2016-population-category-awardMISSION: American in Bloom Lexington is a civic organization uniting our community to encourage and showcase a more beautiful, vibrant, and sustainable city.

VISION: We envision a welcoming community of informed citizens cooperatively engaged in preserving and enhancing our unique fabric of environmental, aesthetic, cultural and historical assets.

HISTORY: In 2013 the joint lecture committee of Fayette County Master Gardeners and the Friends of The Arboretum of Kentucky invited as its annual speaker, Katy Moss Warner, the 25 year director of landscapes at Disneyworld and a leader in the national America in Bloom organization. Her topic was “Beautiful Landscapes – the Key to Healthy Communities.”  Ms. Warner agreed to pay her own expenses if we would arrange a meeting with civic leaders to talk about the benefits of participation in America in Bloom.  We accepted her offer and with the help of then Vice Mayor Linda Gorton, organized a community breakfast on the morning following her talk on the topic “How Can We Make Lexington Even More Beautiful?” Our invitation was extended to 90 civic and garden leaders in Fayette County, of whom 50 attended. Out of that morning’s very positive discussion, AIB Lexington was born.

For 2014 and 2015, the organizing committee worked on meeting the requirements of participation in the America in Bloom evaluation and awards program:
  • Composing and submitting a 20 page community profile by May 1st;
  • Hosting a pair of AIB judges in late June for a two day tour of sites included in the community profile;
  • Attending the annual Symposium and Awards Program to receive (hopefully) recognition for Lexington beautification efforts and receive an extensive written report from the judges full of suggestions on how we as a community working together can make Lexington even more beautiful.
In late 2015, it was time to grow. Through strategic planning sessions we opted to seek non-profit organizational status. That process occupied a considerable amount of time in 2016 as we formalized our vision and mission. America in Bloom’s vision of beauty starts with beautiful floral displays and landscapes, it also sees urban forests, environmental sustainability, and honoring cultural heritage as elements the beauty that creates livable, healthy cities for all its citizens. Lexington has volunteer organizations, businesses, and government services already in place in each of those focus areas, actively working to maintain and improve the beauty of both our public and private outdoor spaces.  The question we asked ourselves was basically the same as we asked at that Community Breakfast in 2013: how can we as a new non-profit organization add value to all the efforts ongoing in Lexington?  The answer from many was that we could foster collaboration, awareness, education, and recognition between and among all these efforts.
To partner with tree organizations working on our thinning urban canopy AIBLex decided to help encourage citizens to plant trees on their property.

A partnership with Baptist Health and Girl Scouts provided trees to babies born in April, 2017 in an effort to improve urban tree canopy in Lexington. Trees were also given out free of charge at Arbor Day held at the Arboretum.

To bring people together working in different beautification “silos”, we sponsored our first annual community event with presentations from representatives in each of the six AIB focus areas. And to honor  people who have played a significant role in Lexington’s past beautification efforts, we established the Community Champion Award, with former Vice Mayor Isabel Yates being named the first recipient AND having the Award named for her.

Working to match organizations to expand and encourage collaborations has led to many small achievements. When the Southland Drive Music Station was built, flowers for the stand and volunteers to keep them watered and looking good were needed. AIB-Lexington was happy to contact the Southland Sunshine Grow Shop, who supplied flowers, and the nearby Fire Department to keep things looking great.

We look forward to working with YOU!


Ann Garrity, President – Ann Garrity has been a community advocate since high school in the 1960’s in Asheville NC. Through life transitions and multiple jobs, mostly in academic administration at the University of Kentucky, she was drawn toward the community and organizing aspects of whatever challenge was at hand. Which is why, when presented with the opportunity, she and others on the Arboretum Lecture Committee were inspired to bring the America in Bloom model of civic beautification to Lexington. Ann and spouse, Tom, have called Lexington home since 1970. They have three married daughters and ten grandchildren, both natural and acquired. When not helping out with their busy lives or traveling the US and abroad, Ann enjoys hiking, yoga, cooking, puzzles, photography, and organizing other people for the common good, pretty much in that order.

Doris Settles, Secretary – Doris Settles has spent her life writing about people: their joys, successes, work and communities. Author of three books and articles in magazines, newspapers and academic journals too numerous to list, she has taught writing at Lexington Community College, the University of Kentucky, and serves as a writing mentor at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. Doris volunteers with Calvary Baptist Church Missions and the Fayette County Extension Master Gardener Program where she was part of the original Arboretum/EMG meeting that got excited about bringing America in Bloom to Lexington. When she and her husband, Bill, aren’t working on yet another project at home or traveling the US and the world, she enjoys reading, documentaries, visiting with friends or surfing the web, in no particular order.

