Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Writing Contest Announcement!

The toughest time of year for any Canadian garden blogger has got to be the month of January. Winter is just truly getting started and spring feel as if it is lightyears into the future.

This winter, I have decided to seek inspiration in the words and ideas of others.

I am hosting a writing contest!

Blogging has many rewards, but few of them are monitory. In the case of this writing contest however, there is not only the honour of  touching others through your thoughts and ideas, there are three top prizes that could be won as well.

To enter here is what you need to do:

1. Write a blog post that is approximately 500 words long (see themes below). Absolute maximum permitted length is 800 words. Any submission longer than 800 words will be disqualified (and yes, the judges will be checking).

2. The post format is open and does not need to be set up in traditional paragraphs. Your blog post can take the form of a list, a poem or even letter. Creativity counts!

3. All submissions must be original and written by you.

4. You do not need to be a blogger to enter. This contest is open to everyone. Here is your chance to speak to an audience without all the work that a blog initials.

5. Creativity, wit and humour are welcome and encouraged. Unlike the Academy Awards, were comedy never wins the prize, funny will be highly regarded in this contest!

6. Though this is a gardening blog, your entry need not mention gardening at all. 
On the other hand, you are more than welcome to write around the theme of gardening (see more detailed writing theme notes below). 

The Writing Themes:

The winning essays will be published in January. I am leaving the writing topic somewhat open. Bottom line: the judges are looking for an inspirational and philosophical approach to the new year and life in general.  Make us laugh! Make us cry! Touch us in some way that inspires us going forward into the new year!
Here are a few possible ideas:

1.Wisdom that you would like to pass on to a younger/man woman. This post could also take the form of a letter to your younger self or perhaps a note addressed to one of your children. Here are a few quotes to get you thinking:
"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun." Katherine Hepburn
"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." Diane Ackerman

2. Your resolutions for the new year. These would be forward thinking goals that might inspire us all. Again, the post could be as simple as a list and does not need to be dead serious. Feel free to have some fun!
"No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed." Erma Bombeck

3. Tell us about someone who inspires you, because that person is bound to teach us all. This could be your Mom, your third grade teacher or someone we all should know better.

4. Tell us about a big mistake or perhaps a life crisis and what you did to come back from the brink of disaster. Again, this need not be terribly serious. It could be the time you picked the worst parking spot ever! Most important is what you took away from the problem.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to one's enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends." J. K. Rowling

5. Tell us about a moment of triumph and how you/or your subject overcame adversity. Though I said you can step away from the subject of gardening, it is also fine to tell us about your final success with a plant that seemed impossible to grow. Just remember, it is all about the bigger lesson learned.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.' Anais Nin
"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off." Gloria Steinem

The Rules:

1. Again, all submissions must be original and written by you.

2. Contest opens as of this post and closes on November 17th. 

3. All entries must be submitted by email and must be embedded within the body of your email. No attachments please. Emails with attachments will be disqualified. My email address is

The Prizes:

There will be three prizes awarded for the top three blog posts, as selected by the panel of judges. The winners may choose the color and style of bracelet they would like from my inventory of handmade braclets. Approximate retail value is: $85 CAN.
Not a braclet-wearing-sort-of-guy? Well, all I can say is that there is probably a woman in your life who will be very glad that you are such a gifted writer!
Winners will receive their bracelets by registered post in December. Unfortunately, I cannot take responsibility for any custom charges or taxes.

The winning blog posts will be published in early January. Each published post will begin with a brief biography of the winner, and if applicable, will include a link to their website or blog. The link will be repeated at the bottom of each winning post.

Possible Questions:

Can I use my own images along with my writing?
Sure! Just keep in mind that this is contest is all about the words, not the pictures.

Can I use an older piece of my own writing? Example: a post that I published previously?
I thought about the answer to this question for quite awhile! The short answer is yes, but with a bit of qualification. You can submit an older piece of writing. I know very few people read many of my early blog posts. I am sure you might have experienced something similar. Why not re-introduce that older post to a larger audience? Just please, don't send me your most popular post ever- the one that half the world has read already!

English is my second language. I feel like I am starting from a position of disadvantage.
I have instructed the judges to be forgiving of some simple grammatical and spelling errors. What counts most, is what you have to say.

Still have an unanswered question? Please email me at

My immediate family and I will be creating a short list of the top ten entries. After that, it is up to the panel of judges. 

