Elizabeth Slater’s garden in Ventnor
was recognized in the PHS’s annual gardening contest.


PHILADELPHIA – Ventnor resident Elizabeth Slater was among the gardeners recognized as Proud Participants in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s 2020 Gardening Contest.

Elizabeth Slater’s garden in Ventnor
was recognized in the PHS’s annual gardening contest.

The annual gardening competition typically attracts hundreds of entries from amateur gardeners around the Philadelphia region who submit their gardens in a competition celebrating the region’s collective gardening efforts. This year, entries to the contest increased by more than 25% compared to 2019, reflecting a spike in gardening interest and appreciation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following Atlantic County residents also received recognition as Proud Participants for their flower and vegetable gardens: Romona Amelani of Mays Landing, Nancy Feidler of Egg Harbor City, and Sara Chung Johnson of Egg Harbor Township. Sue Robinson of Mays Landing was honored for her Garden of Distinction.

For the first time in its 45-year history, the PHS 2020 Gardening Contest was conducted fully online, with contestants sharing photos of their outdoor gardens, houseplant collections or public space gardens, and answering detailed questions about their entries. With more than 500 completed entries received in 2020, 122 were recognized with a Blue Ribbon Award; 160 entries were deemed Gardens of Distinction; and 259 were awarded a Proud Participant. 

“As always, PHS staff and our contest judges enjoyed viewing the beauty of each garden submission but during this challenging summer, we were particularly impressed by the creativity and resourcefulness showcased,” PHS Program Manager Sam Robertson said. “With many of us spending more time at home, we were delighted to see how gardeners recruited family members to support their garden work. All of us at PHS congratulate the hundreds of participants who took the time to bring beauty to their communities and to the larger gardening audience in the area.”

Sue Robinson of Mays Landing has a Garden of Distinction.

PHS members and staff served as judges, carefully scoring gardens and sharing constructive feedback and suggestions with each contestant to consider for next year’s garden.

Nancy Feidler’s garden in Egg Harbor City.

Participants were judged on the following criteria:

  • Aesthetic appeal including beauty, creativity and effective design
  • Plant health and production
  • Sustainability practices
  • Habitat for beneficial wildlife (outdoor gardens)
  • Social connections to family/neighborhood/community

Entry categories included Outdoor Home Gardens, Public Space Gardens and the inaugural category of Indoor Houseplants, allowing many gardeners without an outdoor space to participate in this year’s competition.

Sara Chung Johnson’s garden in Egg Harbor Township.

Complete results from this year’s competition are available on PHS’s website, and select gardens will be spotlighted on the PHS Home Gardening Facebook Group.

Romona Amelani’s garden in Mays Landing.

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Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.