Great Gardening Contest

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first annual contest in 2020, and congratulations to our winners (below)! We can't wait to see your submissions in 2021. More details coming soon...

GGC 2020 winners

2020 Great Gardening Contest

Calling all green thumbs! Do you love growing your own plants? Do you call MN, WI, IA, ND or SD home? Yes to both? Then join this year's online gardening contest! All ages, backgrounds and skill levels welcome (non-professional gardeners only, please). It's easy to enter, and the winner of each category will be featured in Northern Gardener magazine, our award-winning publication.

All entries must be submitted and tagged online by September 25, 2020.

How to get started:


  1.  Click here to register
  2.  Pick a category below
  3.  Snap 1-3 photos of your plants or garden space
  4.  Post on Facebook or Instagram with hashtag #GreatGardeningContest2020 in the caption. Don't forget to include #mnhort, as usual!

Contest Categories

surly garden


Post a photo of your outdoor garden space, not just one plant. Choose a category:

  • edibles
  • shade/woodland/glade
  • pollinator
  • sun garden


Post a photo of a single houseplant or a grouping of your favorites. Choose a category:

  • cacti
  • succulents
  • blooming plants
  • non-blooming foliage plants
container garden


Post a photo of your container and plants as a whole. Choose a category:

  • sun
  • shade
  • mixed in one pot
  • collection/vignette

2020 Contest Rules

  • One post/submission per category, per person
  • Each post can include up to three photos
  • Must complete registration form
  • Post photo(s) on Facebook or Instagram by September 25, 2020. Make sure your account is public so we can see your submission.
  • Must include hashtags #GreatGardeningContest2020 and #mnhort
  • All photos must be of your own houseplant or garden space
  • All photos must be from 2020
  • Non-professional gardeners only, please

2020 Photo Guidelines

  • Photos may be edited for size, clarity and brightness but cannot be otherwise enhanced
  • Include at least one photo of large garden areas and also closer shots of flower and vegetable beds (does not apply to houseplant entries)
  • Be sure to capture sustainability practices and creative design elements in addition to plants
  • Learn about taking great garden photos here
  • MSHS may use submitted photos for future educational and promotional materials

2020 Judging Criteria

All submissions will be judged on a 100-point scale with the following criteria worth 25 points each.


  • Color (25)
  • Form (25)
  • Condition (25)
  • Substance & texture (25)

Outdoor Gardens

  • Aesthetic quality of design (25)
  • Health and condition (25)
  • Community benefits—community connector, supports beneficial insects and wildlife, food producer (25)
  • Variety and diversity (25)