Fresh off of last year's Communities in Bloom (CiB) win, the CiB committee is back at it again with a free event to promote community partnerships and gardening.

Past chair and current CiB member Rob Pirie said they hold events not just to prepare for judging, but to bring the community together and spend time with each other.

"The motto of Communities in Bloom is growing great communities together; we think that's what we're doing. We're growing a great community together, we think Strathmore is a great community and we are working to even make it better," Pirie said.

"We don't set out just to organize things like this just for the fact of judging, we believe it is something that is really important for Communities in Bloom to do."

Regarding last year's win, Pirie explained it's about way more than gardening, as the main focus is really about growing the community together. Planting flowers and gardens is a part of it of course, but that also serves as a great metaphor for how they want to grow the community and symbolically make us more beautiful through increased connection and partnership.

"What we focused on was the idea of the interconnectedness and the partnerships within the town. That was basically our focus, and if you looked at the document that recognizes the win and the five blooms, it talks about the partnerships, so that was our strength. Even in this workshop, we are doing it hosted by the library here in town."

As for the event itself, it will cover several gardening-related topics such as pollinators, how to combat plant disease, and more. There will also be free seeds, so Pirie encourages anyone interested to visit, even if you just want to say hi and grab a bag of seeds.

"One of the pillars of Communities in Bloom is the whole idea of education and community. This workshop fulfills that pillar so if we decide to be judged again, this would be something that we would look back upon and say, 'here's something Communities in Bloom is doing,' so this is all part of it."

Communities in Bloom will not be taking part in this year's judging, as Pirie said it takes a lot of effort and a break following a win would be best for the group and town. As for if we'll be judged again next year, Pirie said this is something he and the rest of the group will need to discuss before making any decisions. He added Communities in Bloom is a several year process when you're preparing to be judged, so doing events like this even when you're not entering the contest can help later on.

The event will take place on April 1 at the Strathmore Library from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

CiB poster

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