At first I thought someone was littering in my yard again. This happens quite a bit since we have an alley behind our house. But upon closer look, I realized it was a pretty pink flag with the words "2009 Alley Garden Award" on it. What, you say? I won an award for having pretty flowers in the alley by our house?
I thought it might be a silly little prank? I mean, do I get my name publicized in a community newspaper somewhere? Get Caribou coupons for my dutiful neighborhoodship? I wasn't sure so I Googled it. Here's what I found:
Alley Garden Awards
Planting a few perennials here and potting some plants there can make a huge difference in improving the aesthetics and safety of your property. In 1992, the Macalester-Groveland Community Council agreed that community beautification deters crime. In response, they started the Alley Garden Awards, which are given to any resident who meets the following four criteria:
Alley Garden Award Criteria
1. The property must have an easily recognizable house number on the garage (or elsewhere in the alley if there is no garage).
2. The garden must be along the alley and on the alley side of any fence.
3. The alley garden must be weed-free and well-maintained.
4. The alley side of the property must positively contribute to the character and beauty of the alley by being litter free and neat.
The Alley Garden Awards generally take place each summer. You can nominate yourself or a neighbor, or just wait for volunteer judges to walk down your alley and identify qualifying alley gardens. In the fall, all Alley Garden Award winners will be invited to a ceremony to recognize their efforts to beautify their alleys and reduce crime in their neighborhood.
WOW! How cool is that?