For the second year in a row, America in Bloom has given The University of Findlay’s campus a “4 Bloom” rating, a high score in the world of competitive horticulture. The UF campus also received a judges’ Special Mention for its floral displays.
“The campus sparkled,” said judges Barbara Vincentsen and Katy Moss Warner, who visited Findlay in June. They added that the 4 Bloom rating is a “significant level of achievement as it represents commitment in each of the America in Bloom criteria.”
America in Bloom is a national awards program that provides a framework for improving overall quality of life. It is the only program of its kind that provides on-site, one-on-one mentoring and coaching by a team of expert judges. The 2014 ratings and awards were announced at the organization’s Annual Symposium held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Oct. 2-4.
The only university campus competing this year, The University of Findlay was placed in the 3,501-4,500-population category, along with cities including Gallipolis, Ohio; Lewisburg, West Virginia and Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Judges evaluated participants on six criteria: floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression.
“The floral displays at The University of Findlay are extraordinary,” the judges added. “Maintenance of the flowers was of the highest standard. This is a campus that believes in beauty.”
Operated by Oiler Enterprises with support from the Findlay Green Campus Initiative, the “Hoop House,” received accolades from the judges for “recognizing the importance of locally grown food in a student-run business.” Volunteers and erected the Hoop House on W. Foulke Ave. late last summer. This year, the business has sold produce to UF faculty, students and staff and created a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
According to the report, “It (Hoop House) has a business model that’s sustainable.”
The judges felt that the Western and English farms, owned by the University, incorporated flowers effectively into their landscapes. “Nothing overpowering – just enough to announce that the farms are part of a University that believes in beauty.”
Having read the news about the University’s loss of grass earlier in the summer, the judges were particularly impressed with the restoration that had taken place in less than two months.
“(We) came expecting to see extensive lawns damaged by an unfortunate accident when a third party mistakenly applied herbicide. Not so. Emerald green sod beautifully laid and outfitted with temporary irrigation was a sight to behold. Bravo to all who made this transformation happen so quickly and so beautifully.”