Have you been to the Western Idaho Fair yet? There are still a few days left to catch all the fun. And one place you don’t want to miss is the horticulture displays, from giant pumpkins and the best of homegrown fruits and vegetables, to the beautiful flower and container garden entries.
Garden master Jim Duthie went to the fair on opening day and shows us some of the creative and unique entries and some of the winners.
“The people are so inventive. You’ll see Julius Caesar over here with a head full of succulents. Some very cool massive logs where people planted succulent gardens. You’ll also see in our fairy and novelty gardens, miniature gardens, that there are some great things,” said Becky Burton.
And here at the Western Idaho Fair you’ll find a great display of container gardens, as well as miniature gardens and other floral arrangements from the best of Idaho’s amateur horticulturists.
With hundreds of entries of homegrown flowers and container gardens, floral supervisor Becky Burton and her team spent countless hours putting them on display. Judges have chosen the winners and the ribbons have been awarded, and they’re all available for you to see and enjoy, and to be inspired by.
“It’s super easy to enter into the fair,” said Burton. "It’s something as simple as going out the night before, cutting a beautiful stem out of your garden, let it drink overnight, bring it to the fair the next morning, and you may end up with a blue ribbon.”
And this year, some container gardeners really let their imaginations go wild, like this herb garden, planted in a vintage watering can. You could make some good spaghetti sauce out of that.
“This coleus, this colored leaf planting that we have here in front of us contains all kinds of different cool and unusual varieties. It happened to receive both a blue ribbon and a reserved best of show,” said Burton.
A popular trend this year was in the succulent and cactus classifications.
“Here we have a blue ribbon winner made out of an old dust pan.”
“And you can see this person won first place in this category.”
“You’ll also see that a child’s old Tonka truck has been converted to a succulent garden.”
An old tree stump was transformed into an exotic garden, even though it’s filled with common, everyday succulent plants. It won multiple ribbons.
“Just inventive, creative, nothing hard… just all you need is your imagination.”
And speaking of imagination, the miniature gardens are some of the most popular container entries.
“Here we have a mini garden grown in just a big teacup. It’s got little birds, a bird bath, a fairy. There’s all kinds of fun things.”
“This particular dish garden ... this was her first time entering. And all these gnomes as you can see are doing yoga.”
“Another special award winner is literally a milk crate, and the entire fair is laid out there. It’s an awesome use of materials and keeping up with the theme of the fair.”
“Whimsical and lots of fun. Each one has a story to tell which is what I love about it. And the genius that goes into it.”
And each of these containers were grown by home gardeners just like you.
“Oh, and these are all amateur gardeners. Obviously some of them are extraordinarily good at what they do. Usually they’re very passionate, and anybody can do this. They’re all grown right here in the Treasure Valley, they’re grown on somebody’s patio or yard, and they got these amazing results.”
It’s too late to enter the fair this year, but you can get ideas and inspiration for next year. There’s even a gardening advice center, staffed by master gardeners and members of local garden clubs.
“And so I would invite everybody to come and take a look.This isn’t hard to do, but the results are just amazing.”
And you still have time to come down to the Western Idaho Fair. It runs through this Sunday. Hours are from noon to 11 p.m. through Saturday, closing at 9 p.m. on Sunday, the final day of the fair.