Golden Gardener's Contest Celebrating our Furry Diggers
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Michelle Masters’ topiary themed gifts offer a blend of whimsy and elegance. Her art incorporates watercolor depictions of topiary—living sculpture shaped by careful pruning into a broad range of decorative items.

The folks below joined us in our fun new contest, Michelle's Golden wares presented as prizes! We were looking for irresistible photos & tales that capture your furry helpers, so revealing the following:


Although we were only able to garner 17 entries, we felt too much time has elapsed not to go ahead and select our top 3 entries and contest winners. A prize package of almost $200 included Michelle Masters merchandise and Land of PureGold Artist Illustration Card Packs.

First Place:  Donna Johnson of Truro, NS Canada
Second Place:  Connie McCabe of Glendale, AZ
Third Place:  Antonia Vinciguerra of Yonkers, NY

In honor of our own darling Darcy, who is missed so very much, here is one of our favorite photos of her digging days. Hopefully, it inspired others to share.

Darcy was such a Tomgirl who loved to get into everything. An interesting eater, she helped herself to own home grown asparagus, and had been known to dig up sweet potatoes out of our garden. This is what she looked like after one of her digging escapades as a pup. A very sticky girl!

Golden Darcy at The Bridge


Golden Tye

Golden Brooklyn

Golden Delta

Brooklyn says: "Ah.. I love the fresh mud dad just filled this new planter with for mom to put pretty flowers in. I heard mom say she would also like to add a good size tree right in the middle. I can help in that area but I may need to round up some help as it has to be a pretty good size hole I would think for a big tree.

Delta learned quickly from watching her Great Aunt and took her turn trying to get that hole deep enough for my new tree. And then there's our little Tye, so innocent and I'm sure his thoughts were nothing but thanks to the girls for giving him a nice big hole to lay in!

Donna Johnson
Goldens Brooklyn (4-years-old), Delta (6-months-old) and Tye (16-weeks-old)
Truro, Nova Scotia  CANADA

Several weeks ago Buddy was brought into Rescue A Golden of Arizona on an emergency basis. He had a serious intestinal blockage and the owner was unable to pay for any diagnostics or treatment. He had not eaten and had been vomiting for quite some time, as evidenced by his emaciated condition.

RAGofAZ went into emergency mode and got his immediate diagnostics done, and two major surgeries over the following four days. In all, quite o bit of intestine had to be removed from the damage caused by the gauze he ingested. He also suffered from peritonitis from the leaking intestines. Although the wonderful veterinary hospital gave us a break on his treatment, you can imagine his hospital bills are enormous. He is now recovering in foster care, and as you can see, will be quite a pistol when he is completely well. He is trying to plant a squeaky toy in his foster mom's garden.

Connie McCabe
Golden Buddy, 4-years-old
Glendale, AZ

Shadow was only 3 months when he decided to help dad pull weeds from the garden. He got a little carried away and pulled more than he could handle. Shadow is our new addition to the family



Antonia Vinciguerra
Golden Shadow, 3-months-old
Yonkers, NY

Sam's idea of gardening is finding the best plant for a bed. Hostas seem to be his favorite.


John "Geoff" Hendrickson
Golden Sam, 9-years-old
Abingdon, PA

Bailee, Gotta Be Dublin Irish Luck, age 8 at the time the picture was taken, was pushing his luck trying to help me plant in the rain. He was quite proud of himself by dropping his favorite ball in each hole I dug for my annuals. Needless to say, he had a blast and received a nice bath and blow dry when we were finished planting. Now that Bailee has turned nine (Sept 2008), I am hoping next year's Spring planting will be less muddy but still include my favorite gardening helper!

Kathy Hearn
Golden Bailee, 9-years-old
Rochester, NY

Hank was helping me with the garden this past Spring.

I had just planted the tender seedlings in my newly-constructed (from recycled wooden shelves) raised garden. As I went over to get the roll of turkey wire to put around the sides, now that it was planted, to protect it from marauding rabbits, I turned to find Hank joyously dancing and rolling about on my cantaloupe mound.

I had been filming the dogs playing in the sprinkler earlier so my camera was nearby. He was still nice and damp so the rich, black topsoil stuck all over like sprinkles on a frosted cupcake. I yelled at him to "GET OUT" and he ran to me smiling to show me how happy he was to help in the garden.

All I could do was laugh and then hose him down to keep him from growing into a topiary himself!

Sam Connelly
Golden Hank, 4-years-old
Baltimore, MD

Tavi really isn't much of a gardener, except when the oranges are ripe. He is a master harvester! The only problem is, he eats as much as he picks... all in a Golden's Day's Work.


Pat Lawson
Golden Tavi, 16-months-old
Queen Creek, AZ

Lilly's gardening consists of pulling weeds (and flowers), moving pots, and digging holes. After a hard day at work, she rests in a soft and colorful bed of flowers.


Lori Weber
Golden Lilly, 2-years-old
Essex, MD

Barley says, "My idea of gardening is undoing anything Mom does as quickly as possible. That way the job lasts a lot longer and Mom has to chase me around the yard to get her gardening items back. Good times!"

Denise Mann
Golden Barley, 2-years-old
Wakefield, RI

These are my two male Goldens, Sydney (in front) and Sampson in April, 2008. I was mowing the lawn and they just sit side by side right in my way and watch me. My Goldens' idea of gardening and lawn care is chasing me while barking and constantly dropping their Frisbee and soccer ball right in my path. At that point I shut down the mower, and as I exit and attempt to move the toys, they snatch them up and the game starts all over. Amazing dogs!

