Wednesday, October 22, 2014

State Fair flowers and gardens . . . . .

Our state fairgrounds cover 344 acres in Raleigh, North Carolina's capital. Most weekends during the year a huge Flea Market is held here, but come October the annual State Fair and Agricultural Exposition, dating back to 1853, takes over for 11 days when over a million people attend. For the past few years I've been traveling at fair time so have missed visiting.

Once away from the raucous midway, the exhibitions are fun and range from livestock to fudge-making, but I have to admit my favorite on Monday was the Flower & Garden Show area.
First off, at the entrance to the gardens I was amazed by the tall yellow flowers with beautiful sprays of bright green leaves. I immediately looked for a Master Gardener (thank you Ms. Effie)to find out what they were and how could I get some. They are the Senna alata (or Cassia alata) - also called the candle bush, candelabra tree, candle tree or ringworm tree(medicinal use includes making a paste of the leaves to treat ringworm). Being a tropical plant, they are grown here in pots from seeds which require a start in a greenhouse in early spring. They will not over-winter in our horticultural zone 7b. I doubt I'll be growing any - will just make a note to come see their loveliness at the state fair next year.

More candelabra trees mixed with other tropicals, angel trumpets, roses and coleus - so pretty.

I was extremely interested in the splendid garden design section. 
There were many themed gardens, these two were my favorites - 

. . . . loved the idea for all those empty wine/water 
bottles - make a waterfall out of them - and the vertical 
wall garden is fabulous.

Bonsai ~ have you ever tried this very interesting type of gardening? The tree or shrub is dwarfed by pruning the roots and pinching back, and is grown in a pot or container and trained to produce a desired shape or effect.

Last but not least by any means, the autumn chrysanthemums in all their brilliant colors. Yes, there were plenty of pumpkins also but I know by now we've all seen as many as we can handle - until Halloween is here of course.

Hope you've enjoyed this little stroll through the 
North Carolina State Fair gardens.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

At the State Fair. . . . . . .

We hadn't been in many years and must admit it was a 
few hours of fun, even moments of nostalgia, in 
yesterday's brilliant sunshine.

We wandered through the midway rides, watched the children
having a great time, while families stuffed huge 'snacks' 
the likes of which I refuse to even describe!

At last, a more healthy 'snack', however we opted for a dish 
of maple walnut ice cream churned by a John Deere tractor!

We looked, our taste buds wondering just how yummy a scone or 
a muffin has to be to gain a blue ribbon!

For me the only real disappointment was not being able 
to get up close and personal with the livestock any longer. 
Due to animal-borne illnesses where children became 
ill some years back, state laws have changed disallowing 
handling of chicks, ducklings, bunnies etc. Hand washing 
when exiting the livestock buildings is enforced. 
This handsome young bull was the closest I came to a 
large animal - he was in the Children's Barnyard and out 
of reach to probing little hands. . .petting zoos are
now a definite no-no.

Loved the displays of arts, crafts, cookery . . . such 
talent from North Carolina's great artisans.

Next time I'll share the gardens and floral displays at 
the State Fair. 
I was greatly impressed - not quite the world famous 
Chelsea Flower Show of London, but truly beautiful, with 
colors and designs that knocked my socks off!

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