This year with the new entry format it was tougher than ever to choose the semi-finalists. But we’re (finally) ready with the top contenders for both the Monarch Awards and the Caterpillar category. This year’s entries were very high on enthusiasm and the photos submitted were overall well suited to the kind of information the reviewers were looking for. It was great to see a lot of established gardens becoming more ecologically conscious. About half of the entries were first-timers and it was nice to see the returnees come back with changes and improvements to their already terrific gardens. The best entries included plant lists and provided details for each of the criteria areas: soil, plants, water, cultural practices, hardscape/materials, and aesthetics.
The review committee chose nine Monarch Award contenders to forward to the judges. These “Bee Line Nine” are the ones who best met the Monarch Award criteria. In the Caterpillar category, the committee chose seven to move forward. New gardens can be a huge effort for beginners and it was inspiring to see the gardeners “growing where they’re planted”– in deep shade with tree root competition, on rooftops, in tiny front yards and hellstrips.
Congratulations to all the semi-finalists and a big thank-you to all the entrants
The next step is for our judges to decide which gardens they will visit. How many they will visit is up to them–it could be as few as three in each category but will likely not exceed six. It’s a lot to ask of volunteers and we want them to use their expertise wisely and freely. So stay tuned. If your garden is chosen for a visit you’ll be getting an email over the next week or so.
Thank you to all the skilled, diligent and sometimes brave gardeners who have created these oases of diversity and habitat in the city.
And here, in no particular order, are some photos selected from all the entries. Just a little eye-candy and inspiration for all who continue to learn, create, and commit themselves to a larger vision of what a garden is–and can be.