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Garden design contest

University of Georgia

If you enjoy designing gardens, would you like to see how you measure up against other Master Gardeners and gardening club members in Georgia? If you're innovative, creative, inspired or just scrappy enough to dive into a contest, here's your opportunity.

The Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture is offering a garden design contest in cooperation with the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. UGA researchers have been selecting and developing new ornamental plants for years. Collectively, these plants are called the Georgia Gems, and they've definitely earned the title. You may have seen some of these. Others may not be familiar. All are beautiful and perform well.

So here's the challenge: Design a garden using the Georgia Gems. The garden design winners will receive all the Georgia Gems used in their garden design, as well as the satisfaction of knowing they're among the best garden designers in the state.

The contest rules and Georgia Gems details can be found online at www.ugagardens.com. Contest winners will be announced at the statewide Master Gardener meeting in Savannah Jan. 13. All garden designs must be submitted by Dec. 1.

The judges will determine first-, second- and third-place winners, basing their decisions on both aesthetics and the use of sound horticultural practices. They're a talented group:

* Nicole Martini is a UGA Cooperative Extension horticultural agent in DeKalb County. She has a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture, a master's in horticulture and a discriminating eye.

* Tony Johnson is an award-winning garden designer and the horticulturist at the UGA Research and Education Garden in Griffin. That garden is a true reflection of his talent.

* Television, radio and Web personality Joe Lamp'l rounds out the judging staff. You've probably seen Joe on DIY Network ("Fresh from the Garden") or on PBS ("Garden SMART") or have read his nationwide, weekly, syndicated newspaper column ("The Gardener Within").

(Ellen Bauske is the program coordinator for the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture.)

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