Local yard wins 17th annual County pride contest

Yellowhead County Photo
Sonny and John Bennett enjoy their six-acre yard that earned top spot in this year’s Yellowhead County pride contest, which was conducted virtually due to COVID-19.

Masha Scheele

Locals Sonny and John Bennett won the grand prize in the 17th Annual Yellowhead County pride contest this summer.

Their acreage, located just outside of Hinton along Hwy 40, is also home to The Little House yoga studio. They entered their six-acre yard into the contest for the first time this year and walked away with a win.

“This is the first year because I didn’t want a whole pile of people traipsing through my yard,” Sonny admitted.

In light of the pandemic, Yellowhead County’s Agricultural Services Department hosted their annual event virtually.

Participants sent in photos of their gardens and yards and the public voted online to determine which yard was their favourite, instead of visiting each one.

“We’re very humbled and full of gratitude that so many people voted for us,” Bennett said.

Bennett recently retired and during the COVID-19 pandemic she was able to spend more time in her yard than normal.

“It was actually looking really good this year so I thought well if it’s virtual I’m going to try it and I won,” she said.

Together, Bennett and her husband have worked on their yard diligently for the past five years.

She added that her husband is great with outdoor carpentry, like log work, and built bridges, ponds, a gazebo, and a pergola.

They recently added in a labyrinth, which is a walking meditation.

Bennett’s favourite area is the backyard with the pergola and a fire pit with seating where they like to entertain.

“We have three kids and seven grandchildren, and we gather out here quite often,” she said.

Bennett considers gardening as therapy and loves being outside working in the soil.

She added that she’s outside all the time, even during the rain.

Besides her flower beds, she also has two greenhouses where she grows vegetables and flowers.

“It’s just very calming to me. Both my husband and I enjoy it a lot. It’s something that we do together and we really, really like it,” she added.

She thought of participating in the contest before but felt she would then have to pick every single weed, and didn’t want to do that to herself.

The pandemic provided an opportunity to stay home and work on her yard more, to the point they felt prepared to enter the contest.

She added that she likely won’t participate again next year.

“I’ve won so it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for quite a while,” she said.

Seventeen submissions from all across the county entered into the contest. Stefan Felsing, communications coordinator of Yellowhead County, said they felt the online virtual contest was very successful, with almost 300 individual responses during the week the online voting was active.