Category Archives: Crosby Best Garden Awards

One day, there will be a follow up…

Crosby Best Garden Awards Recap

A couple of weeks ago I created the Crosby Best Garden Awards; an unofficial competition made with the intention of recognizing the effort that goes into some of these beautiful yards. Overall I feel the CBGAs were a success; people were interested, there was plenty of great gardens to choose from and the photographs we took did a good job of representing what Crosby has to offer.

To celebrate the first CBGAs  I have decided to make a new category, titled “Crosby Best Garden Awards. You can see this at the top of the page. The advantage to this new category is that whenever someone wants to view the award posts (perhaps for the very first time or maybe just reminiscing) they don’t have to scroll through the archives to find them.

I’m thoughtful like that.

Unfortunately I don’t know how to change the order, meaning the conclusion post is at the top of the category which isn’t great because face it, who wants to start at the end? To combat this issues, here are all the links so you can follow the awards from the very beginning to the very end in the correct order. Enjoy.

Attention Citizens of Crosby!

CBGAs Introductions and Honorable Mentions

CBGAs Top Ten

CBGAs Top Three!

CBGAs Cool Ideas and Final Thoughts


Crosby Best Garden Awards: Cool Ideas And Final Thoughts…

Well it’s been fun the past few days, hasn’t it? We’ve found the best gardens in Crosby, honorably mentioned those who didn’t quite make the top ten and I imagine we’ve all made some friends along the way (if you didn’t, what’s wrong with you?). So all in all, the CGBAs have been a great success.

And as I’ve said before, the competition was much harder than I initially thought. There were probably twenty, possibly more, gardens that could have warranted a place in the top ten. But then again, most gardens in Crosby are relatively well maintained so you can’t really criticize anybody for a lack of effort. I know if I were to do a similar competition back home I’d probably struggle to muster up as many candidates as I did here. So well done everybody; even if we didn’t include you there is a good chance we think your garden is pretty neat too.

Unless you live in Ironton that is (we jest, we jest).

We haven’t completely finished our awards just yet either, so if you were thinking this was it then you’d be wrong. Very wrong. Catastrophically wrong, in fact.


Anyway, on our travels around Crosby we also came across several gardens that perhaps didn’t just have enough to deserve a spot on our shortlist but they did catch our attention in some way. In other words they had a nice idea or gimmick that we thought was pretty cool. So we photographed it. And now we’re going to post them here and give them some deserved credit. People who want to be in the running for the CBGA’s next year (if we have one), pay close attention.

Firstly we have a gazebo. Why do we like it? Well does it look appealing (who doesn’t want to sit there)? It’s welcoming, isn’t it? This gazebo also has a nice flowery backdrop to admire while you knock back a few drinks after a long hard day at work. Classy.

Next, a swinging basket. Vanna liked it because it reminded her of a witches pot (good use of a big pot apparently) and I just thought it was cool. It was a centerpiece to the garden, and we at the CBGAs love a good centerpiece. We feel the circle of surrounding flowers helps to emphasis this effect.  I hope you’re all taking notes.

Our next vote of appreciation goes to this Birdhouse. If you’ve got an old dead tree in the middle of your garden, why don’t you turn it into something useful? The picture probably doesn’t do it justice but the very first time I saw it I was quite impressed. Kudos people, kudos.

And finally we have an old barrel that has been converted to a flower container.  Not only is it a clever (and cool) idea, it is all pretty and colorful. This house also had some multicolored brickwork surrounding the garden so I was generally quite impressed. Let’s see more of these around the place, citizens of Crosby. It adds something different to your garden and I, for one, want more people using old objects like barrels to beautify their garden. You never know who is watching. (We are. We definitely are)

And sadly, that is the end of the Crosby Best Garden Awards. I hope you’ve enjoyed what we’ve brought to you. We’ve done our best to capture the beauty of Crosby’s finest but you’ve really got to see it in person to truly appreciate how wonderful some of these gardens are. I suppose you’ll just have to take our word for it.

