Fleur Contest

FLEUR - 2020-04 (CLOSED)
"Apple Tree"

42 entries
28 shortlisted

Countdown to entry deadline


Our writing contests have become so popular that our volunteer staff needs more help to tend our online literary garden.  With your support, we can sustain our family-friendly floral writing site. We have recently begun asking for a subscription to enter a contest.  If you are a previous 1st place or prompt winner, this does not apply, and you are good to go. If you’re new to the site be sure and read our Mission page to see all the wonderful benefits you can enjoy.  Thanks for your continuing support!

the apple tree
deposits blossoms
like secret letters

Apple Tree

For most of us, the world around us has changed drastically in the past few weeks.  We’re out of school, working from home, practicing social distancing, washing our hands many times each day, and trying to reorder our lives.  It seems fitting that we have the Apple Tree as our inspiration this month.

The Apple Tree reminds us of strength, resilience and the ability to live through hard times and still bear fruit.  As you learn to adjust to a new normal, think of the apple tree and all the lessons it can teach us. We look forward to the insight, talent, and unique viewpoints from all you wonderful writers, as we help each other through these unprecedented times.

Our prompt creator this month is Paula Song Sarmonpal from London, England.  She has introduced us to a new miniature poetic form called “cherita”.   Thank you, Paula!

We invite you to enter an original story – or two, or three – inspired by the picture and by Paula’s prompt.  You might want your story to incorporate elements of the world we’re all experiencing now, or you may want to write a wonderful escape story.  Any approach is welcome!  You may click on the picture to enlarge it. 

Two Ways to Win!

Some of you love public voting, and others enjoy getting feedback from a highly qualified judge. We now have something for everyone!

We’re happy to have one of our favorite judges return this month.  Regina Higgins will select the Grand Prize Winner and list of Finalists for this contest.  Regina has judged many of our contests, and the writers always appreciate her wonderful comments.  Thank you, Regina, as always!

  • Public Voting will determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners
  • ZenGarden.club Judge will select the Grand Prize Winner and list of Finalists.

Remember that all stories selected for the shortlist will also be eligible to be included in our upcoming ZenGarden.club Kindle books.

Good luck to everyone!

Fleur Flash Fiction

We invite  you to create a short short story – 350 words or less – inspired by the featured picture and haiku.  What characters, background, stories and plots do you imagine? 

Study the current picture and haiku, then write your story.

Deadline: Wednesday, April 22, 2020  5 pm ET.  Please read the guidelines below before entering.

Guidelines for entering:

  • You must be a Subscriber to enter –   Subscribe now
  • Write a short story about the current picture in 350 words or less. 
  • Write your story, then fill out the entry form in the link below.
  • You may enter as many times as you like with different stories, but each entry requires a separate entry form.
  • Multiple entries of the same story will be disqualified. Please do all your editing and make all your changes before you send it in!
  • Accepting entries until Wednesday April 22, 2020 5 pm ET
  • Check this page for contest updates.

Helpful Hints:

  • Title does not count toward total word count
  • Hyphenated words count as one word
  • Give your story a unique title that no one else is likely to use.


  • Grand Prize – $100.00 plus permanent winners page, and permanent publication of the story on the site
  • First prize (Public Voting) – $25.00 plus permanent winners page, and permanent publication of the story on the site
  • Second prize (Public Voting) – permanent winners page, permanent publication of the story on the site
  • Third prize (Public Voting) – permanent winners page, permanent publication of the story on the site
  • All shortlisted stories are eligible for inclusion in the ZenGarden.club Kindle books.

Contest Rounds and Public Voting:

  1. Round 1 – Pending (ZenGarden Staff)
         Pending items will either be disqualified or qualified.
         Entries will be disqualified if they:
    • Contain more than 350 words
    • Contain excessive spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors
    • Are not family-friendly
    • Do not contain any reference to flowers or gardens
    • Are repeat entries or corrections of stories already entered
  2. Round 2  – Qualified (ZenGarden Judges)
    • ZenGarden judges will review all the qualified stories and select a short list.
    • Only shortlisted stories will be eligible for our ZenGarden.club Kindle books.
    • Only shortlisted stories will be available for public reading and voting.
  3. Round 3 – Short List  (Public) published after entry deadline
    • All shortlisted items are published “blind” – Title, age group and story only.
    • The voting period will have a posted begin and end date.
    • Public votes by clicking the “like” button within the voting period.
    • Public can “like” as many stories as they wish.
    • The highest number of likes will determine the first, second and third place winners.
    • Our judge will select the Grand Prize Winner and the list of Finalists from the short list.
Double-check your story against the following check list, and make all corrections BEFORE you send!  Multiple entries of the same story will be disqualified.
  • Correct length (350 words or less)
  • Correct spelling and grammar
  • Family-friendly content
  • Includes at least one reference to gardens or flowers
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