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Open Flower Show

Updated on May 22, 2016

County Fair Horticultural Competition

County fairs have been an anticipated event each year in the United States for years, and this year was no different. Surrounding areas joined in to see what their neighbors have been up to in the way of healthy competition.

This was the third year in which I entered the county fair competitions, and I'm loving it. Every year I have tried to enter different things and challenge myself with new experiences.

I was able to enter 38 categories for the flower show and was extremely blessed to have placed in each one. There were three areas that I entered for the first time in the fresh cut artistic division of the flower show: Big Bloomers (as seen in the photo), Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Patriotic.

Enjoy the flower presentations along with learning about the contest, guidelines and tips for having a great exhibit.

Image credit by Favored1

Copyrighted Material by Favored1. Do not copy. Photo credit by Favored1 or Amazon unless otherwise noted. This artwork is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. When used: Animation by www.glitter-graphics.com, www.picgifts.com, www.photobucket.com and www.animateit.net



Poll: Have you ever ...

Have you ever entered a county flower show?

See results
Open Flower Show
Open Flower Show

Getting Ready for the Exhibit

There's a lot to do in preparing for the competition.

Getting ready for the Open Flower Show Competition takes a year of planning.

For the gardener, one will have to know in advance what they want to enter into the exhibit. After last year I knew that I wanted to enter much more into the fair for this year. Early in the spring I prepared some of my plants so they would be in bloom at the right time. Most of them cooperated, but with the massive amount of rain many of the flowers just didn't "fair" that well, so I had to make alternate plans. Thankfully, things worked out well.

The competition was to take place July 15th-20th, 2013. It took me the entire week to schedule things so I could have all my entries in on time and look as fresh as they could. I needed to have my herbs in for judging on Monday, July 15th along with my baked goods. This was difficult, but with the help of my husband and a friend we finished early.

Flower competitions weren't until Thursday so I had several days to get things in order. I didn't cut flowers until Wednesday evening for the flower arrangements and cut the individual categories on Thursday morning. Most things were cut before hand and placed in the refrigerator overnight. We removed a shelf so the large arrangements would fit.

As you can see in the photo, it was early in the morning when people were starting to bring in their entries for the fair. By the time all was finished there were thousands of items in all areas for people to gaze upon and enjoy.

We weren't permitted to retrieve our entries until Sunday afternoon. It was hard waiting to see if I won. God blessed me "real good" with favor and I placed well in the categories.

Image credit by Favored1

Contest Rules

Each exhibit must be in a clear glass container.

No plastic flowers are permitted.

Only one entry per category is permitted.

Containers must not exceed 10".

Any amateur may enter the show.

Entries must be named correctly.

All entries must be grown by the exhibitor, except for fillers.

Only artistic divisions may use fillers and decorations.

No state conservation material is permitted.

Judges decisions are final.

Unless specified, all flowers must be displayed as a single bloom.

Fresh Flower Arrangement Artistic Division

Artistic Division Guidelines

  1. Anyone can enter this division as long as they follow the specific guidelines for this category.
  2. When making arrangements you are permitted to use dried flowers or fillers not necessarily grown by the exhibitor. However the fresh flowers are to be home grown.
  3. No artificial or plastic flowers are permitted whatsoever.
  4. Decorations to add to the creative and artistic side may be added.
  5. Judging was based on overall: Creativity/Originality, freshness of flowers (no dead leaves or spent flowers) and presentation.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Prize: 2nd Place Red Ribbon

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This was my favorite arrangement to make. In order to make the rainbow I used an old hose that had sprung a leak in it. My husband cut it and then wrapped it with rainbow duct tape. He notched out the ends so they would tuck down into the soil without falling over.