Harry Clarke – Harry Clarke is a retired University of Kentucky professor and a former member of the Lexington’s City Council.  He is also a member of several boards and commissions, including the Tree Board, Trees Lexington!,OperaLex, Picnic with the Pops, and the board of the Friends of the Arboretum.  He was recently appointed to Lexington’s Board of Adjustment.

Marcia Farris – Marcia Farris is retired from teaching science and most recently has retired form being director of The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky. She has enjoyed nature and gardening since she was a child and has been active in Federated Garden Clubs at local, district and state levels. Marcia has served on the LFUCG Tree Board and the LFUCG Corridors Committee and believes  a greener, more beautiful and vibrant Lexington is important to all residents and visitors.                                

Sheila O. Ferrell –  As Executive Director of the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation, Sheila helps AIB-Lexington support and advocate for our history and cuclture. The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation serves as the region’s leading advocacy organization for all preservation related matters. Founded in 1955, it is the 14th oldest preservation organization in the United States.

Diane Fout – As Director of the Campus Center at Transylvania University’s campus in Lexington, Diane blends history with current events at the first college west of the Alleghenies.

Linda Gorton –  Former Vice Mayor Gorton has been involved with AIB-Lexington from the beginning. Her support has empowered and expanded our capabilities.             

Victoria Meyer -Victoria Meyer has worked as an RN in the Lexington community for 37 years. She participates with many diverse community organizations in the Community Health Improvement Plan, and has served as member and chair of the Mayor’s Health and Wellness Task Force.  She serves on the board of the Kentucky Cancer Link and is Chair of the Lexington Women’s Garden.  She is always on the lookout for an opportunity to work for the overall well-being of her community in ways that empower people of all ages to achieve and enjoy the healthiest lives possible

Cathy Mobely – Cathy Mobley is a  21-year veteran of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Parks Department. Cathy is well versed in several aspects of Parks and Recreation from Golf to Maintenance.  Her particular expertise, however , lies in the areas of Turf Management and Landscaping.  Responsible for keeping Parks areas, greenspaces and athletic fields in excellent condition, she is also manages the upkeep and maintenance of several landscaping landmarks throughout Lexington’s parks and downtown corridors.  Part of the Landscaping AIB committee, she was elated when Lexington was named as having one of the best landscaping features during the 2016 America In Bloom competition, solidifying her position as an expert in this area.

Liz Pattengill – Liz Pattengill came to Kentucky via Canada and her native England where a love of gardening was instilled in her at a young age. Since retirement she volunteers for the Lexington Council Garden Clubs (LCGC) a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc., and The Garden Club of Kentucky. With a small grant from LCGC and the proceeds from an annual Derby Day plant sale, Liz’s local club, Gardenside Green Thumb is undertaking a four-year restoration of the herb garden at Waveland State Site. When president of LCGC in 2010, Liz helped revive and chaired “Lexington in Bloom”, the biennial beautification contest, first started in 1992. Liz represents LCGC on the city’s Corridors Commission. With a grant from LCGC, Liz helped install a butterfly garden at her neighborhood Stonewall Park in 2015. In her spare time, Liz can be found walking her two dogs, cooking, doing several types of needlework, reading books, and following current events.

Angela Poe – As Program Manager for Public Information and Engagement – ‎Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works in Lexington, Angela helps AIB-Lexington stay on top of issues and programming in all six areas.

Amy Sohner – Amy Sohner has been with Bluegrass Greensource since its inception and became Executive Director in 2006. She has a background in environmental education and a degree in Natural Resource Conservation and Management, but spends most of her days on program development and people/money management.  Though she misses being in actual contact with the environment, she has come to enjoy managing the great staff and working with our community partners.  In addition to her work with America In Bloom – Lexington, Amy is the Chair of Keep Lexington Beautiful, and on the board of Bluegrass Tomorrow and Women Leading Kentucky.  When not at work, Amy likes to play nature hunter with her two daughters at their home near the Kentucky River Palisades.

Tim Query -Tim Queary has served as the Urban Forester with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government since 2000.   He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Forestry from the University of Kentucky (UK) and is a Certified Arborist accredited by the International Society of Arboriculture.   He spends most of his time working with the citizens of Lexington providing administrative support on city tree-related issues.  His previous employment includes the UK Department of Forestry Cooperative Extension Service, Kentucky Division of Forestry and several jobs with the forest products industry in Kentucky.   Tim currently serves on the city’s Corridors Commission, Tree Board, Arbor Day, American in Bloom Lexington and Reforest the Bluegrass committees.  In his spare time he likes to enjoy the great outdoors and is an avid sportsman.

Terese Wright – Beauty is an integral part of Terese Wright’s daily life. As a licensed cosmetologist at The Strand, spreading beauty is her main activity!

Michelle Young – A banker by profession, Michelle is currently Banking Center Coordinator for Traditional Bank’s Lansdowne location. Long engaged in the arts, community-building, and gardening in Lexington, she is excited to be involved with AIB-Lexington.



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