The judges are all accomplished and talented women who know and appreciate creativity. Meet the five wonderful women who will be selecting the three winning entries: 

Nancy Guppy: Though Canadian, Nancy has lived most of her adult life in Paris, London and Ireland.  Nancy has Bachelors degrees in both English and Science. While living in London, she was the Press Officer for the Royal Society of Chemistry. Most recently, Nancy has been teaching school in Ireland and England. Nancy currently resides with her husband and three beautiful children in Ireland.

Olya Matiou: Born in Russian and based in Toronto, artist Olya Matiou has a Fine Arts degree, as well as diplomas in Graphic Design and Computer Animation. Olya has worked as a designer in the wallcovering, textile and publishing industries. She also exhibits her paintings in a variety of galleries and shows. Visit Olya's website and see her artwork here: Olya Matiou

Sally MacIntyre-LeBlanc resides on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. She is an active member of the cultural community and is President of the Cape Breton Artists Association. Sally is the publisher of three books and currently is working on another.

Ruth Lillian Singer: Ruth is a visual and media arts teacher who loves nurturing creative growth in her students. Her own art practice is driven by an obsession with process, textures, layered colour and abstraction. Ruth adores flowers, winter, Lake Superior, her lefty-brain-librarian soul-mate and their dog Buddy. Visit Ruth's online blog and gallery here: Lillian Snow Gallery

Ruth Steinfatt: Representing the west coast of Canada is artist Ruth Steinfatt. Ruth works primarily in transparent watercolors, but more recently she has branched out into mixed media and acrylics. Ruth resides in Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island. Visit her blog here: Ruth Steinfatt.

Eleonora Gattesco Roberts is an artist, gardener and interior designer. Eleonora is a high honours graduate from the interior decorating program at Sheridan College and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto's Art and Art History program. Visit her website here: Gattesco House.


  1. Can bloggin' cats enter? There are lots of us, you know. purrs

  2. What a fantastic idea, Jennifer! I know I'll look forward to reading the winning posts and visiting the pages of your fascinating judging panel.

  3. Wow! You have really thought of this. It'll be nice to read winners' texts.

  4. Jennifer this is fantastic! What a wonderful way to spread creativity! Thank you for putting this out there in the cold winter months and for your blog for pushing us to be creative in and out of the garden! The bracelets are beautiful!

  5. Will have to give some thought to your challenge...see if anything bubbles to the top. Beautiful bracelets.

  6. You are correct that us guys will have plenty of women to bestow such beautiful bracelet upon. (Yes, I'm talking about besides out moms.) Inspired notion, my dear.

  7. Oh, how fun! I'll have to put my thinking cap on. I hope you get a lot of entries, and I look forward to reading the winning posts. You have chosen some beautiful prizes!

  8. Hmmmm....Thinking, thinking, thinking!

  9. That's a fantastic idea! By the way, i also do bracelets and necklaces using semi precious stones. I only do it whenever i have someone to give them to! Making them is meditative and helps clear the mind.

  10. Beautiful photographs, fantasy works of art. I am greeting

  11. This is a great idea, Jennifer, and I look forward to reading the winning entries in January. Your judging panel is quite impressive. Your bracelets are beautiful!

  12. Jennifer Quite the challenge Have to put my thinking cap on.

  13. beautiful bracelets Jennifer. What an interesting and fun idea to set this up, I look forward to reading the winning entries too. I just looked at your last GBBD post - how different gardening in Canada is! - and your vases of flowers are so-o-o-o lovely, and the rest of the photos. Couldn't you continue GBBD but just substitue ice crystals or something else for blooms?

    1. Catmint, I will continue to post into the winter season, I am just not sure about GBBD for the remaining months of this year. Bloggers do often show indoor blooms for GBBD, so I can post pictures of forced daffodils and tulips starting in January.

  14. What a fabulous idea, Jennifer! You have already put so much thought and effort into it! This will help January to fly by!

  15. Fantastic idea Jennifer and wow, I love the sparkly eye candy bracelets. Will need to think about this one.

  16. A very nice idea Jennifer, especially for the cold month of January. Very pretty prizes too. It will be fun reading the winner's posts to see why the judges made the selections.

  17. Hi Jennifer, great idea, I do love those bracelets. I will look forward to reading the winning entries. Happy Gardening.

  18. What a great idea Jennifer! Those lovely bracelets would be true inspiration for anyone. As they say in Pinterest: Want Want Want :)

  19. Wow ... you have really come up with an amazing panel of judges let alone the actual context of this challenge!
    I love your bracelets ! They are absolutely gorgeous !
    Joy : )

  20. Jennifer - so glad you joined GWA - events to watch for and block off in your calendar - the meeting at Canada Blooms & the GWA conference in Quebec City in August - be sure you bring your wheelbarrow and an empty car - there will be plant and garden swag!


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