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Mayor's Garden Contest

The annual event is a citywide celebration of urban gardening.

2019 entry deadline: Wednesday, July 10

We recognize gardeners who have landscaped, planted flowers, trees, and shrubs, helping beautify Boston's neighborhoods.

Garden Contest online application

Have questions? Contact us:

Can't apply online?

Print out and complete our Garden Contest application, and mail it to:

Mayor Walsh’s Garden Contest
Parks and Recreation Department
1010 Mass. Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02118

About the contest

The Garden Contest was launched as part of Mayor Walsh's citywide beautification initiative.

Contest timeline
  • Entry deadline: Wednesday, July 10 (applications close at 11:59 p.m.) 
  • Finalist notification: Thursday, July 18
  • Judges visit gardens: Week of July 22
  • Awards ceremony: Mid-August
First place winners in the garden categories will receive:
  • the "Golden Trowel" award from Mayor Walsh, and
  • prize packages from the Parks Department and other sponsors at an awards ceremony in August in the Public Garden.
Garden Contest Hall of Fame

Mayor Walsh will recognize Garden Contest Hall of Fame inductees at the awards ceremony. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, a gardener must have won three or more times.

Eligibility and categories


The contest is only for Boston residents who are amateur gardeners. But, businesses and other groups can submit an entry in our “Storefront, Organization, or Main Street District Garden” category.

General information

Any photos or images you submit to us become City of Boston property. We may use these images for press or marketing purposes.

Please keep in mind: you can only enter into one category each year.

  • Porch, Balcony, or Container Garden
  • Shade Garden
  • Small Yard Garden (250 square feet or less)
  • Medium Yard Garden (250 to 500 square feet)
  • Large Yard Garden (larger than 500 square feet)
  • Community Garden (individual plot)
  • Vegetable or Herb Garden
  • Senior Garden Category (65 and older)
  • Storefront, Organization, or Main Street District Garden
Judging criteria

When judging a garden, we’re paying attention to:

  • general appeal and neatness
  • natural or formal layout
  • use of color
  • plant material
  • variety and quality of plants, and
  • sustainable features and methods used to create the garden.