Garden peepers young and old spent the day exploring backyard veggie patches, talking tomatoes and honeybees, and snacking on the fruits of the gardeners’ labor.
All but two intrepid peepers heeded editor Becca Tucker’s warning not to try to see all 12 gardens, who ended the day victorious, if a little sunburned.
“Gardeners are patient, observant, hard-working, strong and resourceful,” said Tucker. “They might have to get rid of a groundhog or two, but, for the most part, as long as the sun shines, they can provide for themselves, year after year, without taking anything from anyone – even improving the land as they go.”
After the gardens closed their gates at 5 p.m., peepers and gardeners alike met up at farm-to-table restaurant Mohawk House in Sparta Township, N.J., for the after party, where everyone kicked back to enjoy live music, local beer and wine and appetizers, share experiences and tips, and vote for their favorite gardens.
With the votes tallied, here are this year’s winners:
• First Place, Best Kitchen Garden: Peter Oesen of Lafayette, N.J.
• Second Place, Best Kitchen Garden: Ozzie Colon of Warwick.
• Third Place, Best Kitchen Garden: Karin Harrison of Florida.
• Best Community Garden: West Milford Community Garden
• Most Hospitable Garden: Frank & Marilyn Hennion of Franklin, N.J. (for the second year in a row)
• Most Hospitable Garden Runners-Up: There was a tie. The two winners were Bob and Rose Wolverton, of Hamburg, N.J., and Sheila and David Kobrick of Stockholm, N.J.