Love Your Alley
This program is about collaboration, sustainability, creativity and beauty. It is transforming our underutilized alleys into extended living space for everyone to enjoy, while creating our own Homegrown National Park in Bexley with native plants that support our pollinators and biodiversity.
Participants have the month of May to work on their alleys: planting native plants and rain gardens, adding benches, and installing temporary and permanent artwork in gardens, on fences, and on garages. You could even celebrate your new space you’ve created with neighbors by naming and hanging an alley name sign. This is a chance to collaborate with friends and neighbors to make your alleys greener and more beautiful! There will even be some garden installation teams to assist in creating this vision.
Sunday, May 23, 2021 – Art in the Alley
The program will culminate with an Art in the Alley Walk, where everyone is invited to peruse the alley upgrades. An interactive map of mural locations is below.
2021 Love Your Alley Program Registration
Participants have the entire month of May to work on their alleys. Examples of work include planting native plants and rain gardens, picking up trash, trimming trees and shrubs, adding benches, and installing temporary and permanent artwork in gardens, on fences, and on garages. You could even celebrate your new space you’ve created with neighbors by naming and hanging an alley name sign.
If you're interested in being an Alley Captain, individual participant, non-alley participant, or volunteer, sign up by clicking the 'Register Here' button below. The first 10 blocks that register for this program will receive free native plants!
Program Information & Resources
Regardless of the featured alley and winning block, everyone that participates will support our pollinators and make our public spaces more beautiful and enjoyable. One winning block will win a prize package consisting of:
• Pizza from Bexley Pizza Plus!
• Our new yoga studio, Be Well Studio will offer a yoga class IN the winning alley
• Columbus Foodscapes will offer a 90 minute class 5 Steps to Create a Bountiful Edible Garden!
What are the judges looking for?
Judges are looking for: collaboration, sustainability, creativity and beauty.
• Plenty of native plants to sustain our pollinators (It doesn’t at all matter what stage of life the native plants are in! If seeds or seedlings, hang a sign to tell us which plants you planted.)
• Water sources and homes for our pollinators;
• Artwork: murals, painted rocks, bee houses
• Places for people to gather: benches, picnic tables
• Clean and tidy alleys
• Organized trash receptacles
• Trimmed trees and bushes
• Well-kept fences and garages
It doesn’t at all matter what stage of life the native plants are in! If seeds or seedlings, hang a sign to tell us which plants you planted!
If you don't have an alley, there are still ways you can be involved in this program! You can register independently by submitting the form on this page. Some examples of individual contribution include:
- Install a bench in front of your property—in a place for community use
- Install a fairy garden
- Join a plant installation team
- Join a litter clean up crew
- Adopt an alley: sign up to work on a certain alley
- Convert part of or all of your lawn to a pollinator lawn
- Help plan and organize
- Grow native seedlings and distribute to neighbors
- Help get the word out when chatting and through social media
- Donate money to the Love Your Alley initiative to gets lots of plants and artwork in our alleys!
Our pollinators need early spring blooms and late fall blooms! Click here to view the most needed and helpful native plants.
- Homegrown National Park
Join the movement and start a new HABITAT™ by planting native plants and removing most invasive plants. It is the largest cooperative conservation project ever conceived or attempted.
- Columbus Garden School
- Plant a Pocket Pollinator Garden
- Monarch Way Station Program
- Certified Wildlife Habitats
- Get $50 Towards Native Plants!
Where to buy seeds and plants?
When buying plants it’s important to buy true natives. There are many cultivars. Non-native plants are like plastic, and don't benefit our pollinators. It’s also important to verify that the plants you are buying haven’t been sprayed with insecticides.
Good sources for seeds:
Good source for seedlings/plants:
- Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Doug Tallamy
- Nature’s Best Hope by Doug Tallamy
- Native Plants of the Midwest: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 500 Species for the Garden by Alan Branhagen
- How to Eradicate Invasive Plants by Teri Dunn Chace
- The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants by Charlotte Adelma
- Pollinators of Native Plants by Heather Holm
- Lawns Into Meadows by Owen Wormser
- The Pollinator Victory Garden by Kim Eirman
- Planting Native to Attract Birds to Your Yard by Sharon Sorenson
Plants that mosquitos dislike:
- Sweet basil
- Russian sage
Dragonflies eat mosquitos! Plants that attract dragonflies:
- Black-eyed Susan’s
- Swamp Milkweed
- White Yarrow
- Joe Pye Weed
- Meadow Sage
If you enjoy being outside and working in the garden or yard, you can also participate in Love Your Alley by volunteering. Whether you need community service hours for school, or you're looking for a fun outdoor activity, you can register to volunteer by submitting our Volunteer Form (link). Someone will contact you after your information has been submitted.
