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Mayor's Garden Contest

The annual event is a citywide celebration of urban gardening.

Update: The 2021 application has closed. Congratulations to our winners!


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

Have questions? Contact us:

Mayor's Garden Contest 2021 winners

About the contest

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

Contest timeline
  • Entry deadline: Thursday, July 8, 2021 (applications close at 11:59 p.m.) 
  • Finalist notification: Thursday, July 15, 2021
  • Judges visit gardens: Week of July 19, 2021
  • Awards ceremony: Late-August
Prizes

First place winners in the garden categories will receive the "Golden Trowel" award from Mayor Kim Janey. They will also be entered to win a grand prize of two round trip tickets on JetBlue for non-stop travel from Boston, provided by JetBlue. Additional support provided by Mahoney's Garden Centers and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

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

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
  • Age Strong Garden Category (Senior 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 COVID-19 website for the latest information and guidance.

Depending on public health guidelines in place during the month of July, judging is likely to happen in person, if it's possible to do so while following social distancing guidelines. 

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

Watch: 2021 awards ceremony
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