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.


  1. Beautiful Mary. That bottle waterfall was amazing.

  2. Oh that forest bonsai is exquisite. I never had a bonsai I didn't kill.

  3. Yes, I enjoyed the stroll. The wall gardens seem to be quite popular these days.
    Jim would have loved the bonsai. I would just love the stroll, color, and arrangements.
    The bottle wall is very creative and the blue bottle tree too.
    Thanks for taking us along.

  4. Lovely! The bottle waterfall is great ... pretty!

  5. I must say I love the paned window with all the flowers on it. They certainly go to a lot of work with their displays for this fair. They are truly stunning. The bonsai gardens are so fascinating to see and amazing how old some of them would be. I also like the wine bottle wall. Very interesting ideas for sure.

  6. So inspirational - I love the blue bottle rack - what a great idea for a garden.

  7. Now that was a delightful trip through the state fair! Love, love, love that vertical garden and the wine bottle waterfall.

  8. So many wonderful things - love the waterfall and the little boys watching the fish - and the bonsai - such wonderful arrangements.

  9. Mary...I know this was a treat, it was for me! So many pretty plants, I assume most of them survive in your climate. I've never been to state fair (love that movie though!), but our town in Michigan hosts the county fair and Al and I enjoy that, if anything, for the food! lol!

    Jane xx

  10. That first picture, window panes painted in pretty French Provincial colours, is simple and stunning. What beautiful flowers and greenery throughout these gardens! Thanks for sharing Mary!


  11. Yes, I did enjoy it very much!
    I had no idea they had gardens like this at the state fair. Just beautiful and your photos are gorgeous!
    I am especially drawn to the waterfalls. The one made from wine bottles is so unique and interesting.
    So glad you were able to visit this year and thanks for sharing your visit with all of us.
    By the way, your header is so pretty.


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