Photo Flora Contest

Photo Flora - 2019-03 (CLOSED)
"Garden Magic"

137 entries
41 stories shortlisted

Congratulations to all you writers who made the short list!  Public Voting has now begun.  Our judge Dr. Regina Higgins is also reading all the stories to pick the Grand Prize Winner.  Good luck to everyone!


Garden Magic - Celebrating our First Year!

Artists create magic.  Someone else may have walked past this garden and seen bare trees, a big red flowering bush, bits of pale greenery, shadowy colors, an empty chair and a pale blue sky.  Our photographer turned a simple garden scene into a magical place, where nurturing spirits meet and where wishes come true.
All of you writers have done the same thing all year long.  You’ve taken the concept of a single flower, a few lines of a haiku, or a flowery photograph and created hundreds of wonderful stories – varied and multi-layered and brilliant!
Let’s do it again!  Help us celebrate the first year of writing contests by creating magic with an original story – or two, or three – based on Amanda Flavell’s photo!  Let your imagination run wild.  Study the colors, the energy, the details  – 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! One of our esteemed judges, Dr. Regina Higgins, will be adding her voice to this contest.
  • Public Voting will determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners
  • Judge Regina Higgins will select the Grand Prize Winner.

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

Good luck to everyone, and thanks for a fabulous first year.


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, December 18, 2019  5 pm ET.  Please read the guidelines below before entering.

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 December 18, 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.


  • Grand Prize – $50.00 plus free life-time subscription to, permanent winners page, and permanent publication of the story on the site
  • First prize (Public Voting) – $50.00 plus free life-time subscription to, 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 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 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
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