- Community herb garden
- Pollinator garden
- Artwork on garage
- Artwork on fence
- Artwork in gardens
- Flag streamers
- String lights
- Picnic benches
- Little free library
- Little Art Museum
- Water features for bees and butterflies (mosquito free)
- Hang alley sign with your alley name
If you registered to be an Alley Captain, you can use the letter template below to rally support from your neighbors!
Program Classes & Speakers
There are events and speakers scheduled throughout the month of May to help participants learn about planting native plants, enhancing gardens for pollinators, and much more!
The registration deadline is three (3) hours prior to the start of the event. All presentations are open to those who are 13+ years old, except for 'Backyard Bugs' which is open to all ages.
Instructor: Doug Tallamy
Date: Sun. May 2nd from 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us must take to reverse declining biodiversity.
Doug Tallamy is the T.A. Baker Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has taught insect related courses for 40 years.
Instructor: Joanne Dole
Date: Sat. May 1st from 11:00 am - Noon
Location: Memorial Shelter at Jeffrey Park
Max: 20 people
As the world population is approaching 8 billion people, and our earth has been logged, plowed, tiled, paved, drained and otherwise developed, our ecosystem is broken. Insects are the foundation of our ecosystem, and by planting native plants where we work, live and play, we have the opportunity to support healthy populations and ecosystems. All attendees will receive native plants for their gardens!
Joanne Dole has been a Master Gardener with 28 years of experience.
Instructor: Kevin Doenges
Date: Thurs. May 6th from 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Join Kevin Doenges for a photo presentation! He's been growing native plants at his home since 2016. Initially, he wanted to increase the number of songbirds in our landscape which lead to the necessity of increasing insects. Prior to growing native plants, he had no interest in bugs. Now he's the self-proclaimed "weird guy" that can be seen in his front yard taking macro photos of bugs. Come check out these unique aliens that we share the land with.
Doenges is an amateur naturalist with an interest in native plants and the tiny creatures that live upon those plants.
Instructor: Tisa Watts
Date: Thurs. May 13th from 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Adding native plants to your landscape provides long-term beauty AND benefits for you and your community! Reduce your dependency on petroleum-based garden products and time-consuming and often repetitive chores like mowing or watering.
Founder of the Columbus Garden School, Watts is a garden educator and public speaker with 20 years of experience. She has a degree in Horticulture and Landscape Design.
Instructor: Margaret Harriman
Date: Sat. May 15th from 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Location: South Community Garden
Learn about specific host plants for caterpillars and nectar source plants for the adults. Butterfly gardens do not need to be large but do need to be colorful, sunny, and sheltered from strong winds!
Margaret Harriman and her husband Jeff, are co-coordinators of both Bexley Community Gardens since 2018. Margaret graduated from The Ohio State University and has been a Bexley resident since 1980.
Instructor: Tisa Watts
Date: Weds. May 19th from 7:00 - 8:00 pm
What makes a garden “eco-friendly” or “eco-hostile”? How can we become better hosts to backyard wildlife – what do our garden guests need? Let’s talk about how to provide nutritious food and access to water, a variety of habitat options, which garden practices may endanger wildlife, and how to create safe and welcoming place for wildlife to visit.
Art in the Alley Walk
On Saturday, May 22nd starting at 4:00 pm, browse the various alley upgrades that have taken place over the past few weeks. Some residents have painted murals in their alleys, which you are encouraged to visit! An interactive map below gives a location of the mural, though it will not be exact. All murals will be located in alleyways!
Previous 'Love Your Alley' Winner
Best Alley Block:
Alley Between Vernon and Roosevelt
North of Charles, and south of the mid-block between Charles and Astor.
From the Judges: "This alley caught our eye because there was a nice inertia of well-maintained properties back-to-back, and while there were some alley frontages that were a little rough around the edges, they were clearly being worked on and getting some extra attention. It's clear that there is a culture of alley attentiveness building at Vernon/Roosevelt and Charles, and that's what Love Your Alley' is all about!"