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Thursday, April 22, 2010 12:22 am

Beautification is contagious

It’s time to get Springfield in Bloom

This is the sixth year for Springfield in Bloom, the community-wide beautification program that challenges homeowners, businesses, neighborhood associations and nonprofit organizations across central Illinois to bring beautiful new color and life to their street-side yards. Illinois Times is proud to be the primary sponsor of this program that works in cooperation with Mayor Tim Davlin’s Springfield Green initiative.

This beautification program got started in 2004 and since that time has seen hundreds of street-side gardens conceived, planted and improved. Projects of every size and scope are welcome to join this fun, friendly competition … as we make central Illinois more beautiful one yard at a time.

The details
Springfield in Bloom is free to enter and is open to any individual or group within a 25-mile radius of Springfield. All projects must be visible from the street. There are four categories: residential, business, neighborhood associations and nonprofit groups. Projects can be as expansive or as modest as the gardener prefers; the goal is to step outside your front door (or that of your church, school, etc) and create something that will enhance the neighborhood with flowers, trees and plants – along with any other hardscape improvements that suit the property. Whether you have an existing garden, one that is a work in progress or are doing a total makeover — each is welcome.

Enter early
Our goal is to get as many projects as possible entered early in the season (the contest officially begins on Earth Day, April 22) so the community will be inspired by your bloomin’ progress. Entry forms are available online at www.springfieldinbloom.org and at Illinois Times, Illinois National Bank branches or at the Farmers Market. Bring the completed entry form to Illinois Times (Monday-Friday, 8-5pm) and we’ll give you a colorful yard sign to display as you’re working on your project. Each entry will be asked to provide pictures – see the details on the entry form. The last possible day to enter is July 6 … but please don’t wait! When others see your yard sign they are inspired … and that’s what makes the program so successful. Beautification is contagious.

A team of both hobbyist gardeners and master gardeners will review all entries and visit each of the finalists during the latter part of July. Projects will be judged on the degree of change, the impact on the neighborhood along with overall design and creativity. Winning has nothing to do with how much money you spend … it is all about the project’s impact.

Did someone say there are prizes?
Every project is a winner in our book (we have a colorful prize for each), but first, second and third place winners each receive gift certificates for planting materials from our sponsor, Springfield’s Farmers Market, along with a custom garden sign suitable for posting outdoors, in the garden!

We couldn’t do it alone
Many thanks to sponsors Illinois National Bank, Springfield Area Home Builders Association and Paul Edwards at Farmers Market. Springfield Green’s Amber Sabin also plays a vital role in the program. And we’re very grateful to our media partners: Neuhoff Radio, Alice FM, Fox Television and Insight Spotlight who help get the word out about the program.

Contact Sharon Whalen 217 / 753-2226 x137 or info@springfieldinbloom.org.
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