There were over 75 fresh cut flowers, herbs and foliage items in this arrangement. I used a combination of dirt and an oasis foam in the center for the cut flowers. Then I covered the oasis with dirt so you couldn't see it. I used cut flowering vinca vine and wrapped it around the rainbow from both directions, then tucked the ends into the soil. The arrangement was completed with a simple bow I made from a fabric ribbon in "rainbow-ish" colors.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Judging Date was Thursday, July 18th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is the beginning stages of the arrangement. I used an oval 10 inch green planter pot.Close up of my "thinking" out the design.Almost ready. Trying to get the rainbow to stand.This is what I entered. Photos by Favored1.
This is the beginning stages of the arrangement. I used an oval 10 inch green planter pot.
This is the beginning stages of the arrangement. I used an oval 10 inch green planter pot.
Close up of my "thinking" out the design.
Close up of my "thinking" out the design.
Almost ready. Trying to get the rainbow to stand.
Almost ready. Trying to get the rainbow to stand.
This is what I entered. Photos by Favored1.
This is what I entered. Photos by Favored1.

Big Bloomers Arrangement - Prize: 3rd Place White Ribbon

Big Bloomers Flower Arrangement

In order for a bouquet to be entered into this category each bloom must be at least 4 inches wide or long. You are permitted to add fillers to the arrangement or decorations.

My arrangement included giant zinnias, hibiscus, daylilies, verbena, hostas, vinca vine, butterfly bush, dusty miller and more fillers.

Image credit by Favored1

Big Bloomers - Judging Date was Thursday, July 18th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here I was experimenting with the arrangement the night before competition.Adding some fillers from my garden including herbs.This is how it looked the morning of the completion.
Here I was experimenting with the arrangement the night before competition.
Here I was experimenting with the arrangement the night before competition.
Adding some fillers from my garden including herbs.
Adding some fillers from my garden including herbs.
This is how it looked the morning of the completion.
This is how it looked the morning of the completion.

Yankee Doodle Dandy - Patriotic Arrangement - Prize: 2nd Place Red Ribbon

Yankee Doodle Dandy Flower Arrangement

This arrangement had to be more specific because of the theme. I chose white vinca flowers, daylily leaves, blue corn flowers and herb fillers.

Patriotic Division - Same date for judging.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
First I selected a clean red pot.I filled it 1/3rd full with potting soil.Then I wrapped a balloon weight in a plastic baggie and placed it in the center of the pot.Adding white vinca flowers I surrounded the insert with 6 plants and filled the rest in with dirt.Then I began adding fresh cut flowers and vines. Here the daylily leaves and flowering vinca vine added.For the blue I used blue corn flowers. Photos by Favored1.
First I selected a clean red pot.
First I selected a clean red pot.
I filled it 1/3rd full with potting soil.
I filled it 1/3rd full with potting soil.
Then I wrapped a balloon weight in a plastic baggie and placed it in the center of the pot.
Then I wrapped a balloon weight in a plastic baggie and placed it in the center of the pot.
Adding white vinca flowers I surrounded the insert with 6 plants and filled the rest in with dirt.
Adding white vinca flowers I surrounded the insert with 6 plants and filled the rest in with dirt.
Then I began adding fresh cut flowers and vines. Here the daylily leaves and flowering vinca vine added.
Then I began adding fresh cut flowers and vines. Here the daylily leaves and flowering vinca vine added.
For the blue I used blue corn flowers. Photos by Favored1.
For the blue I used blue corn flowers. Photos by Favored1.

Poll: You decide.

Which artistic arrangement did you like the most?

See results
Petite Zinnia Bouquet ...... sorry it's blurry. It took 2nd in its category.
Petite Zinnia Bouquet ...... sorry it's blurry. It took 2nd in its category.

Crystal and Glass Vases - Click on the item for details.

We were permitted to use any clear glass vase that we wished. They could not be over 10 inches tall, but width didn't matter.

Now these are not what I used for the competition, but do have nice vases at home. Each vase ranges from 9-10 inches tall, and would be perfect for the big bloomers arrangements like the ones at the fair.

Total Ribbons Won in Horticultural Division 2013

Image credit by Favored1
Image credit by Favored1

Blue Ribbon Winners

First Place: 11 total

A few winners ... - from the Zinnia family.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

First Place Winners from the Tree/Shrub/Bush Families - Knock Out Rose Bush, Pink Butterfly Bush, Miniature Red Rose, Miniature Pink Rose

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pink Knock Out Rose BushButterfly BushMiniature Red RoseComplete with country fly!Miniature Pink Rose
Pink Knock Out Rose Bush
Pink Knock Out Rose Bush
Butterfly Bush
Butterfly Bush
Miniature Red RoseComplete with country fly!
Miniature Red Rose Complete with country fly!
Miniature Pink Rose
Miniature Pink Rose

