Oops, I did it again . . .
One of the highlights of last year was winning first place in the digital color photo competition at the NJ Flower & Garden Show. Buoyed by that success, I kept an eye on the Garden Club of NJ website for information about this year’s competition. My heart sunk when the theme, “Welcome to My Garden”, was announced. It suggested to me a gate or an arch or a path into a garden. I couldn’t think of a single photo that I had taken that would fit.
My own garden has a gate, but it’s part of an ugly chainlink fence. I don’t think that I’ve ever photographed it. Rutgers Gardens has a lovely gate in the fence around the veggie plots, but I’ve never been able to figure out a way to attractively photograph it. I wasn’t satisfied with any of the photos of my favorite bridge at Rutgers Gardens either.
I was in despair until a friend suggested that Longwood Gardens most likely had the structures I was looking for. I went through the hundreds of photos I have taken there and came up with this:
Granted, the photo is about the pitcher plant, but in the background there is a path leading to an archway through a hedge. You can just see the garden on the other side. What I’ve always loved about this photo are the lush greens and the serenity of the scene. It kinda sorta fit the theme. Good enough. One can’t expect to win every year.
For my black and white submission, I wanted something that looked like old photographs of cottage gardens. My favorite cottage garden is at NYBG. It even has a gazebo.
After grayscaling, it looks like this:
Yesterday was Registration Day for all the competitions. Like last year, the weather was terrible. I think there is a law that the day everyone has to carry their labors of love across a parking lot while dodging box trucks, vans, forklifts and pedestrians whose vision is obscured by umbrellas, the weather has to be abominable. Last year it was a blizzard. This year it was flooding rains.
There were other photographers registering at the same time as I. Being nosy, I asked to see their photos. Wow! There were some great ones that really put mine to shame. The most that anyone else was able to say about my efforts was a polite “nice”. It was going to be interesting to see how the judges ranked the entries. I couldn’t make up my mind which one was “best”.
Judging took place this morning before the show opened at 1 PM. I was at the Rutgers Gardens exhibit at noon to begin my shift. Okay, I’ll admit it. I kept running over to see if the judging had finished. This is still new and exciting for me. The show opened with a ribbon cutting and lots of speeches, then the crowds from the buses poured in. As soon as I decently could, I broke away from my greeting duties of handing out seed packets and information about classes at Rutgers Gardens and headed over to the photo competition.
Just like last year, the first photos I spotted were the black and white. Third Place, an improvement over the Honorable Mention I had earned last year. I moved on to the color photos. And there was the familiar First Place blue ribbon hanging on my photo.