- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
If you missed it, the Solano County Fair ran from July 31 to August 4. It's been about 5 years now that the UC Master Gardeners have participated in the Amateur Gardens competition at the fair.
The first year, they did not enter the garden competition. However, for the past four years, they have won blue ribbons (yes, I'm bragging about it here!). The Master Gardeners are not professional gardeners, they are people who just love to garden and share their knowledge with others.
The theme this year was "Home Grown Fun", so they create a house façade and planted a colorful variety of plants around it. They embellished the garden with whimsy, such as a metal sculpture, a gourd, a fun chicken planter and a cat peeking out the window.
The MGs create a non-competition garden for the entryway to these competition gardens within the Twilight Theater. This garden had a tropical, relaxing vibe to it.
In addition to the gardens, we some times have MGs who enter their own plants in the plant or flower competitions as well. Karen Pryor used to enter this fabulous shrimp (Justicia brandegeana) plant year after year. It was gorgeous!
This year MG Carolyn Allen entered her crested aeonium. It's crazy, weird appearance caught the eye of many an onlooker and the judges. She placed Reserve Best of Show in the Container Grown Plants.
Congratulations to the UC Master Gardeners in Solano County! A wonderful group of gardeners!
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
Just this week, the Master Gardeners pulled off an amazing feat. They worked on 3 gardens at the Solano County Fair: an entry way garden, a competition garden, and then a last-minute garden. It was quite the undertaking, but very rewarding in many ways. The gardeners are by no means professional landscapers or designers. They just love plants and putting them together in a landscape. In three days they made the gardens beautiful for the public to enjoy!
The competition garden we entered for the Amateur Gardens was called “Home Tweet Home”. The focus was on the houses of birds, insects, and bats that might be enticed to your yard. There were plants that attract certain insects, a water feature and a small lawn area.
I want to back up a little and tell you how the Master Gardeners got involved at the fair. About 4 years ago, the Master Gardeners were asked to design an entry way garden for the Twilight Theater, the location of the gardens competition. The following year, they decided to enter the Amateur Gardens competition for kicks. Apparently the judges liked their gardens because they have won for the past three years including the 2012 fair.
Every year, the Master Gardeners put forth design ideas, one is selected, and then, with help from the membership, implement of that design. This year, Carolyn Allen created the design themed “Home Tweet Home” (the fair’s theme was “Home Sweet Home”) .The ‘box’ they have to plant in has dimensions of 8’ wide by 16’ long. You might think this is a lot of room to work with, but once you’re there working in the box, it seems much smaller.
There is a lot of planning involved and the Master Gardeners seek help from one another and also look outside the organization to get the materials they need. It is a hectic, but fun event that they love doing year after year. Congratulations to the UC Master Gardeners of Solano County on their first prize at the fair!