Enter Your Garden

Following a wildly successful inaugural year in 2017, The Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards (CEGA) return this season with the goal of adding urban agriculture to the categories of honored gardens. The awards provide recognition to the hard work and creativity that make our city a healthier, more beautiful place. They support the pride we take in our neighborhoods and help us build our communities.

This year, we are eager to reach out to even more gardeners in the City of Chicago. Last September, at an inspiring ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center, we were pleased to be able to present awards to nearly 50 gardens, representing 26 different Chicago wards. Our goal this year is to reach out to all 50 wards.

Categories include ornamental, vegetable, container and specialized gardens for small and large residential buildings, schools and organizations, as well as separate categories for community gardens and–new this year– urban farms. The contest is open to residents of the City of Chicago.

Should You Enter?

Yes! If you are proud of the garden that you, you and your fellow building tenants, you and your students, or you and your neighbors have created, you should consider filling out this application. It’s free and you’ll enjoy sharing your garden’s story with our judges.

How Do You Enter?

Here are the basics. There will be more specific instructions on the entry form. The first round of judging is based on this form and the photographs you submit. If your garden advances to the second round, judges will visit your garden in person. Among their criteria, they will be looking for a garden that is well-planned, well-maintained, artistic, creative, and connected to the community. But they will especially be looking for signs that the garden is environmentally sound–that it treats the earth gently, features native plants wherever possible and caters to birds and wildlife.

Entry Instructions

1. Submit only ONE entry per garden.
2. Online entries must be submitted by July 7, 2018. Mailed entry forms must be
postmarked by July 2, 2018. Judging will begin in July 2018.

Click on this link to a 2018 CEGA entry form pdf, print it, fill it out and mail it to:
Attn: CEGA
Natural Awakenings Chicago
PO Box 72
Highland Park, IL 60335
4.  Include TWO photographs of your garden either by uploading digital photos on the online entry form  (preferred) or by including it in your regular mail entry. These can be photos of your garden from last year. (Printed photos should be clearly reproduced and sized between 4” x 6” and 8” x 10.” Note: images will not be returned. Please send no bound presentations, staples, paperclips or tape.)