on the Esplanade.”

The White Garden has been a major initiative these past couple of years and it isn’t finished yet. A new small kidney-shaped garden is being dug and planted in the next few weeks – something last year’s judges suggested to balance the garden out. The new garden is being sponsored by Telus.

Besides the IncrEDIBLE Trail and community garden on Rossland Avenue (Edible Landscapes is a sub-committee of CiB), the Adopt-a-Stair program has become a popular way to help keep the town looking tidy. Currently, 11 businesses and individuals have adopted covered stairs and the sorority, Beta Sigma Phi, has adopted B Street Park, to keep the stairs and park free of debris.

Beautiful baskets are now gracing downtown and the floral pots are out this week.

“Getting the pots out is a monumental task,” Rodlie adds. “We usually aim to have them out by July 1 but the wind storm, then the holiday following mid-week with lots of people taking time off, and an equipment breakdown added to the delay.”

While other cities get their pots and baskets out sooner, keep in mind, Trail has some 300 pots, baskets, and containers plues some beds to hand-water, twice per day in this heat. And the same people doing the watering are also doing the planting of all the beds around town. Also, city crews have to use a fork lift and make dozens of trips back and forth to the greenhouse to get them all out – along with their other jobs, so it all takes time.

“The up-side is, Trail has the best looking pots and baskets all the way through until the end of October.”

For more information on CiB or to sign up to help, contact Rodlie at 368-7399 or Trail Community in Bloom on Facebook.