Washington now has an official city bird, tree and flower. Voting results for the city symbols were announced Tuesday, July 17, at the America in Bloom celebration dinner.

Voters favored the dogwood for a city tree, a black-eyed Susan for the flower and a cardinal as the bird.

There was a one vote difference between the dogwood and the riverbirch trees.

More than 240 people voted.

“Overall we’re very pleased,” said Dave Wehmeyer, co-chair of the Washington in Bloom committee.

America in Bloom judges visited Washington Monday and Tuesday, July 16-17.

Adopting city symbols was one of the judges suggestions from last year, Wehmeyer noted.

The black-eyed Susan is very hardy and blooms all summer, Wehmeyer said.

“We’re still trying to figure out how to incorporate them into the city,” Wehmeyer said.

There may be mass plantings of the flower and special plantings of the tree. They also may be inserted into brochures or somehow incorporated into city hall.

The Competition

Judges evaluate six criteria including overall impression, environmental efforts, heritage preservation, urban forestry, landscapes and floral displays. The criteria are examined across four sectors: commercial, municipal, residential and community involvement.

Washington is competing against Artesia, Calif.; Arroyo Grande, Calif.; Holliston, Mass.; and Madisonville, Ky.; in the 13,000 to 25,000 population category.

Last year, Washington competed against the same number of communities, but different cities.

The results of America in Bloom will be announced at a conference in Fayetteville, Ark., which is set for Sept. 20-22.

Bocklage and Weh meyer said the judges were “amazed” at what had been accomplished since last year’s America in Bloom visit.

Both co-chairs thanked volunteers, city workers, master gardeners, the garden club, those who bought banners, those who led tours and hosted meals at their homes, business owners and others who helped with various aspects of Washington in Bloom.

“Everyone outdid themselves. The whole city helped,” Wehmeyer said.

“We have become one team because we see the visible results of this national program,” Bocklage added. “The judges were amazed at the knowledge of the people they met and the cooperation (between the various groups).”