Yesterday I covered the beautification awards breakfast and annual state of the city address by the mayor and officials from surrounding towns. (I know, I know, you're thinking... how in the world does she get such plum assignments?)
Anyway, the beautification award had a new category this year... at least I didn't remember it from before. It's an award for best vegetable garden, preferably grown from seed.
I was intrigued.
Reading on, I was surprised. The first place award went to John Leone, a former mayor and former chamber president. Honorable mention went to contractor Morrie Laviero.
I understand that mayors and contractors can make their own schedule, but it seems that chamber directors are so busy wheeling and dealing and pushing and prodding that it's not likely they've got time for a demanding hobby like gardening, let alone be able to create a prizewinning garden.
But there it was, in black and white. Leone won.
Contest judge Bill Englert said they thought they were in Little Italy when they went to visit Leone and Laviero's gardens on Maureen Drive, with all the peppers, tomatoes, grape arbors and the like.
But starting from seeds? Who does that?
Apparently these guys do. Leone told me he starts the seeds in February and that in the end, his whole neighborhood helps out. Laviero is one of his neighbors, but I'm not sure if he lends a hand since his own garden is so impressive.
Thanks to Bill Englert and his granddaughter, who snapped the photos, and the chamber, for passing them on.
You can see the story I wrote about the Leone-Laviero food fight in The Bristol Press, along with the list of winners: www.bristolpress.com.