Anyway, we appreciate your views and your support (even though it was unspoken I knew it was there), it means a lot. I also give my thanks to my girlfriend, assistant judge and photographer Vanna Raba, who despite her reluctance to look like a tourist, (begrudgingly) came with me regardless and photographed all our potential award-winning* gardens in a professional and enthusiastic (ha) manner. The lady in question would have probably given thanks to you, the viewers, and of course the President and Founder of the CBGAs (both me) for their contributions but I think she found it all too overwhelming to comment. Well, that’s the assumption I’ve made anyway.

So that’s that for this year’s CBGAs. Normal blog posts will resume shortly after, with the usual combination of sarcasm, complaining and general moaning about life (it’s raining again, by the way). Until then, we salute you and say our goodbyes.

Yours devotedly

Alex Best

Founder, President and Main Judge of the Crosby Best Garden Awards.

*Don’t forget, no actual awards given to any houses mentioned…none of them even know they were entered in the first place.

Crosby Best Garden Awards: Top Ten!

After yesterday’s introduction, it is now time for the Crosby Best Garden Awards main event! Today we are going to run through the top ten gardens in Crosby, going from that very respectable tenth spot to the cream of the crop at number one.

It’s all very exciting, isn’t it? What are we going to see? Who will be announced as the winner? Will they deserve it?

Well let’s not delay the proceedings any further. Here is the CBGAs countdown, starting with number ten.


Beautiful house, neat lawn and look at that ivy on the garage! We loved how understated it looks, and how subtle its beauty is. It did get us thinking however, that this garden could have perhaps given us more. It’s still pretty good though.


We’ve always admired this garden, with a well maintained lawn and that impressive rock garden catching our eye every time. That decking isn’t too bad either, so this house definitely has good curb appeal.


This garden is a little bit different and we like it. It might not require the same effort as others in this list but it’s very neat and leaves a nice impression. We can’t forget about it anyway. Good effort.


We were caught by surprise by this garden. Completely missed when we were first scouting, it was only just spotted when we were taking our photographs. With that pretty willow tree and that ornate centerpiece (made better by the water feature) it was a definite top ten.


Another one of my personal favorites, the border of potted plants and the well-manicured lawn made for a very attractive yard. This house doesn’t really have much property around it, especially when you compare it to others on this list, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying something. Very underrated. Except by us of course.


Now competition is getting a little harder as we reach the top five. This is Vanna’s choice, with ‘cute’ being her overall definition of this garden. And it’s hard to disagree. Not only is the garden well looked after in the back, so is the house front. That always impresses us here at the CBGA’s. It’s all about the curb appeal. Oh and patriotism. It does well there too.


Hanging baskets. A lovely white archway. Bold, colorful flowers. And to top it all off, a patriotic flag stuck right in the middle. We cycled across two blocks just to reach this property. There is a reason it recently won the ‘yard of the month’ in the Crosby Courier (obviously a competition less prestigious than ours but it still has some referral merit). Lovely.

Now to build up a little bit of tension we’re going to finish up the top ten on a separate post. Who will take 3rd? Who gets that runner up silver medal? And of course, who comes out on top with the Crosby Best Gardens Award? Follow this link to find out… (or you can click on the heading at the side…your choice >)

Crosby Best Garden Awards: Top Three!

Continued from here


Everything about this garden is superb. I really don’t think you could improve it. You’ve got the pretty flower decorations on each side of the garden, a pretty tree in the middle plus the colorful window boxes. Even the deck chairs don’t look out-of-place. This is great landscaping and fully deserving of a place in the top three.

It’s only going to get better  from here…


Isn’t this garden magnificent? The front yard is attractive enough but it’s the back which is truly delightful. Vanna and I had never even seen this house before but I doubt we’ll ever forget about it now. You cannot fault the effort which has gone into this garden. It’s so colorful, so beautiful. Simply breathtaking. How could you ever beat it?

