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Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008 01:02 am

Let’s plant the town red

There are many ways that you can help. Here are just a few

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Plant recommended perennials and trees this fall.

"Plant the Town Red" is the official theme of the AIB beautification effort. There's still plenty of time this fall to add a splash of red to your spring and summer gardens with dozens of Red Oxford Tulips or Pardon Me Daylilies. Nearly any perennial in your garden today can be split and replanted in a new location as well. October is also prime time for tree planting – some suggestions include Prairiefire flowering crab, Autumn Blaze or Red Sunset Maples. Visit local nurseries for guidance about the trees and plants that will work best for your yard. An extensive recommended plant list is available on the America In Bloom page at www.springfieldinbloom.org.

Start thinking about how to include annual and perennial combinations for summer color in your 2009 garden.

From astilbe to verbena, coral bells to Knock-Out roses, AIB is eager to see not only red, but some great perennial-annual combinations. It isn't necessary to destroy your current garden — just look for ways to enhance it with bright colors for a bold statement! For more ideas, refer to the University of Illinois Extension's horticulture website: http: //web.extension.uiuc.edu/state/hort.html.

Share your enthusiasm with friends, neighbors, and civic groups.

Tell a friend about this program and encourage their participation. Consider teaming up with neighbors to plant the boulevard or plant with a theme across several yards. Split your perennials and bulbs and share them with others for their yards. Post your items to share or request what you're looking for on Springfield In Bloom's Trading Post network. It's easy and free! www.springfieldinbloom.org.

Clean up everything.

Springfield has a litter problem and everybody is part of the solution. Tidy up your alley, and the schoolyard where your kids play. Organize a cleanup day in your neighborhood. Remind smokers that butts don't belong in the street. Consider getting involved with the Springfield Green Adopt a Street Program. Reserve the Springfield Parks Foundation's community tool wagon and get all the supplies you need to revamp your block and common ground areas. It's fully equipped with shovels, rakes, gloves and more. The foundation will even drop it off at your work site and it's free. Call Doug Reynolds 553-1329 for information.

Send us your story.

A big part of preparing for the America in Bloom judges' visit is documenting the projects, programs and participation going on around the city. If you are doing something good, tell us about it! Send essays, pictures and more to info@springfieldinbloom.org.

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