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Mayor's Garden Contest

The annual event is a citywide celebration of urban gardening.

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

Have questions? Contact us:

2020 winners

Watch: 2020 awards ceremony

About the contest

The Garden Contest is part of Mayor Kim Janey's citywide beautification initiative.

Contest timeline (2021 TBD)
  • Entry deadline: Friday, July 10, 2020 (applications close at 11:59 p.m.) 
  • Finalist notification: Friday, July 17, 2020
  • Judges visit gardens: Week of July 20, 2020
  • Awards ceremony: Mid-August

First place winners in the garden categories will receive the "Golden Trowel" award from Mayor Kim Janey.

Garden Contest Hall of Fame

Mayor Kim Janey 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.

Health and safety

The safety of gardeners and contest judges is the top priority of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.

Gardeners should follow all advisories from the Boston Public Health Commission and the City of Boston. Visit the City's coronavirus website for the latest information and guidance.

Depending on public health guidelines in place during the month of July, judging may happen in person, if it's possible to do so while following social distancing guidelines. We may also hold a video conference, or do a combination of both.

If public health guidelines allow in-person judging, entrants should be prepared for an individual visit from a judge. They will view the garden wearing a face covering and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet.