Ta Daaa! Winners of Margaret Roach’s The Backyard Parables

new england aster and cardoon

If you’re planning to grow cardoons, it’s time to start the seeds.


Please see update at end of post

We have just concluded our first contest!   (Announced on February 2nd, at the end of an interview with my friend Margaret Roach about her new book, The Backyard Parables, a very Margaret melange of memoir, garden philosophy and practical garden advice.)

One winner  was chosen by random  drawing  from the names of everyone who asked to be included. The other went to the person who was best able, in my sole judgment, to write without being cloying, predictable or religious about a happy garden experience. The Happy Story winner was chosen first, so the names of all the runners-up  could be added to the random drawing list.

And the winners are:


Random Drawing: Deborah B.

Literary merit: Annie Mesa

Choosing the random winner turned out to be very easy – I just made a list of all the names, in the order they came in, then plugged them into random.org’s list randomizer. This handy utility will re-redomize if requested, so I had the names jumbled three times: Once to be double sure the order they came in would have nothing to do with it, then again when, in the genuinely random way of things, the same name came up at # 7 on both first and second tries. Deborah was at the top of the third list.

Choosing the happy story writer was, needless to say, much harder. Many of you had great tales to tell and told them very well. I was particularly taken with Tropaeolum’s hummingbird, Sally’s story of seedpod love and Janis’ unexpected bonus in the leeks department. They and the other runners-up get undying appreciation, along with the hope you’ll keep writing in and that your contributions will inspire others to hit the keyboard  from time to time.

Update: You can tell it’s my first contest because I somehow didn’t enter all the names that should have been on the list! No fair. Also no fair to Deborah to act like whatever college it was that mistakenly sent out some acceptance letters, then told the unfortunate recipients that it was all a mixup and they weren’t really in.

So. I went back and corrected the list, shuffled the deck three times again and came up with a third winner: Rachelle.

None of this dims my enthusiasm for contests; I’m definitely on board and will be having another in just a little while.




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  • Deborah B Said,

    I’m so thrilled to be a winner of the random drawing, especially since there was such stiff competition for the happy story contest. Thanks so much for having the contest, and making it especially fun by adding the writing prize incentive.

    Happy to offer congrats, Deborah, and thanks for the encouragement about the writing prize. I’m still on the fence about whether to have another one as part of the next contest; but positive feedback will certainly weigh in the final decision. Guess we’ll have to wait and see whether any of the runner-up writers are unpleasantly aggrieved 🙂

  • Annie Mesa Said,

    I am thrilled to be the winner of the happy story contest, and so appreciative of this blog! It is such a wonderful mix of ideas, photos, and things to consider, all connected to the beautiful world through the medium of the garden and the wonderful things that come from it, beauty, ideas, and food! Thank you again!

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