It's Beautiful Gardens season, when we invite readers to enter their favorite gardens in our annual contest. If you plan to nominate a garden this year, here are a few suggestions:

Photos: We ask for photos with each entry. We don't need many — a few snapshots will do. But we do need something visual. With 100-plus entries, we don't have the staff to preview every garden. The judging panel reviews submitted photos to determine the winners; those gardens are then visited in person.

Perspective: Close-up photos are fine, but we also need at least one back-off shot that gives us a broader sense of the garden and how elements work together.

Timing: Spring flowers are beautiful. But if they're all we can see in the photos, or all that's described, that garden is not likely to be a winner — because we'll be taking photos in early August, when spring flowers are spent. If the garden has summer-long beauty, please include that.

We're taking entries through July 11. Send them to: Beautiful Gardens, Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Or e-mail entries to beautiful