Picture This Photo Contest for May 2009

– Posted in: Garden Photography

photo-2-steve-silk-containerFor this month’s Picture This Photo Contest,  the subject is containers. And Steve Silk, the master of creating magnificent containers, is our judge.

These are Steve’s comments on how he’ll be judging photos:

“I’ll be looking for a picture that is well-composed and well-lit with a clean background, of course, but also one that has many of the same features you’d find in a good container planting.”

photo-1-steve-silk-container“That means, first and foremost, a rich mix of textures and shapes. A winning image will also display a canny use of proportion and color. It doesn’t matter to me if I can actually see the pot. I’m more interested in the interplay of plants, as in, for example, the picture of the tropical smoke bush and its associates. That said, participants can depict a collection of plants in pots, like the extravangaza pictured, or even one plant in a single pot, as long as it’s a dramatic image in which the pot and plant  really complement their setting. To me, simplicity is a virtue in photography. And I find that crisp, direct images are often best.”

hummingbird_bee_balm1-resizedNow for the prize!! We’re thrilled that Yellow Springs Farm, a nursery that specializes in native plants, is participating in GGW’s Picture This Photo Contest. Catherine Renzi, the owner of Yellow Springs Farm and a Guest Contributor on GGW, is offering the Hummingbird Collection of Plants.  It includes fiveplants selected from the following, depending on the time of year: Bee Balm, Blue Lobelia, Red Lobelia, Coral Bells, Columbine and Indian Pink. Catherine has also added a Lonicera sempervirens vine to the collection to make a total of six vibrant native plants.

Coming off of last month’s contest where the subject was native plants, Yellow Springs Farm’s participation in May’s contest couldn’t be coming at a better time.

If you would like to enter the contest, here’s how you do it.  Choose one photo as an entry, post it on your blog or website, then leave us a link in a comment below. (Although we allowed more than one photo last month, we are now limiting it to one.) Also, all entries must be sent in as a link; we can’t include any entries that come to us via an e-mail address. And finally, no late entries. The cut off date this month is midnight Eastern Time on May 22nd. For all of you who participated last month, we look forward to having you join us again. And for all newcomers, welcome to this invigorating and inspirational photo contest! For more information, check out April’s Picture This Photo Contest on Native Plants.

Good luck to all!

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at www.fransorin.com.

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Fran Sorin
14 comments… add one

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Hollie Niblett May 5, 2009, 2:01 pm

Awesome photos!! Thank you for posting them. It is raining here and those really brightened my day!!

Thanks Hollie. Glad they took the edge off the rain.–Steve

Kerry Michaels May 5, 2009, 6:11 pm

These are not conventional container gardens, but they thrive and can grow anywhere.

Hens and chicks on the half shell.


Wow Kerry-You’re a speedy one. That is an interesting idea; I’m always on the lookout for interesting containers but never thought of seashells! –Steve

Craig @ Ellis Hollow May 6, 2009, 8:00 pm

For those of us in the North, August 22 would make a better deadline. I’m lucky to have my containers planted by May 22. And if I do, chances are good I’ll have to pull them in at least a couple times to keep the tender plants from being nipped by frost.

healingmagichands May 10, 2009, 7:55 pm

Your containers are complete gardens in themselves! Very spectacular. I really love the use of coleus, it is probably one of my favorite plants — so many colors and shapes to choose from. I’m sort of with Craig here, I guess I’ll have to look through my last year’s photos for a container shot.

Your contests are invigorating; the quality of photography is quite high, as I learned from visiting the other entries in last month’s contest.

Michelle D. May 11, 2009, 5:58 pm

Just uploaded a series of photos of my garden with an emphasis on containers.

If I had to pick a photo for composition, I’d go for the first one in the blog posting.
It shows a portion of my shady garden gallery.


What a multi talented individual you are…a great garden designer and sculptor! Good choice going for the first one in your shade garden…the cordyline surrounded by succulents and aeoniums. Also like the small containers nestled at its feet. Good luck!! Fran

ESP May 14, 2009, 9:16 pm

These photography competitions are so much fun to participate in! Love it!
I hope they will continue to become regular features.
Can’t wait to see all the entries.

Here are my two pennies worth…

Love your towering succulent container..unique and architectural…great choice. If you don’t mind, name the specimens used in this container. Good luck! Fran

mlevy7 May 14, 2009, 10:49 pm

Here’s one of my containers from last July. Hopefully, this year’s pots will fill out soon. Amazing what six weeks of warmth can do for tropicals in colder zones! Matt


Your container is fabulous…how many different specimens are in it? And would you mind naming all of them for our readers? Good luck! Fran

Deb Wilson May 15, 2009, 2:07 pm

What fun. I like repurposing thrift store finds as containers, however this particular teapot originally belonged to my Dad. It anchors the point of a triangular bed holding containers of varying types, surrounded by broken pottery shards as mulch. It has taken the succulent a bit of time to get going, but I hope to have quite an impressive “spill” by the end of this summer.


fantastic and creative container! Good luck! Fran

Town Mouse May 18, 2009, 11:44 pm

Who can resist? I love planting containers, and many California Natives do so much better with the drainage they can get that way.

Here’s my post, then:

TMCM- Love your combination of Epapactis, sedum and heuchera. Good luck! Fran

Barbara E May 21, 2009, 12:57 am

Thought I sent this earlier today but I don’t see it – so here it is again (sorry if you already have it). It is a photo of wild strawberry in a blue glazed pot with 3 other pots behind it, all with native plants, though you only see a monkeyflower in the upper left corner. The strawberries were delicious. I am also enjoying the delicious photos of containers by others. Thanks!

Those wild strawberries do look delicious! Thanks for participating in the contest (I also love the photo of your dog!!)
Good luck! Fran

Matt May 21, 2009, 2:15 pm

Regarding post #7…Here’s the plant list:
– Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Heart’
– Centaurea cineraria ‘Colchester White’
– Pennisetum glaucum ‘Jester’
– Strobilanthes dyerianus
– Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’
– Coleus ‘Sedona’


Teresa May 21, 2009, 11:43 pm


Received…great photo…good luck! Fran

Heather's Garden May 22, 2009, 8:38 pm

It was very difficult to narrow it down to one photo. I have so many containers and like someone said, it would have been better to have this contest subject in August for us northeastern gardeners as this year’s containers need at least a month to fill in yet.


Heather's Garden May 23, 2009, 10:46 pm

I realize reading it back that my comment sounded rather negative, didn’t mean it that way at all. You are very nice to hold the contest and I don’t mean to complain, just note my frustration that my containers aren’t as far along as I wish they were!

You didn’t sound negative at all. We have gotten that response from others as well. When deciding on the subject for this contest, we had assumed that most of you would have photos of containers from past seasons. Our assumption was wrong! We’re learning as we go along. We’ll be selecting our monthly photo contests with a bit more discretion in the future. Your input is actually appreciated!! Fran

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