Warren yards bloom while recognition awards are dormant

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published September 18, 2020

 Carol Peterson has chaired the Residential Recognition Awards program for its entire 26 years.

Carol Peterson has chaired the Residential Recognition Awards program for its entire 26 years.

Photo provided by Carol Peterson

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WARREN — Another sad sign of the times is that the keepers of the prettiest properties in Warren won’t get a sign of their own from the Beautification Commission to display in their yard this year.

This summer would have marked the 27th year for the Residential Recognition Awards program, a celebration of Warren’s best-kept yards, most gorgeous gardens and stellar landscaping achievements.

While she hasn’t been scouring the city’s neighborhoods looking for winners or checking out properties submitted by residents or their neighbors, program organizer Carol Peterson spoke to the Warren Weekly this month about her work on the program across its entire span of existence.

Peterson said plans for the program were scrapped for the first time in 2020 because she knew restrictions put in place as a result of COVID-19 meant that the awards dinner held in late September at the Gazebo Banquet Center could not go forward.

This would have been the 27th year of the Residential Recognition Awards. What have you enjoyed most about putting this program together all of those years?

“Talking to gardeners is a terrific experience. These folks love expressing their desires and hard work at what they have achieved. Meeting Warrenites is always fun. Seeing their creativity is amazing. I’m so delighted I haven’t had to choose one house each year as the No. 1 specialty since it would have been next to impossible.”

Having seen and recognized so many beautiful homes, is there one (or more than one) that really stands out in your mind as being over-the-top amazing?

“There are always some gardens that are super special. One winner last year was Armand and Barbara Delisle who live at 30332 Ohmer. They had 600 daylilies and 250 hostas surrounding their home. This was their second win. Another second-time winner last year was Ed and Carol Okragleski living at 30041 Dell. They enjoy expanding and replacing plants and enjoying the fruits of their labor. Ross Sheppard won this past year also. He is at 2548 Fred Street, near Halmich Park, on close to an acre of land. He began gardening one corner and continued to add vegetation for 20 years. (He) spends about eight hours a day watering by hand and handling maintenance of the plants. He wasn’t planning on this happening.”

You’ve seen more of the city’s beautiful properties than anyone. Is there anything you’d like to say to residents who work so hard to keep their homes, yards and gardens looking beautiful?

“Young folks have bought some of these homes and are interested in improving their areas. Others purely enjoy gardening, and this is their hobby. Hopefully, those who have a chance to make Warren look like a great place to live, please go for it and encourage others to follow your trail.”

Any thoughts on the future of the program?

“For obvious reasons, the program was not implemented this year. We will see what next year has in store for us. Hopefully, we will return to normal, whatever that may entail.”

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