Homeowner surprised by contest win: showed curb appeal with green thumb

Yvette Tretiak had absolutely no idea why people were calling her and telling her to show up for Take Pride’s Winnipeg in Bloom awards ceremony last Tuesday night at Pantages Theatre.

“What’s going on?” she asked as more people called, urging her to attend the ceremony.

What Tretiak didn’t know was that she had won first prize in the Winnipeg Real Estate Board-sponsored Curb Appeal portion of the annual contest.

“I eventually figured out something important was going on and I had better go,” she said. “I was totally surprised that I won because I didn’t even enter the contest.”

In the Curb Appeal category, homeowners are not advised they are entered in the gardening contest.

“We put out a call to all REALTORS® to look at properties during their daily business rounds and call in properties that had excellent curb appeal,” explained Hannon Bell, a REALTOR® who is on the Take Pride Winnipeg committee overseeing the contest. “And, none of the properties could be entered in any of the other categories in the Winnipeg in Bloom contest.”

Eventually, 10 properties were nominated by REALTORS® in the category, with the three judges — Bell, Dan Bonar and Lorraine Andree — deciding that Tretiak’s property was the perfect choice.

“In the end, it was a unanimous decision,” said Bell. “The landscaping and the house (at 3 Prevette St.) married well together. It was so well co-ordinated.

“It was more than just flowers. There was shrubbery and gardens. It articulated every mixture of landscaping applications.” 

Tretiak said she has been adding plants to her property since she and her husband purchased the East Kildonan home in 1970.  “It’s getting bigger and bigger, but I think I’ve dug up my last plot of ground,” Tretiak added, asserting that her yard has probably reached its capacity to hold plants.

For showing she truly possessed a green thumb, Tretiak received a print by a local artist that was presented by WREB president Cliff King.

Besides Tretiak, there were 55 other winners from the 485 entries. Last year, there were 386 entries in the contest which is free to all Winnipeggers.

“As the contest receives more and more exposure, it grows in popularity,” said Colleen Kurlowski of Take Pride Winnipeg, a non-profit, private organization that promotes a clean and beautiful city.

Contestants were judged in residential, business, apartment, community  and Business Improvement Zone categories. In the residential portion of the contest, the top-3 finishers in 10 areas of the city received awards.