Jessica Damiano Jessica Damiano, Newsday columnist

Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print

Garden poets, dig deep.

For this year’s garden poetry contest, I’m asking you to do some soul searching to find out exactly why you garden. We could spend our summer Sunday afternoons reading a book, going to the beach or enjoying iced tea in the air conditioning while watching Netflix on the recliner like a civilized person, but instead we work up a sweat pulling weeds, deadheading, digging up plants to move around, nurturing seedlings and getting dirt under our fingernails. What is wrong with us? Why does this make sense? What’s the purpose?

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Reflect, contemplate, self-examine and answer that question in prose of seven lines or less.

The best submissions will be published in Newsday and on Newsday.com, and my favorite will get a surprise gift in the mail.

Email your poem, along with your full name, mailing address and phone number to jessica.damiano@newsday.com with “Garden Poetry” in the subject line, or send it by mail to:

Jessica Damiano, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY, 11747.

Submissions must be received by 12:01 a.m. May 22.