Prepare for Judges' Visit

Jan Eade helped plant a row of hibiscus plants along the fence near the train tracks and Waterworks building Wednesday, July 3. The project was in preparation of the city’s participation in America in Bloom. National judges will visit Washington this week.   Missourian Photo.

The countdown is on for the America in Bloom judges visit to Washington this week.

“The stage is set, our guests are en route and we are ready to rock ’n’ roll,” said Sally Bocklage, Washington in Bloom co-chair.

Bocklage said that the committee and the community are looking forward to the judges’ arrival.

The judges, Katy Moss Warner and Melanie Menachem-Riggs, will fly in from California Wednesday evening, July 10.

They will spend the following two days doing extensive touring, conducting interviews with municipal representatives, and meeting with community volunteers.

The judges will tour dozens of businesses, city organizations, historic sites, recreation sites and other locations.

Bocklage noted that one of the judges, Warner, visited Washington several years ago and is looking forward to seeing how the city has grown and flourished.

“I belive she will be quite surprised,” Bocklage said.

During their visit, judges will evaluate six criteria, including overall impression, environmental efforts, heritage preservation, urban forestry, landscapes, and floral displays. Criteria are examined across four sectors: commercial, municipal, residential, and community involvement.

Bocklage said volunteers will continue to “touch up” and work on planting.

“We’ve been watering and making sure the beautiful plant material stays healthy,” Bocklage said. “We will continue to do this when the judges go back home. This is for Washington.”

Bocklage said the visit is a wonderful opportunity for the city to get input from judges with extensive knowledge and a fresh eye.

The Washington in Bloom committee has been working to collect heritage stories to share with the judges.

Bocklage said she has a photo of the front of Fifth Street Elementary when the two trees were planted there. The eighth-grade class of 1938 saved pennies to purchase the trees as a gift to the school.

“We encourage residents to share such stories,” Bocklage said. “They’re fascinating and enrich our heritage in our community.”

The committee also is asking local businesses what types of environmental efforts they practice, as well as energy-saving measures to share with the judges.

Once gathered, the information will be shared with the judges, as well as on the new Washington in Bloom website, which should launch later this week.

People may send information to

In the last several weeks, volunteers have busily worked to beautify the city by planting 25 hibiscus plants along the fence at the Waterworks building near the train tracks and planting at the Downtown Washington post office. Native plants grown by Bill Schwab were planted at Phoenix Park.

FFA students spent several days laying fresh mulch at the park. Native plants also were added near the city pool.

Banners will be added to lightposts in Downtown Washington before the judges’ arrival, Bocklage said.

“The committee extends its gratitude to city residents for work they have done in beautifying their own properties or businesses,” Bocklage said. “I think we’re looking good.”