14-year old Holly Kaye Tomkalski is the winner of the top prize in the 11th annual Westlake in Bloom competition.
Holly took home the prestigious Lu Walter Award, presented each year to the top gardener in the Westlake civic beautification contest. Winners in all categories were announced at an awards ceremony hosted at LaCentre on Wed., Aug. 13.
Winning the Best of Bloom award is a culmination of experience and dedication to gardening for Holly. She started her gardening career at age 8. It began with a badge project for Brownie Girl Scouts. She has continued on to become the gardener seen today and honored by the City of Westlake.
This year, Holly’s garden featured house plants, tropical plants and vegetables mixed in with perennials and annuals. She selected colorful plants and flowers to create a stunning display.
Her success is attributed to amending the soil this year with nitrogen rich coir (coconut husks), organic fertilizer and time release nutrient additives.
No other chemicals, herbicides or insecticides were used. To control deer and small animal grazing, Holly mixes up a solution of Murphy’s oil soap, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and water to fill a kitchen dish soap bottle. Applying this after rains and frequently throughout the season helps!
Competing as a Westlake in Bloom gardener is not new to Holly. She was a third place winner in 2012 and a second place winner in 2013. She earned honorable mention in 2011 . In addition to winning the 2014 Lu Walter award, Holly also took first place in the Patio Garden category.
The Lu Walter Award is the top honor bestowed by Westlake in Bloom, heralding the best of the year’s gardens and named after the beloved late member and leader of the Westlake Garden Club.
Westlake in Bloom drew 300 participants this year in 21 categories, once again marking the notable statement Westlake residents make on behalf of community commitment and pride.
2014 Westlake in Bloom Winners
Evergreen Cemetery Fence Gardens: First Place: In Memory of Stanley and Dixie Dean; Second Place: The Eberling Family; Third Place: The Endress Family; Honorable Mention: The Coe, Barry, Ward and Hull Families
Hilliard Boulevard Flower Box: Best of the Boxes: Dover Congregational Church; First Place: King James Homeowners; Second Place: The Freeh Family; Third Place: Earth Laughs in Flowers (Barbara Munch); Honorable Mention: Early Childhood P.T.A.
Adopt-a-Bed Gardens: First Place: Dean’s Greenhouse; Second Place: Yards Done Right; Third: Nurturing Nature’s Knowledge
Apartment or Condominium Complex: First Place: Bay Landing Condominiums; Second Place: Sturbridge Square Apartments; Third Place: Remington Apartments; Honorable Mention: Barrington Place Apartments
Business: First Place: Applied Home Healthcare Equip./Superflash Compressed Gas Equip.; Second Place: Lakewood Country Club; Third Place: Ironwood Café; Honorable Mention: Red Roof Inn – Westlake
Church: First Place: Westlake United Methodist Church; Second Place: St. Ladislas Church; Third Place: Hungarian Seventh-day Adventist Church
Nursing Home, Assisted/Independent Living: First Place: Rae-Ann Westlake; Second Place: The Belvedere of Westlake; Third Place: Rae-Ann Suburban
Patio Garden – Multi-family: First Place: Phillip E. and Alice Kuhn; Second Place: Marianne Petro; Third Place: Sharon Huelsman; Honorable Mention: Helen J. Szarka
Patio Garden – Single family: First Place: Holly Kaye Tomkalski; Second Place: Rosemary Ware
Rain Garden: First Place: Debra Sue Solecki
Shade Garden: First Place: Dr. Wolfgang and Ina Mueller; Second Place: Cindy Mulligan; Third Place: Angela DeMuesy
Vegetable Garden: First Place: Inge and Michael Moorman; Second Place: Evy and Greg Tidwell; Third Place: Karen McCready; Honorable Mention: Gary Colyer
Window Boxes: First Place: Rita Briggs; Second Place: Ronald Perger and Deborah Forkas; Third Place: Patricia and Robert Crowley
2014 Lu Walter Award: Holly Kaye Tomkalski
2014 Award of Distinction for Community Involvement: Westlake Community Garden
2014 Award of Distinction for Floral Displays: Crocker Park
2013 Award of Distinction for Heritage Preservation: Dr. William Bennett
Residential Landscaping – Small (Entire Yard): First Place: Angela and Matt Fink; Second Place: Dave Clements; Third Place: Al and Dannielle Cavallaro; Honorable Mention: Mary Beth Schneidler
Residential Landscaping – Small (Front Yard Only): First Place: Mary Kim Elkins; Second Place: Terry and Mary Schordock; Third Place: Mary Beth and Jack Bedell; Honorable Mention: Lisa B. Cerankosky
Residential Landscaping – Medium (Entire Yard): First Place: George and Diane Woyansky; Second Place: Dave, Kathy, Sarah and Andrew Presley; Third Place: Susan Mulhern; Honorable Mention: Dan and Kyle Radish
Residential Landscaping – Medium (Front Yard Only): First Place: Crystal and Dan Doyle; Second Place: Tony Grego; Third Place: Robert and Annette Koenig
Residential Landscaping – Medium (Rear Yard Only): First Place: Lan Le and Binh V. To; Second Place: Martha and Jim Radca; Third Place: Dan and Sally Koster
Residential Landscaping – Large (Entire Yard and Rear Yard Only): First Place: Terry and Rose Monnolly; Second Place: Nancy Bole; Third Place: Dale and Kathy Gyor