Trilliums 2019

Grimsby Garden Club and the Town of Grimsby

2019 Summer Trilliums Program

Gardeners who make our neighborhoods look beautiful deserve to be recognized.  That’s why the Grimsby Garden Club and the Town of Grimsby sponsor and run this event.  We recognize and celebrate Grimsby’s outstanding gardens. 

Nominations were accepted from May 24, 2019 until June 24, 2019 and should be submitted to: Grimsby Trilliums 2019, Reception Desk, Peach King Centre, 162 Livingston Avenue, Grimsby, ON L3M 4G3


We are most grateful to our sponsors who support us in making this program possible.  Please support their businesses and keep Grimsby growing!

About the Trillium Assessment Criteria:

Gardens are nominated on the basis of their front landscaping, viewable from the street.  Nominated gardens are assessed using the following criteria: 
  1. Curb Appeal
  2. Landscape Maintenance
    1. Softscape
    2. Hardscape
    3. Flowers (annuals and perennials)
    4. Trees, evergreens and shrubs
    5. Property Maintenance
  3. Landscape Design
    1. Unity/harmony
    2. Balance
    3. Scale/proportion
    4. Rhythm/sequence
    5. Focal area
Volunteer judges visit all nominated gardens.  

Judging Criteria Detailed Description:

1.             Curb appeal
The judges check to see:
  • If the exterior looks inviting, welcoming and attractive
  • If the property creates a good first impression
  • If the property catches your attention immediately
Curb appeal can be accomplished a number of ways, such as:
  • exterior decorations
  • colour scheme
  • attention to landscaping
 2.             Softscape and hardscape
Softscape refers to the live elements including ornamental grasses, plants and shrubs. Judges will check to see if:
  • groundcover such as moss or ivy is well maintained
  • grass is mowed and edged, weed and disease free and without brown patches   (except in rural areas or when a water ban is in effect)
Hardscape refers to the ‘built’ environment including:
  • stones
  • rocks
  • pavers
  • artificial turf
  • structures
  • water elements
  • mulches
Judges will check to see if the built environment is weed free, clean and well kept

 3.             Annuals and perennials
Judges will check to see if annuals and perennials:
  • are well maintained
  • have healthy colour and foliage
  • have been dead headed
  • are part of a colour scheme
  • are the proper size in proportion to containers and planters
 4.   Trees, evergreens and shrubs
Judges will check to see if trees, evergreens and shrubs are:
  • pruned
  • shaped
  • maintained (deadwood, weak, diseased or damaged branches and stems have been removed)
 5.             Property maintenance
The judges will check to see if:
  • property is maintained
  • walkways, driveways, fences are in good condition and contribute to the appearance of the property
  • landscaping is maintained and free of litter and weeds
  • elements and structures compliment the landscape and are in working order
 6.             Landscape design principles
The judges check for:
  • Unity and harmony
    • unity is achieved by repeating objects or elements that are alike; there is repetition of shrubs or a colour scheme
  • Balance
    • can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical
  • Scale and proportion
    • scale refers to the size of an object in relation to the house and property
    • proportion refers to the size of parts of the design in relation to each other and to the design as a whole
  • Rhythm and sequence
    • smooth blending of different elements
    • garden is one unified scene
    • property has year-round appeal
  • Focal area
    • plants or structural elements that accent a given area
    • can be achieved using an entryway, front door or a certain location in the garden such as a pond, fountain, arbour, birdbath, pots, rockery or stairway
 7.             Landscape design elements
These are tools used to achieve principles of design:
    • Line:
      • this is eye movement or flow
      • can be achieved by bed arrangement or vertical changes in heights of plants, trees or shrubs
      • can be straight or curved and free flowing
    • Form:
      • individual plant growth or planting arrangement in a landscape such as upright, oval, columnar, spreading or weeping
    • Texture:
      • describes the surface quality of an object that can be seen or felt
      • can include buildings, walks, walls, ground covers and plants
      • can be fine, course, bold or medium
      • adds interest to the garden throughout the seasons
      • should be complex, personal and have a strong effect on the landscape
      • may include some flowers; however much of the colour should come from foliage
      • using green for continuity along with some colour variety in foliage adds interest
      • should direct attention to the landscape and compliment the house
      • consideration will be given to year round interest, not just to seasonal colour
      • adds interest

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Q. What kinds of gardens are included in the Trillium scope?
A, All front gardens and balconies of residential, commercial, condominium, rental and town house properties. Excluded are buildings located on private lanes and roads, not accessible to the public. Condominium complexes are on private roads and are accessible to the public, so are included.

