Tonawanda News — It might be when they look out their windows in the morning, or when they leave to walk their dog. It might be when they come home from work, or step outside for an evening stroll.
But one way or another over the past several weeks, the owners of about 450 front-lawn gardens in the Village of Kenmore have found small white-and-orange signs in their yards ... and the realization that they too have been "Bloomed."
This marks the third year of the Kenmore Village Improvement Society's Kenmore in Bloom campaign, which seeks to honor residents with yards judged to be high in curb appeal with flowers and color, said Melissa Foster, president of KVIS.
"We're raising awareness that having front lawns that have curb appeal is good for property values and the community," Foster said. "The more we care for things in a community and the more we show we care, the more that spreads. And that's just helpful to everyone."
The village is divided into 12 zones, each with its own volunteer Bloom Scouts, who do their own "advance reconnaissance" and select the homes to be honored. This year's Blooming took place from June 24 to July 8. Each honoree receives a small garden sign, a Bloom Booklet with a pamphlet and assorted garden goodies from the event's sponsors and an invitation to the Bloom Breakfast, which takes place this year Saturday morning at Kenmore United Methodist Church.
Kellie and Joe Long, who are serving as coordinators of Kenmore in Bloom this year, are no strangers to local garden events. Their home on East Hazeltine Avenue in Kenmore has been part of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour (which takes place July 20 and 21 this year) for five years and became part of the National Open Garden Tour this year.
"I think people are catching on. It's just like a kickoff from Buffalo in Bloom," Kellie Long said. "It's basically just getting people involved and having more of a community together, trying to get more community effort. It's just a little heartfelt thanks for sprucing up your neighborhood and taking pride in your community. It's really just a great community effort."
Bloomed gardens are chosen based on a number of criteria, but ultimately it's up to the Bloom Scouts -- people who are interested in gardening and "have an eye for such things," Foster said — to choose the honorees.
"It is subjective; these are human beings making these decisions, and they have only so many signs to give it," she said. "It's not the easiest thing to do."
"We're not looking for master gardens here, just something where you spent the time to make the front of your house look basically pretty," Long said. "One person might be really into gardening and the other might just do a few things, but we just like seeing that people made the effort."
About 100 people are expected at Saturday's Bloom Breakfast, which will feature Solvieg Hanson of Harris Seeds and gardening expert Sally Cunningham as speakers. One garden from each of the zones will be honored with a special award as a Garden of Distinction. The Bloom Scouts will also be honored, and designs will be considered for the first Kenmore in Bloom Garden Makeover.
Foster said that a special Beautification Award will be presented to Shannon Scheuneman.
"She is the person who for quite a few years was in charge of the town greenhouses," Foster said. "She was also in charge of public gardens like the ones along Sheridan Drive. She is amazingly talented."