Jessica Damiano Jessica Damiano, Newsday columnist

Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print and online media. She has worked on Newsday's interactive endeavors since 1994, and currently is Deputy Editor overseeing's Lifestyle and Entertainment coverage. Jessica enjoys toiling in her garden -- a never-finished work in progress -- and helping local gardeners solve their horticultural problems in her Garden Detective column, which appears every Sunday in Newsday. Her Garden Detective column and blog have been awarded Press Club of Long Island Society of Professional Journalists Awards. Jessica lives in Glen Head, NY, with her husband John, daughters Justine and Julia, dogs Maddie and Miguel, and a whole bunch of perennials, vegetable plants and weeds. Ask a question Show More

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, 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 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.