>Five years ago, the grounds of the Vienna post office consisted of asphalt and some grass. But now, people passing by can see gardens full of color, thanks to post office employee Charlie Crow.
The Town of Vienna recently awarded Alton Miller, Vienna's postmaster, the September 2002 beautification award. The award, which recognizes businesses' attempts to beautify their grounds, is the post office's second award. The first was awarded in 1999.
Although the award mentions Miller's name, Miller says that one man is responsible for the grounds' upkeep and beauty. That man is 42-year-old maintenance custodian Charlie Crow, a 16-year veteran of the postal service.
"I think that Charlie has coordinated it excellently," Miller said. "He's had to learn about the plants, and how to plant them ... He's always planning and thinking ahead on how to plant that whole area."
Crow started planting perennials near the post office's entrance five years ago, when he and Miller decided that the grounds needed more color.
"He had the vision and willingness to let me do it," said Crow of Miller.
Since then, Crow has been in charge of the campus' landscape design. He's determined what plants to use and which flowers should go where. Recently, he discovered that he needs more hardy plants that can survive drought-like conditions.
"In the process of it, I've learned what works, what doesn't work," Crow said.
The Community Enhancement Committee honored Miller and the post office after receiving nominations in favor of the post office and visiting the post office's grounds, said committee secretary Nancy Riddel.
Crow's next plans for the post office grounds are to add more plants to fill the perennial bed and add more evergreen ground cover. His favorite plants are the purple salvias and the sedum, whose three phases display the colors of green, brown and pink.
He says he likes this aspect of his job, especially when people comment on how attractive the grounds look.
"That's the rewarding part of what I do," Crow said.