Joe D'Amore
Goldens Sydney (age 7) & Sampson (age 11)
Johnstown, NY

Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas puppy Nestle’s idea of Gardening is to have somebody else do all the work so she can just stop and smell the flowers!


Marlo Schrader
Golden Nestle, 8-weeks-old
Southlake, TX

Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas puppy Heath’s idea of Gardening is to do all the digging himself.


Marlo Schrader
Golden Heath, 8-weeks-old
Southlake, TX

I would like you to meet Phoenix! She is now 3-years-old, but was 1-year-old in this picture. The story is she is not allowed to dig in the yard so she has made a giant hole under the deck! And she just loves to get into that hole, and yes she comes out very dirty! Especially after the rain. But how could you get mad at her and her guilty face?


Danielle Bordage
Phoenix, 3-years-old
Quispamsis, NB CANADA

Gibson and his half sister Lexus love to sit and admire their MommyDog and DaddyDog's garden. While they are not much help in the garden they do allow the humans to do all the digging.

Melinda & Ken Davis
Goldens Gibson (6-years-old) and Lexus (10-years-old)
Newport, NC

Flower Bed for Me
Goldie loved my perennial flower gardens in Massachusetts. She however saw them as a place to stop and smell the flowers, preferably from a prone position. She loved to lay on top of the flowers. Here she was was about 5, laying down on some creeping phlox, one of her favorite flower beds. She always loved the smell of flowers. If I brought a bunch of cut flowers into the house, she would insist on smelling them. She was quite the lady about flowers. We lost her less than a month ago to pancreatic cancer at age 9 and 1/2. I am certain that she is following the gardeners at the bridge and waiting for that perfect flower bed to lay down.


Goldie and Her Phlox
Goldie loved to smell flowers. She got stung a couple of times on her nose when she stuck it into a flower that was also occupied by a bee. She was around 5 years old here with her nose down in spring blooming creeping phlox in my gardens in Massachusetts. She is smelling flowers at the bridge now and waiting for a bouquet. Heath’s idea of Gardening is to do all the digging himself.


Jean Vickers
Golden Goldie at The Bridge (May '08)
Tucson, AZ


Abby loves fruits and vegetables and takes great delight in foraging in the yard. She will eat apples on the ground, off of the tree, and even dig them out of the snow in the winter.

Abby learned early that there were goodies to be had in our yard. Every year when the berries are ripe she will eat the raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Abby also will clean out the asparagus patch, going for those tasty tips. When we visit anyone with a garden I have to watch her carefully!

In the first photo, shown here at age two, Abby picks raspberries off of the bush.

In this picture below, she is three-years-old. Abby is now ten and continues to clean my yard every season.





Dorothy Douglas
Golden Abby, 10-years-old
Cadyville, NY

As a puppy, Gracie's idea of gardening was to find the coolest spot possible out of the hot sun. She was particularly fond of this Hostas patch.



Leann Pickering
Gracie at 4 months of age
Warwick, RI

First of all, she had no choice, because I am an obsessive gardener first obsession being Goldens. She has to be by my side constantly, so she chose this spot in the front yard.

She doesn't like getting dirty, so I think she thought if she just laid there and looked absolutely adorable, she would make me very happy enjoying my two favorite loves.

My days don't get better than that. She always makes me smile. I couldn't help but notice, when I first saw the picture, how the sunlight was shining down on her, like my gardening angel.

Deborah Johnson
Golden Bailey, 10-years-old
Phoenix, AZ


Please check out Michelle Masters incredible array of products featuring her many art collections . . .

  • Aprons  Adult (20" x 28") and Child (12" x 19") sized, for gardening & the kitchen, are 100% Natural Cotton canvas with a handprinted topiary design and related phrase written around it. Pockets in front of apron for supplies and other goodies.
  • Fine Linens  Treat guests to charming 100% Irish Linen Hemstitched Guest Towels (12" x 18") and Cocktail Napkins (6" square) featuring a topiary design printed in the center.
  • Gicle Prints  Artist signed and dated, with limited edition of 500, these quality prints feature archival quality inks and fine art paper.
  • Gift Sets  Include 6" square linen hemstitched lavender sachet, linen hemstitched guest towel and set of 6  notecards with desired handprinted design. Embellished with bow, items packaged in cellophane and wrapped in spring green tissue.
  • Pillows  Handprinted 100% cotton pillow (14" x 9") with rope trim features selected topiary design. The pillow is artist printed, signed and dated.
  • Italian Marble Coasters  Handprinted and artist signed 4"x 4" tumbled marble tile coasters have natural surface chips and cracks, creating a beautiful Old World appearance. No two exactly alike, felt pads on back at corners.
  • Lavender Sachets  Hemstitched 6" square 100% linen sachets are filled with aromatic French lavender buds and handprinted with desired design. Embellished with organza bow and packaged in cellophane to retain freshness.
  • Stationery  Printed in U.S. on acid free, recycled archival cardstock, the papers are Lignin Free and Certified Processed Chlorine Free and consist of at least 30% post consumer fiber. Topiary designs are available in sets of 6 Notecards (same design) with matching envelopes wrapped and tied with raffia. Greeting Cards, with adorable messages inside, are printed on sandstone colored recycled paper paired with fall sky blue envelopes.
  • Tote Bags  Standard tote (14" x 16") and mini tote (8" x 8") are100% heavy duty cotton duck with webbed cotton straps. Bags feature handprinted topiary design.