Well it wasn’t easy. But there is one garden which tops everything that you’ve seen so far. It rightfully deserves top spot, the gold medal and all the acclaim. Shame we can only give one of those things. But here it is, the winning garden of the Crosby Best Garden Awards 2012!


Words can’t really describe this garden. It’s a work of art. From the very beginning of this competition, we knew this was the one to beat. It’s a masterpiece. As far as gardens go, it’s inspirational. We’ve ran out of superlatives to use so we’re just going to let the pictures do the rest.

And so we finish the CBGA’s top ten. It’s been a great time, cycling along every street of Crosby to find the most attractive gardens that this town has to offer. It wasn’t always easy, but it was definitely worth it. You might disagree with some of our selections, or perhaps our ordering, but we think it is impossible for you to argue that our number one doesn’t deserve it. It was a worthy winner.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the show and have been entertained by what the CBGA’s have offered today. Don’t forget that our closing ceremony is tomorrow, offering our thoughts and opinions on this year’s awards along with some of the cool ideas we came across on our travels around town. Don’t miss out.

Thank you, and goodbye for now.

The Crosby Best Garden Awards: Introduction And Honorable Mentions


Hello, hello hello, and welcome to the Crosby Best Garden Awards!

For the past week the CBGAs judging team (my girlfriend and I) have worked around the clock to decide which gardens in Crosby deserve to receive the outstanding recognition of being in the top ten of the Crosby Best Garden Awards.

It hasn’t been easy. The competition was fierce and in the absence of any bribes (seriously, there were none at all) we struggled to make any decisions fairly. There were arguments, tantrums and the occasional punch thrown. But after days of intense discussion, we finally made our choices. We were unanimous (eventually) and immensely satisfied with who made our top ten. We just can’t wait to show you.

We will not be making that announcement today, however. Because today is for the gardens that were so very close to making it, but unfortunately fell short at the very last hurdle. You may wonder why we are acknowledging those who have failed, but it is only right to us to commend the efforts of the hardworking gardeners who, with a bit of luck, could have been included in the elite. Everybody is a winner in our eyes, except for the ones which looked horrendous (you know who you are), so it is only right to say “hey, nice job. Better luck next time” to the gardens that were included in our shortlist.

So, without further ado, here are our Honorable Mentions: the gardens that just didn’t quite make it.


Located directly opposite our house, this garden was naturally going to be one of the favorites. The brightly colored and beautiful flowers has always attracted attention and we have no doubt that, at the right time, this garden is top ten material. But the timing of the awards, combined with the tough competition, meant it just wasn’t going to happen.


Vanna, my fellow judge, was always a big fan of this garden. She knew the owner and the effort that went its maintenance. Unfortunately we had to make a choice and inspirational back stories is simply not enough to win the Crosby Best Garden Awards. We are not the X Factor.


This garden was one of my personal favorites. I liked the trees, I liked the little rock areas and I liked the fence that surrounded it. Maybe in another town, it would have won. The Crosby Best Garden Awards, however, demand more.


Another garden that was right next to our house was also a big contender. We liked the cut of its jib and we were impressed with the effort that had gone into making it look so nice, even in this barmy summer. A little bit of patriotism never hurt their cause either. Why didn’t it win? Well it wasn’t very easy to photograph.

And that concludes our honorable mentions. You may be wondering how these beautiful gardens failed to reach our top ten. Well the answer to that is simple; our top ten is the very best of the best. They were judged on a variety of factors and they passed with flying colors. There were no doubts about their place. They deserved to be included in the top ten. They grabbed our attention and never let go. They are simply, the best Crosby has to offer. There was no beating them. They were the elite.

After this ridiculous build up, you’re probably wondering when you’ll get to see the winners of the Crosby Best Garden Awards. The answer to that question is…tomorrow.

That’s right. In about 24 hours (more or less) we will announce the winners of the Crosby Best Garden Awards.

Please, please please, don’t miss out. You don’t want to regret not being here. It’s going to be awesome.

