- 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: Karen Metz
Saturday I went to the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. This year's theme is Cruise On In. The director of the flower exhibits, Greg Duncan, took that idea and came up with a Ports of Call theme for the garden competitions. When you first walk in, spread out before you is a large body of water containing a cruise ship, a mermaid, and a desert island. Clustered around this central area are the professional competition gardens that each represent an exotic Port of Call. There is Istanbul, Turkey, San Francisco, CA, Barcelona, Spain, Rio De Janero, Brazil, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Key West Florida, Mykonos Greece, Cozumel, Mexico, Ketchikan, Alaska, Sorrento,Italy, and Papeete, Tahiti.
As you can imagine it was an amazing display with riotous colors. The amateur gardens with similar ports of call themes were just outside under shade. What I thought was most creative, however was a display tucked in an end of the main display hall. It was a take off on the famous sumptuous cruise ship buffets. The kick was instead of food, they were serving up plants. Talk about thinking outside the box.
So if you can't afford a world cruise this year or you would love some inspiration, check out the Sonoma Fair. It continues through August 12, 2012. They did mention a plant sale the morning after the fair ends.