That’s an important-sounding title, but the letter accompanying the award helpfully clarifies what it takes to merit the award. After one of our neighbors nominated our garden, someone with the Metro Blooms organization came by our house to evaluate our garden on the following criteria:
- Use of color
- Plant variety
- Environmental stewardship
We were awarded points in each of these categories and, based on that point total, slotted into a hierarchy of award levels. For 2007, there were 196 Certificate of Appreciation awards, 722 Garden of Merit awards, 497 First Place awards, and 177 First Place Exceptional awards. According to my calculation, that would make ours one of the 1,396 best gardens in Minneapolis. Yes, we’re in elite company here.
Putting aside the kidding about the exclusivity of our award, the recognition program is certainly working its intended effect on me. Now that I know I can earn points for installing another rain barrel, mulching my plants, or weeding my beds I want to get to work so I can try to advance to the First Place level in 2008. Ms. Bungalow has an even more competitive personality than me, so she’s certain to be more motivated than ever to improve the garden next year.
Meanwhile, here are a couple pictures of how the garden looks now. Clearly we have a bit of time left before gardening season.