Fair horticulture exhibits delight local gardeners

UC Master GardenerJuly 11, 2012 

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    Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or e-mail mgsanluisobispo@ucdavis.edu.

In July, if you are a gardener in San Luis Obispo County, you look forward to fresh picked corn, juicy ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and the California Mid-State Fair.

The fair started in 1945, and for more than 66 years San Luis Obispo County gardeners have proudly showed their gardening skills to their families, friends and the community at large. Entries will include locally grown produce and can only be current season crops.

Did you know that the produce divisions are divided into two shows, allowing the exhibits to remain fresh throughout the fair? There will be an assortment of citrus fruits, stone fruits, apples, herbs, nuts, vine crops and every vegetable that will be in season during the summer months. If you are an especially talented gardener, you can enter a Harvest Basket that includes only produce, herbs, and fruit that you grew.

Floriculture is also a popular exhibit at the fair. With many beautiful flowers being exhibited, dahlias are always a show-stopper.

Joe and Jill Sabol have been growing dahlias for more than 12 years and receive numerous awards each year at the fair. Joe has said the dahlia shows have significantly improved over the years, mainly due to the two outstanding judges, Kevin Larkin and Karen Zydner, who travel from south of Santa Cruz each year. After judging the exhibits, they will return in the afternoon to help teach the exhibitors how to grow better flowers by covering many aspects of propagation and cultivation of prize-winning dahlias. The San Luis Obispo dahlia community is very appreciative of these judges.

If you have traveled throughout the state, you will also realize the Mid-State Fair has one of the most beautiful fairgrounds in California, offering spectacular flower beds, a wonderfully landscaped rock mountain with waterfall and even a small vineyard. As you wander through the many exhibits, don’t miss the prize-winning horticulture and floriculture exhibits!

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