Thursday, November 7, 2013

NC State Fair

We usually go to the State Fair on the first Friday that it's open. I didn't want to lug my camera around the fair, so I used G's iPhone to take pictures.

I'm always surprised by how much I enjoy the cut flower competition/ exhibits, especially the plants that I don't or can't grow in my garden.

I can never really see coleus fitting anywhere in my garden -- too gaudy, too
tropical in appearance -- but I can be wowed by the various patterns and electric colors.

I hate houseplants (and they hate me), except for my
Christmas cactus, but I was impressed by this begonia

and this Plectranthus.

I love dahlias and grow them, just not very well. Many cultivars struggle in our heat or die outright and they do not tolerate drought happily. Also, like tomatoes they need to be staked before they grow tall, and staking with forethought seems to be beyond my abilities. Dahlias perform very well in our mountain region however, and one of the organizers told me that many State Fair dahlia entries come from the mountains. When I was a kid my family took a lot of trips to the mountains and I remember seeing all of the lemon yellow daylilies (as common as the orange ditch lilies here) and the dinnerplate dahlias that many people grew in their yards.

So many beautiful types and colors.

The last two were my favorites.

I also enjoy looking at the roses, many of them hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras
or David Austin roses, all of which are the equivalent of the bubble boy in our climate.

The miniature rose collection.

Unfortunately few of the ribbon tags had names
on them this year, but this one did: 'Orangeade'.

I was happy to see the swamp sunflowers. Perfect timing for the state fair!

Brazilian blue sage and Mexican bush sage. The
white sage is Danielle's Dream Mexican bush sage.

Can anyone tell me the name of this mum? I must have it!

This bumble had followed the blooms inside
and was going from flower to flower.

There were a number of plantings around the garden exhibits, like this gorgeous plumbago,

aromatic aster 'Raydon's Favorite'

and swamp tickseed. I used to have swamp tickseed but I think my hardy ginger ate it.
It's a beautiful low-growing tickseed and like swamp sunflower the flowers really pop.

There were competitions with garden plots planted according to different themes. The best garden
plot I ever saw was a beautiful and intricate Harry Potter-themed garden that we saw years ago.

I loved those dark chocolate-y sunflowers. Typically I don't like
red sunflowers, but the depth of color on these was excellent.


  1. What a lot of fun! I love getting ideas from displayed gardens. I could never be a judge...all the flowers look pretty to me! Like you, I am glad to see swamp sunflowers being recognized. Often they get a bad wrap because they are so tall and spread but I love them!

  2. What a great time out at the fair. Love all the colors and different varieties of flowers.

    Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

  3. Is this the mum?

    I love gaudy flowers in my garden, but I agree, it would not look right in your beautiful cottage garden.

    1. Jen the color looks right, but that one looks semi-double.

    2. You're right, I didn't notice that at first glance. Another possibility I saw was "Country Girl" but I'm not sure if its the same color. Hard to say. Thanks so much for visiting my blog :)

    3. I bet it's Ryan's Pink or Country Girl. Some people say they are the same thing!

  4. I don't grow house plants either! With so many outside to care for, I am not interested. I do have a couple of cactus plants that were given to me. They are in a bathroom where they get plenty of light. I water them a couple times a year when I think of it.

  5. Hi, sweetbay! I have not been here since summer and love your tour to state fair. Nice dahlias and roses. Particularly I liked the purple rose!

  6. Regional fairs are fun to visit, and of course the hort exhibits always interest me. As for your mystery mum: Except for the white around the disk, it reminds me of 'Clara Curtis' -- and excellent plant.

    1. I saw 'Clara Curtis' at a nearby arboretum a couple of years and it's been on my want list ever since. All I have is a vague recollection that it was pink and very pretty.

  7. Wow on those dahlias! I wish I could grow them, too, but I gave up after a couple of failures. My aunt raises prize-winning glads and makes the rounds of the county fairs as well as the state fair each year, so I know how much work goes into selecting and preparing each of these perfect blooms. I don't know how the judges can select the best!

  8. So many beautiful flowers! I'll bet you went home bubbling over with ideas for new plants in your garden.

  9. I haven't been to the fair in years but your post makes me think I"m missing out. Everything is so pretty!

  10. Google Chrysanthemum 'Cambodian Queen', it might be a possibility.


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