For all the “ooh’s” and “aah’s” coming from visitors to the 2012 National Garden Festival’s Front Yard Contest on Crowley Ave beside Riverside Park – voting now open, check out before and after photos here! – the biggest gushing is coming from the residents themselves as they witness and take part in a true aesthetic transformation on their humble street.
Sensing in advance the impending attention and support, some homeowners seized the opportunity to make other home improvements.
“The first thing I did was finish siding the house and hang new gutters,” said James Woelfle, who owns and rents 75 Crowley, upon learning that the contest was coming to his street. “We did everything nice we could before they got here, but when I came back and saw what they did, I called my girlfriend and said, ‘You’re not gonna believe this.’”
On the flip side of Woelfle’s advance work, his girlfiend Mary Ann promises to continue the upkeep post-contest. “Pure tears,” she said of her response to her first sight of the work done by Lockwood’s Greenhouses that is sure to be a top contender in the contest. “It’s amazing that they’d do something like this; we’re so grateful. We’re gonna buy them a fruit basket. And we’re gonna try to keep this up – how would you let something like this go?”
Jessie Bindics, who along with three generations of her family has lived at 27 Crowley for over 40 years, is similarly determined and grateful. “This is absolutely gorgeous,” she said as she gazed at her new yard, which includes her own contributions along with a complete overhaul by Richardson Landscape Services. “Everybody deserves to win, but I want to win it. I’ve been up at 6am, doing what they say to keep it up – they say I’m doing it right, and that’s what I’m gonna do.
“These guys are just amazing – they said they’d come back and get it ready for the winter for me. Nobody asked them to do that for me. Next year, you look and see, it’s gonna look the same. When something like this is given to you, you need to take care of it.”