2. Q. Do the judges walk around the front garden to view it?
A, The judges do not walk around the front garden. They view it from the street and front sidewalk. They walk along the street or the sidewalk. The Trillium scope is the front garden viewable from the street/sidewalk.

3. Q. Are side gardens included in the judging where there are corner properties?
A. The Trillium scope is the front garden viewable from the street. Where the side garden is viewable from a straight-on front street view, it will be included. The judges do not walk around the corner and view the side garden when it isn’t viewable from the front street view.

4. Q. How long does it take to judge a garden?
A. Typical viewing/assessment times are between 10 to 20 minutes for a garden. Judges use an assessment checklist and scoring form. They have been trained and are skilled in making an assessment. The checklist for assessment is available on the Grimsby Garden Club website.

5. Q. How do you decide the front garden – it is where the house number is?
A. There are 2 possible front gardens – the part of the house with the number on it, or the part of the house with the front door. The judges look to see where the front seems most likely and use that for judging. This accommodates newer housing sections where the house number is on one street with the garage and the front door is around the corner.

6. Q. Are artificial plants a detriment in the judging criteria?
A. The presence of artificial plants can be a solution for a porch or balcony situation where there is low light. In particular, artificial boxwood is sometimes used in these settings. Artificial flowers can integrate as accent features in the landscape or the container. However, artificial flowers and plants as substitutes for living garden material is discouraged.

7. Q. Is artificial turf allowed?
A. Artificial turf is discouraged as a major feature. The Trillium program recognizes beautiful front gardens, and recommends natural, living material in a natural environment. That means it is integrated in the environment and welcome to animals, insects, and other living creatures. Artificial turf is a noticeable as a feature on the landscape. Like artificial trees, bushes, and flowers, it falls outside the program’s purpose and is considered a detriment.

8. Q. How do judges assess different sized properties – particularly small gardens?
A. Judging different sized properties takes skill and expertise. Judges receive training in applying the assessment criteria in a consistent way. One might think that a small garden has a better chance of scoring higher – for example it likely is less effort and time to maintain to high standards. However, in a small plot of say, 15x20 feet, the effect of each plant and element is critical. One plant out of scale has a medium to high impact. This is the case for mismatched or poor colour integration. Each item contributes to balance, unity and harmony. In a large garden, one plant or element out of place would not have a high impact on the design. In this scenario, groupings and flow of plants and elements are evaluated.

9. Q. Can a garden get a Trillium every year?
A. Yes, there currently are no limitations to the number of trilliums a garden can receive. Beautiful gardens can be awarded a Trillium each year.

10. Q. If a house is recently purchased can it receive a Trillium?
A. Yes, there are currently no rules disqualifying a garden because it has been recently purchased.

11. Q. Is there a way for the public to choose the best gardens in Grimsby?
A. There currently isn’t a popular choice award. We are looking into the possibility of a popular vote, and will keep you up to date on developments.

12. Q. Can I submit a nomination after the deadline?
A. There may be special circumstances that cause the deadline to be moved for everyone – power outages, or circumstances that affect everyone in the town. Individual circumstances may also exist: this might be an illness, being away, or a special circumstance. Typically a grace period of a few days will be allowed. We will notify everyone via our website, newsletter, and facebook page of a deadline change that applies to all.

13. Q. My property has been nominated but I am not sure it is “Trillium-worthy”
A The Grimsby Garden Club website shows the winning gardens from the last few years to give a sense of what a Trillium winning garden looks like. In addition, the detailed and summary assessment criteria are published here on the website. A nominated garden owner can decline the nomination – there is no penalty, and it is a voluntary program. To choose to not participate, just contact the chair of the Trilliums published on the website or and ask to be removed from the judging.

14. Q. How do I interpret the assessment criteria and the numerical rating scale?
A. To get a sense of the assessment rating numbers and what they mean, use the following rule of thumb:
5 – excellent to outstanding
4 – very good

3 – good
2 – fair
1 – poor
0 – not present/missing



Are you interested in becoming a Trillium judge? Contact the Trillium chair, or email the Grimsby Garden Club.  The contact information is available on the nomination form or here on the website.  

A public orientation and training session is required for all judges.  For 2020 Trilliums, it will take place before June 15th 2020.