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City dwellers soon will be getting down and dirty for "Buffalo in Bloom," the first gardening competition organized by the Buffalo Green Fund and the City of Buffalo.

The idea will be to improve the city's image and instill civic pride by promoting the planting of flowers, trees and shrubs.

Modeled after programs in London and Philadelphia, the budding contest will include four categories: retail and commercial, residential, public spaces and community gardens.

A prize will be awarded for the best residential front garden in each councilmanic district. The public spaces, including circles, squares, monuments and green spaces, will be designated by the Parks Department.

Applications will be distributed by corporate sponsors, the Parks Department and block clubs. The entry deadline is June 30. Judging will take place between July 22 and Aug. 6, with cash prizes to be awarded in late summer.

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