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Mayor's Garden Contest

The annual event is a citywide celebration of urban gardening.

2020 entry deadline: Friday, 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: Friday, July 10 (applications close at 11:59 p.m.) 
  • Finalist notification: Friday, July 17
  • Judges visit gardens: Week of July 20
  • Virtual awards ceremony: Mid-August
Prizes

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

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

Eligibility

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.

Categories
  • 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.