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Urban orchard wows bloom judges

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

The city’s urban orchard - a collection of apple, plum, pear and cherry trees located along the Fisher Ave. active transportation path - was a hit among Communities in Bloom judges. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

The city’s urban orchard - a collection of apple, plum, pear and cherry trees located along the Fisher Ave. active transportation path - was a hit among Communities in Bloom judges. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

Come maturity, Portagers will have their pick of the litter when it comes to collecting fruit from the city’s urban orchard.

That concept has caught the attention of Communities in Bloom judges, as the urban orchard – consisting of 95 fruit trees along the Fisher Ave. active transportation path, offering apples, pears, cherries and plums - helped the city to a Bloom Rating of three in its first year entering the CIB’s official scoring category. Portage collected 704.5 out of a possible 1000 points that make up the score, coming in just four percentiles shy of cracking the four bloom threshold.

“We’ve come a long way from last year,” notes Victoria Espey, member of Portage’s CIB committee. “It’s exciting because this is really only our first year in the regular program.” Last year the city got its feet wet in the program’s novice category, and as a result had their scoring and feedback kept private.

Where Portage got dinged this time around was on overall tidiness, especially the debris and duckweed found amongst the stagnant water features in Island Park and in Crescent Lake. The CIB judges also noted that they’d like to see more involvement from the business community along with the city’s youth.

Espey and the committee have taken note and are already working on improving ahead of next year’s judges tour.

“It points out a lot of positive things about Portage,” says Espey of the feedback. “Even being a part of the tour, you don’t realize how much is happening in Portage until you deliberately seek it out.”

As part of Canada 150 celebrations, this year’s scoring offered an additional category pertaining to the theme. The city’s red and white flowerbeds found throughout town – along with a handful of other initiatives – garnered Portage 4/5 leaves in the Maple Leaf category.



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