Top seeded properties sweep Marco Island city landscape awards

Traveling around Marco Island, it’s easy to see why five area landscapers walked away with the city’s highest awards in the Marco in Bloom competition. Their creations married breathtaking beauty with practical non water-wasting gardening, a requirement for high honors.

The awards were announced at the beginning of Marco Island’s City Council meeting Monday by members of the Beautification Advisory Committee.

Taking first place in residential properties, Steve and Elaine Cormick of 660 S. Barfield Drive joined bronze and blooms, adding two miniature statues to street-side plantings creating the fanciful illusion of children at work in the garden. The couple’s home featured fountains, blooming plants, variegated greens and containers to add height and depth to the varieties of vegetation presented. The couple worked with a remarkable mix of shade and sun to complete the illusion of refreshing quiet on the edge of a traveled street.

Returning to its roots, the Marco Island Historical Museum on Winterberry Drive won in the institution category for its authentic reflection of early Native America. The museum developed a native plant walk using only vegetation existing during the Calusa Indian era.

The museum supplies viewers with a pamphlet explaining what each plant looks like at maturity and how Native Americans used them for food, medicine and crafts. Their gardens surround naturalistic pools that blend with the landscape. Rock, shells and rustic boardwalks cover the front courtyard leading to its centerpiece, a gazebo overlook. A moment in the museum’s garden is a trip back in time.

The Esplanade won in the commercial category. Its entranceways and signage are surrounded by colorful blooms, commanding a presence and announcing a showplace on Collier Boulevard. The Esplanade’s overall delightful green space contrasts with what would otherwise be a heavily paved, busy commercial pass-by. Those walking by on the sidewalk get a moment’s relief as they are welcomed by the eye-soothing color and feet-resting benches available there.

Butterfly Court may live up to its name attracting Eastern tiger swallowtails or monarchs to its well-manicured cul-de-sac median. Adopted by neighbors Ivy Scarpineto and Marv Needles, the median is slightly set back from the turnaround by a low block wall that defines space for plantings. Low-growth vegetation and blooms surround a selection of mature trees allowing a line of sight around the medium in the space between blooms and canopy. The adopted cul-de-sac median took first place honors for its foster landscapers.

Bill Holmes, landscaping manager for the Summit House, was humbled by taking first place in the condominium division and spoke at the council meeting. He stumbled upon his job after retiring to Marco from a landscaping company. Looking for a small part-time job to keep his skills active, he applied for an opening advertised at the Summit House. His responsibilities grew to include all facets of groundskeeping, allowing him to create the condominium’s oasis of blooms on the Collier Boulevard high-rise strip.

Barbara Murphy, chairwoman of the Beautification Advisory Committee, asked to move additional reports on Tree City USA, the community meeting, Florida friendly median plantings and cul-de-sac median landscaping updates to council’s April 16 agenda.

Marco Island City Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is 5:30 p.m., April 16, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

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