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America in Bloom judge Jack Clasen, right, eyes an Uptown Greenwood topiary in this June 2017 file photo. Also pictured from left is Ann Barklow, the city’s chief horticulturalist, Lakelands master gardener Christina Ester and intern Julia Ciezadlo.

A Harvard University trained urban planner and a nationally known garden writer will be in Greenwood next week to judge the city’s America in Bloom entry.

It’s the fourth year the city has taken part in the program – which spans 250 communities across 41 states. Judges are environmental consultant and former chief of domestic landscaping for Walmart and Sam’s Club, Nikki Springer, and Teresa Woodard, who writes and produces garden stories for national publications.

In addition to receiving written evaluations from judges citing the strengths and opportunities for improvement, America in Bloom participants get a “bloom rating” and special mention from what judges deem to be an extraordinary project or program.

Springer and Woodward will be in Greenwood on June 20 and 21, evaluating efforts in the areas of overall impression, environmental efforts, heritage, landscaped areas, urban forestry, floral displays, and community involvement in the municipal, commercial and residential sectors.

Last year, Greenwood became the first South Carolina community ever to take part in the competition, and it was honored for having best overall floral display in addition to receiving a rating of four blooms out of five.

“America in Bloom started in 16 years ago modeled after similar programs in place all over the world.

The concept is really looking at some of the big components of sustainability like horticulture, the environment, heritage preservation and especially community involvement,” Jack Clasen, an America in Bloom judge since 2002, said in 2017.