On Kitchener in Bloom

Here’s the latest column I’ve written for the Kitchener Post; appropriate given the (fingers crossed) arrival of spring. Happy Palm Sunday, everyone.

Kitchener starting to bloom

OPINION Apr 03, 2017 by James Bow Kitchener Post

I would like to give thanks to the Kitchener in Bloom program, even if my feelings toward spring are a little complicated.

I have allergies. I’ve been tested and have shown to be allergic to tree pollen, grass pollen and ragweed. Also, cockleburs and horses. So, I know the next few months are going to have some tough days ahead, where I will be sneezing, my nose will be running, and my eyes will be watering.

But you know what? It’s worth it. After the short days, long nights and cold temperatures winter, the new light and warmth of spring make living in this region worthwhile.

And this sense of renewal wouldn’t occur without seeing the grass turn green, the buds appear on trees and the first flowers poke up from the ground.

As a new homeowner, I realize that this task isn’t free. And while I hate the hard work of gardening, I know that this reawakening is valuable enough that I must help rake out the yard and haul the bagged waste to the curb for the biweekly pickup.

And this work helps me appreciate even more the hard work of those who really take care of their gardens, who go above and beyond the laying down of sod and create floral works of art.

Besides, my allergies are only an issue on days of high pollution, and more green helps take care of that over the long term. Allergy medication can do the rest.

The Kitchener in Bloom program helps this city shake off the winter doldrums and wake into spring. It’s not a contest, but an appreciation of the work done by dedicated residents to bring more colour to their neighbourhoods. It is a means of encouraging others in the community to do the same.

In 2016, 700 properties were nominated for the work the owners had done on their gardens. Over 120 photographs were submitted of some beautiful displays. You can see more about this program by Googling “Kitchener in Bloom” (or just visiting this link here —jb). On the website, there is a link to a Flickr account where some of last year’s displays were featured.

There is also an environmental component to this program, recognizing homeowners and businesses that create gardens which conserve water use, support bees and butterflies, and make good use of local compost.


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