The Learning Garden was outstanding! The final totals for overall Fair attendance are not yet in but judging by the traffic jam on 3rd St. Saturday afternoon, the parking lot was almost certainly at capacity. Definitely a very successful event. We had 1,658 visitors through the Learning Garden, many of them stopping by to enjoy the shade of our trees, ice water, Pam’s library and a respite from all the hubbub on the fairgrounds.
The blooming artichokes were the focal point for visitors. Many did not know what they were but were amazed at the vivid flower color. The bees were ecstatic! I personally observed a fat bumble bee wallowing on his back with all pollen laden legs straight in the air. Toddlers picked the raspberries (variety Caroline) and blueberries clean. The large white pumpkin (see photo) is Casper!
In the Hoop House Poster Board displays for ‘What’s wrong with my….’ and ‘Bugs: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ drew in folks remarking about the information provided. Gardening, Vegetable, Native Plants, Pollinators were available. Over 50 ‘Free Potted Mystery Dahlias’ were gone by end of the Fair. Several visitors expressed interest in taking the 2024 Master Gardener Training classes. Registration for the 2024 classes will be announced this fall.
Circus Luminescence – Eli March & Scramble James – wheeled in for a tour. They were very adept at wheeling and juggling simultaneously whilst perusing the dahlia bed, rock garden and berry patch! I hope everyone had a chance to catch their show during the fair.
Celebrating 50 Years
This is the 50th Anniversary of the Master Gardener Program. The program originated at Washington State University in 1973 and has grown to over 86,000 volunteers in 49 states. In 2022 there were 2,276 active Master Gardener volunteers directing service to more than 78,713 Oregonians. Statewide Oregon Master Gardeners donated an estimated 27 tons of fresh produce, harvested from Master Gardener-managed community and demonstration gardens to local food banks and food pantries.
Lastly, observations from a fellow Master Gardener:
Toddlers picking blueberries is a thing of beauty. The garden is gorgeous, I’m perpetually fascinated by the dahlias (which I did not know were a “thing” prior to living here, horticulture deficient as I am) & SO many people loved the revamped rock garden. And the raised beds (see photos). Compared to wood, & “rolling your own”, they’re a pretty good value. We get a choice here, metal & rust, or wood & rot.
Tillamook County Fair is a classic one; I stopped by the food exhibits this morning to check on my favorite, which is the “Ugly Cake” contest, & talked to 2 ladies who were volunteering in that area. I told them I was a rookie entrant/winner in photography, but that the Pig n’ Ford races & the Ugly Cake competition were my 2 favorite events. Ugly Cake is open to as young as 3 years old (they have a LOT of ability to make Ugly Cakes at that age!) & they said it’s absolutely heartwarming to see a 3-year-old contestant coming in, clutching their cake & watching it be carefully put in the cooler, to go on display for the entire County. They’re not doing pedal-tractor races this year but at least the Ugly Cake contest is still on. That 3-year-olds are getting excited about baking, having fun with food & participating in THE major community event of the year, is just awesome.
Like all communities, there are quirks here, but overall, I’m impressed by the majority of my neighbors & proud to be a part of “my” community, in multiple roles.