BELOW: The Atrium uses colorful plants to make the assisted-living facility more inviting to its clients.
By Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley
On May 26, Jo-Ann Landon, of the Boca Raton Beautification Committee, presented the Annual Landscape Excellence Awards to 11 properties throughout the city.
“Award recipients take great civic pride in what they do and work to maintain their landscaping at a high level,” said Mayor Susan Haynie, who helped present the awards.
“The nomination process is pretty simple,” said Dick Randall, who co-chairs the awards program with Landon. Committee members look for commercial properties, homeowner’s associations, residential communities, schools, parks and other public spaces that are worthy of consideration. Then they consider them in a variety of categories, such as High-Density Ungated Residential, City Property and Shopping Center.
The award criteria include tree canopy, proper pruning, variety, color and texture as well as how the property is fertilized, irrigated and maintained.
“All that plays into landscape excellence,” Randall said.
Residents living on the beach at the Stratford Arms Condominium, at 2600 S. Ocean Blvd., contend with not only sun but also salt and wind. Sabal, royal and date palms are the perfect landscape choices for this High-Density Residential winner.
Farther north, at Broadstone North Boca Village at 7801 N. Federal Highway, this High-Density Ungated Residential property is screened from traffic and the railroad by southern red cedars, royal palms and magnolias.
“The cedars are a first for Boca Raton,” Landon said.
Charlene Smith-Plaisted, co-owner of Treasure Coast Landscape Services in Boynton Beach, was proud that the Woodfield Hunt Club, at 4420 Woodfield Blvd., took this year’s award for Low-Density Gated Residential. Properties that she and her husband have landscaped or maintained have taken seven awards since 2008.
Along with residential properties, the awards honor Boca businesses such as Choice Mortgage Bank, at 40 SE Fifth St., which took the Large Commercial category.
“There are a lot of cars driving by our bank so we want our building to look professionally maintained; not like a mishmash,” said CEO Michael Kodsi.
The awards committee gave the property kudos for properly pruned palms. Landon explains that you should think of the top of a palm tree as a clock face where none of the fronds above 9 and 3 o’clock should be removed.
Silver Companies, at 1001 E. Telecom Drive, in the Large Industrial category also won for its landscape techniques as well as its natural buffer along Yamato Road.
In the Small Industrial Category, the owners of Custom Artisan Cabinetry, at 1070 NW First Ave., eschewed professionals to do the landscaping themselves.
“For us, it was all about color,” said Sara Barni, who hand-picked and planted the shrubs and trees to create an “oasis in an otherwise industrial area.”
In the Institutional category, the Atrium at Boca Raton, at 1080 NW 15th St., also won for its colorful plants that welcome the up to 150 residents who call this assisted-living facility home.
Landscaping that doesn’t need much fertilizer, maintenance or water helped Office Depot, at 6600 Military Trail, garner an environmental designation as well as a landscape award.
And in the Shopping Center category, Glades Plaza North, at 2300 W. Glades Road, was chosen because it is “manicured like a high-end residential property.”
That’s just how general manager Jerry Busbee wants to keep it.
“We’re on the highest-density road in Palm Beach County, so we want our place to look great,” he said.
Victory Church, at 3499 NW Boca Raton Blvd., was a standout in the Place of Worship category. Here, Loxahatchee grass and butterfly-attracting fire bush form a border that softens and screens the parking lot. Spreading oaks shade the property.
Oaks also provide a dense canopy at Boca Isles Park, at 1200 SW Second Ave., a small neighborhood attraction that won as a City Property.
“Through all of this, our main goal is to encourage people to plant trees,” said Bob Jennings, who is chairman of the beautification committee. “They have a lot of scientific benefits, but this time of year when it’s hot out there, we can all appreciate the shade.”