MARCO ISLAND — Bougainvilleas, beach sunflowers, rain lilies and birds of paradise have a chance to stand front and center in the City of Marco Island’s 2012 landscape awards.
A project of the Beautification Advisory Committee, “Marco in Bloom” has opened nominations for the best landscapes in five categories: single-family residence, multi-family dwellings or condominiums, non-residential commercial, cul-de-sac medians (adopted and maintained by residents), and institutional properties.
“Nominations can be made by individuals owning properties or by those who pass by and admire a location’s landscaping,” said Linda Colombo, coordinator of the 2012 contest. Colombo was an early recipient of the landscape award before her appointment to the committee.
Entries need to include three to 10 non-returnable photographs of the property from public viewing areas such as streets or sidewalks. Entries also need a 100 words or less explanation of why the nominated property deserves recognition.
“The BAC began developing the landscape award criteria in 2007 with the first awards recognized in 2008,” said Barbara Murphy, beautification committee chairwoman. “Marco in Bloom landscape awards spawned from an idea of developing a hanging basket project for Collier Boulevard along with the shopping centers.”
A pilot project was established but did not proceed when committee members learned baskets were too labor intensive, Murphy said. But out of the idea came the name “Marco in Bloom” and later the idea of holding a landscaping competition.
Judging will be based on criteria including landscaper’s use of native materials that require less water, visual colors and contrasts in planted areas, creativity of design and public visibility.
“The committee’s intent in establishing the landscape awards was simply to recognize neighbors using water-wise landscaping practices in a beautiful and creative manner,” Murphy said. “We feel this hard work of our neighbors is a very worthy accomplishment to recognize.”
The committee has fostered awareness of better growing practices through education. An example of Florida-friendly landscaping was planted beside the left sidewalk traveling from City Hall to the Police Station. The planting uses native materials requiring less water, fertilizers and herbicides.
Last year’s “Marco in Bloom” winners included Somerset Condominium, Tommie Barfield Elementary, the cul-de-sac median on South Seas Court, and the home of Jim and Sandi Johnson at 281 N. Barfield Drive. No nominations were received for commercial property last year, Murphy said.
The committee will be holding a Community Day event from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, in Rose History Auditorium of the Marco Island Historical Society. Discussions will include Florida-friendly gardening.
“ ‘Marco in Bloom’ brochures will be available at Community Days,” said Dianna Dohm, beautification committee member and coordinator of the community event. “Also, committee members will be there who can answer any questions people might have.”
Brochures for “Marco in Bloom” are available at Mackle Park, Colombo said. Deadline for nominations is March 23. The committee will judge entries and announce winners at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 12, as part of city council’s regularly scheduled meeting in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.
“Gardeners should have fun with this,” Colombo said. “It’s a way they can show off their hard work.”