Photo Flora Contest

Photo Flora - 2019-02 (CLOSED)

107 entries
29 stories shortlisted

Congratulations to our three winners and all the writers who made the shortlist!   The selected stories are now ready for your reading.  Enjoy!

Countdown to entry deadline


Scary - Just in time for Halloween

It’s that time of year!  In many parts of the world, Halloween is celebrated by young and old alike.  “Scary” can be spooky, or funny, or whimsical, or nostalgic, or mysterious – you can decide how you want to depict this age-old holiday.

In case you wonder where the “flower” is in this picture, remember that the pumpkin itself started as a flower in a garden or a pumpkin patch.  The more you can work some reference to a garden into your story, the better chance you will have to make the shortlist.  

Let your imagination run wild.  If you want a closer look, you can click on the picture to enlarge it. 

Winners will be decided by public voting, rather than by a judge.  The most recent contest was a great success, and people seemed to enjoy the public voting, so we’re offering it once again.  Remember that all stories selected for the shortlist will also be eligible to be included in our upcoming Kindle books.

Good luck to everyone! 

Photo Flora Flash Fiction

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

Study the current picture, especially any references to gardens within the picture, then write your story.

Deadline: Wednesday, November 6, 2019  5 pm ET.  Please read the guidelines below before entering.

Let our great writers inspire you!  Each previous contest has links to the winning stories for that contest:

Photo Flora 2019-01 – Blue-White Stairs

Nutshell Narratives 2019-04
Nutshell Narratives 2019-03

Nutshell Narratives 2019-02

Nutshell Narratives 2019-01

Guidelines for entering:

  • Write a short story about the current picture in 350 words or less. 
  • You must be a Member to enter – Membership is free and easy!  Free Registration
  • 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 November 6, 2019 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.


  • First prize – $50.00 plus free life-time subscription to, permanent winners page, and permanent publication of the story on the site
  • Second prize – permanent winners page, permanent publication of the story on the site
  • Third prize – permanent winners page, permanent publication of the story on the site
  • All shortlisted stories are eligible for inclusion in the Kindle Anthologies

Contest Rounds and 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 Staff)
    • ZenGarden staff will review all the qualified stories and select a short list.
    • Only shortlisted stories will be eligible for our Kindle ZenGarden anthology.
    • 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.
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 – remember that pumpkins grow in gardens!
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