New blooms at Oak/Leyden

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Oak/Leyden Developmental Services owns 11 group homes in the western suburbs?#34;two in Oak Park. And last Friday afternoon each one looked a little prettier following a gardening contest involving the residents of each home.

Curtis Mitchell, 27, a resident of an Oak Leyden home in Oak Park was hesitant at first to participate in the gardening project because he didn't want to touch the dirt. But when he was reminded that the fruits and vegetables he eats every day grow in the dirt, he "dug right in" helping his team plant an arrangement of impatiens, calendulas and freesia that won their house the title of "Best Use of Color and Plants."

With flowers and planting supplies donated by The Home Depot, residents got busy with their "garden-off." At the end of the day, a group of judges made up of Oak/Leyden board members and Home Depot representatives visited the 11 newly-planted gardens and gave a different award to each one, said Kathleen Higgins, director of development.

?#34;Stephanie Thies

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