Our new photo contest celebrates spring

'Welcome spring' is the theme of our new photo contest. As you celebrate spring, get out your camera.

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    Mustard flowers in full bloom are a sign of the arrival of spring in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir.
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Spring has played its usual hide-and-seek game this year, tantalizing us with balmy days followed by (at least on the U.S. East Coast) cold, wet misery.

About the only consolation: at least it's not snow (so far, at least).

It happens many years, so you'd think we'd be used to it. But we're all so anxious to welcome spring that we fool ourselves into thinking that the first warm days will continue until summer. Ha!

But even as we sometimes grumble about the chilliness of the gradually lengthening days, we savor every sign of spring – from the first lavender crocus and cheery daffodil to the wonderful variety of flowering trees – saucer and star magnolias, cherry and other flowering fruit trees, redbuds, dogwoods.

I was enchanted by many of these over the weekend in Washington, D.C. They were just beautiful.

As springs shows off her loveliest finery, this is the time to share your delight in the new season with others – and maybe win a nice prize. Go to the Monitor's Flickr gardening-group site and join if you haven't already. (It's free.)

Then upload your photos of spring 2010 to the group pool. Add the tag Spring-CSM2010 to the photos you want to enter in the contest. The deadline is April 30, 2010. All photos must have been taken this year.

That's all there is to it.

On May 1, one or more members of the Monitor's photo department will judge the entries and name three winners. We'll notify you through Flickr Mail and show everyone the winners as soon as we hear back from the photographers. Then we'll send out the prizes, which we'll shortly announce. (We're looking for some especially nice ones this time around.)

Here are some of the winners of our previous contests:

Winter

Fruit

Vegetables

Plants

Even if you don't enter the contest, do drop by the Flickr site occasionally to look at the photos that have been posted (and comment on them, if you like). The quality is high. And if spring is still being fickle where you are, you can enjoy seeing the better weather where someone else lives.

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To read more about gardening, see the Monitor's main gardening page and our lively gardening blog, Diggin' It. We hope you'll bookmark them and return. Want to be notified when there's something new in our gardening section? Sign up for our RSS feed.

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