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March / April 2023

Contest Palooza!

By Lora Lee Gelles

Published on March 2, 2023

Phew! Another year, another contest put to bed. Let me tell you, this was a BIG year. We had a record number of entries — almost 90!

March / April 2023 POND Trade magazine
Lora lee Gelles

Since I get to see every single entry (lucky me!) I had a few observations. First off, you guys are really talented, but I think you know that. I also noticed there was a crossover factor. Many rock artisan entries could have easily been best pondless entries. A few best pondless entries may have done well in the most naturalistic category. These blurred contest lines have upped the overall level of difficulty, since each project may only be submitted in a single category.

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A few of this year’s winners also placed second in other categories, meaning we were closer than ever to having our first “double winner.” We also awarded our second “triple crown” winner, Art of the Yard (Shane Hemphill and Heath Webb), which joins Tim Wood as our only three-time winners. I’m sure Tim, who served on this year’s “Supreme Stream Court” and thus did not enter, is eager to get back into the fold next year!

I want to send out a big thank you to Tim and our other judges this year. (You’ll find out more about them here.) It’s not easy to judge that many entries and narrow it down to just a few top choices. I’d also like to give a shoutout to my editor Jordan, who did a write-up on each project based on what each contestant sent in and took it to another level. When combined with the stunning photography of the winning projects, this year’s Water Artisans of the Year section promises not to disappoint.

Somehow this packed issue still has room for seven additional features, including John Magyar’s great story about some of his clients who jumped the gun and started planting surrounding water gardens while John was still finishing up their pond builds. Some happy clients can’t wait to apply make their features their own. Freddie Combas takes a closer look at the formal pond-building trend, and Suzanne Boom reveals the winning lilies at the 2022 IWGS New Waterlily Competition.

Happy PONDering!

Aqua UV

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