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Blocks in Bloom


Blocks in Bloom is an exciting, award-winning Rochester initiative that brings together communities in the City of Rochester through front yard flower gardening. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County's Master Gardeners and other volunteers educate residents, one block at a time, in preparing, planting, and maintaining front yard flower gardens.

The program provides wonderful outreach for building community, teaching gardening skills, and encouraging healthy living. Residents build a sense of pride in their homes, and grow stronger community relationships through gardening. We work with blocks in lower income neighborhoods.

Blocks in Bloom receives generous donations of plants, compost, mulch, garden tools and funds from Lowes, the City of Rochester, garden clubs including the Rochester Garden Club, the First Unitarian Church plant sale, and dozens of area residents. All materials needed to start front yard flower gardens are provided at no cost to participating blocks.

Since 2014 Blocks in Bloom has served 77 blocks and 788 households have participated in this program. To see the map of garden block locations in Rochester since 2014, click here.

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      Interested in Block Participation?

      How Blocks Get Involved:

      • One person agrees to be the Block Captain for his or her block (must be in a lower income neighborhood in Rochester)
      • The Block Captain signs up at least 6 households on the block that want to start a front yard flower garden
      • We assign a pair of Master Gardener or other experienced “mentors” to each block
      • We visit each yard to see where the gardener wants to plant and assess what needs to be done (while teaching a few gardening principles)
      • Each block holds a work party to prepare their garden beds
      • We gather donated perennial plants from area gardeners and nurseries
      • We distribute plants and teach participants how to plant and maintain them
      • Our volunteers visit periodically throughout the growing season to mentor on garden maintenance

        If you are interested in participating in Blocks in Bloom, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County HERENew gardens must be located within the City of Rochester, in one of the zip codes/areas designated eligible for the program.

        Interested in Donating Plants?

        Donate divisions of perennials from your garden to Blocks in Bloom!

        Plants must be:

        • Potted in plastic pots using commercial potting mix (we can provide you with both as needed)
        • From a garden not infested with Asian Jumping Worms
        • Bug/disease-free
        • Labeled with the name of the plant using a Sharpie or other permanent marker

        Steps to Donating Plants:

        • Call, text, or e-mail Master Gardener, Jane Ryan 585-683-6518, to discuss what plants you will donate
        • We will take your information and e-mail you once we announce our 2022 drop-off dates
        • Dig, pot & label your plants with common plant names (Popsicle sticks or pieces of old blinds work)
        • We can provide plastic pots and potting mix as needed
        • Drop off plants to the CCE-Monroe office during our donation period

        Click here for the Blocks in Blooms List of Plants Sought document (PDF).

        Last updated August 22, 2021