Yours Faithfully

Alex Best

CBGA’s founder, president and main judge

Attention Citizens Of Crosby! We Have News For You!

Welcome welcome! How do you do? Are we all here? Great.

Today marks the start of the very first (and probably only) Crosby Best Gardens Awards!

Now settle down, I imagine there are many questions springing to mind. What are the CBGA’s (acronyms are cool!)? How do I enter? What do the winners get? Who judges it? Will there be any sandwiches?

Don’t worry my friends. Everything will be revealed shortly.

Let’s start with what the Crosby Best Garden Awards are. The CBGA’s are a new competition created by myself and my beautiful assistant and girlfriend, Vanna Raba. Over the next week we will be compiling a list of our favorite gardens in the small town of Crosby, MN. We will consider a variety of factors and rate this list until we have a select few (probably ten). They will be classed as the best gardens (or yards if you prefer) in Crosby this year.

What is the point of the CBGA’s? Well really it’s our chance to show our appreciation of all the care and effort that goes into maintaining these gardens. It allows us to say ‘hey, nice job!’ while introducing those unfamiliar with Crosby to what this delightful town offers. You will be able to see these amazing yards on this blog and recognize the efforts that have gone into them. Also we were bored.

What do the winners get? Unfortunately there won’t be any prizes, trophies or any official acknowledgement that you are a winner of this unrecognized (but prestigious!) gardening competition. I wouldn’t recommend putting this achievement your house description if you were to ever sell it either, but I would say it is something you could perhaps boast about to your friends?  As we don’t intend on publishing your house address or name, strangers won’t be able to stop and congratulate you so you may as well tell the people you love all about this great achievement. But people will see a picture of your wonderful house on this blog, even if they don’t know it’s yours. And what could be any better than that? Who could ask for anything better? Nobody I tell you, nobody.

Especially not this guy

So what about the procedure? And how do I make myself known? Is it too late to enter?

Well let’s just take it one at a time shall we? Patience please, patience.

To start with, no, it’s not too late to enter. At this moment Vanna and I are still busy forming the shortlist of all our favorite gardens. However we will still probably do a few more trips before we make our decisions. So if you see a tall blonde boy cycling around, possibly with a blonde girl accompanying him, and they stop by your house then you can bet you’re definitely in the running. Or we stopped to work out where we’re going next. So perhaps you shouldn’t get your hopes up.

Anyway it’s still not late to make some final adjustments; if you think the lawn needs cutting or some flowers need watering, and then best to do that today(!) before we rule you out of the competition.

We’d like to point out at this point that we find dealing with bribes very difficult. By this we mean we’re more than willing to accept any, just acknowledge they do not guarantee your place in the top rankings. We expect a top quality yard to match your top quality bribes. Don’t be bringing us hundreds of dollars (in cash please) only for us to find your house is classed as condemned.

Who do you think we are?

Now that we’ve got that piece of business out the way, we’ll continue by talking about our critique. There are certain factors we look for, and then there are certain factors that we frown upon. Take note, potential CBGA’s winners; this is where a title can be won or lost. Remember if you feel you’re in violation of one of these points, it’s too late to make amends. After all this is the first time we’ve ever mentioned this competition so it’s understandable that you’re off the ball.

Firstly we’ll talk about those all-important good points.

  • Well-manicured lawn
  • Pretty, colorful flowers
  • Special features, like water features or nice bird trees
  • Good paving/drive ways
  • Impressive landscaping

And those all negative bad points

  • Dying grass
  • Garbage/toys strewn around
  • Wilting flowers
  • Gnomes or cheap ornaments
  • General Clutter

We also look at good house fronts too. It’s all about curb appeal. The right amount of shading, appealing paintwork, no screaming children…all of that.

And that’s that. If you have any questions, please send us a message ( and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Good luck everybody! We’ll announce the winners soon so keep checking WOTC (told you acronyms were cool) for the latest news!

Yours Sincerely

Alex Best

CBGA’s founder, president and main judge.