More First Place Winners in Flowers, Herbs & Bushes

Single Purple Petunia

Zinnia

Large Giant Zinnia

Trees/Shrubs/Bushes:

Pink Spirea Bush

Suggested Care for Exhibit Flowers

  1. Harden fresh cut flowers in deep cold water for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Strip the lower leaves from stems, but do not remove all the foliage. You need some for a more full effect or overall presentation.
  3. Woody stemmed flowers (shrubs or trees) need at least one inch base. Crush or slit the base so it can absorb water for freshness.
  4. Cut flowers on an angle to absorb water.
  5. Remove dead leaves or spent flowers before bringing your exhibit to be judged.
  6. Only enter the exact number of blooms or items that is required. Not following the rules can decrease your chances of winning.
  7. Ice cubes in vases with water can help keep your bloom fresh.

Fresh Herb Bouquet MixRed Ribbon Second Place Winner
Fresh Herb Bouquet Mix Red Ribbon Second Place Winner

Red Ribbon Winners

Second Place: 12 total

A few red ribbon winners... - Yellow Daylily, White Obedient Plant, Red Gomphrena, Hibiscus

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My photo was too blurry, so I used one from google images by greenfusestock.photoshelter.com
My photo was too blurry, so I used one from google images by greenfusestock.photoshelter.com
My photo was too blurry, so I used one from google images by greenfusestock.photoshelter.com

More Second Place Winners in Flowers & Herbs

Pink Dianthus

Purple Ruffled Petunia

Hosta Plant

Pink Lavender

Petite Zinnia

Bouquets:

Petite Zinnia Bouquet

Herb Bouquet

Zinnia Wedding Bouquet (I don't have a photo of this.)

Herbs:

Comfrey

Lemon Balm

Peppermint

White Ribbon Winners

Third Place: 17 total

A few white ribbon winners ... - White Spider Plant, Hibiscus, Pink Cone Flower, Dusty Miller

Click thumbnail to view full-size

More White Ribbon Winners in Flowers, Herbs & Trees

Yellow Yarrow

Pink Cone Flower

White Spider Flower

Purple Corn Flower

Purple Verbena

Yellow Snapdragons

Dusty Miller

Flowering Purple Vinca Vine

Pink Impatients

Vinca Bud

White Lavender

Yellow Calibrachoa

Herbs:

Spearmint

Trees/Shrubs/Bushes:

White Rose of Sharon

Dried flower arrangement.
Dried flower arrangement.

More Articles by Fay

You can read more articles, reviews and get information on upcoming County Fair updates for competition at Favored Fay. http://favoredfay.blogspot.com/

There's so much you can do!

Taking part in the community is one of the best things anyone can do. Not only do you get to enter competitions for prizes, you meet some pretty terrific people as well.

There are so many more areas in which I'd like to try my hand next year. For example making a dried flower arrangement like someone did in this photo. Perhaps I'll do some crafts. I actually did have crafts, but they weren't for the fair. I may even enter something in painting, sewing or canning. Who knows? Anything is possible.

I hope you enjoyed your visit into my world at the county fair and it inspires you to get involved with the one in your community next year.

Image credit by Favored1

Ayything to share about your county fair experiences? - Leave a comment or just say Hi.

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    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      What a beautiful hub this is, Fay. The flower arrangements are lovely.

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      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      @Colin323: Thank you Colin. I really enjoy your articles as well.

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      Colin323 3 years ago

      Really enjoyed this lens. Your talent and enthusiasm shone through. Love the zinnias. Bravo!

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      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      @Snakesmum: Thank you. There were some great arrangements at the show. I was blessed to be a part of it.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      You're very talented with your flower arrangements, and well done winning all those prizes.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @anonymous: I appreciate your visit.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      well I haven't experience county fair yet but i like your lens

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @anonymous: I appreciate your visit.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      great lens and great pictures with great information thanks for sharing his with us

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @Margaret Schindel: A great compliment indeed from a designer as yourself.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Fay, thanks so much for sharing your experiences and tips about entering county fair flower shows. Your bouquets are delightful and your pictures of them are fabulous!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Congratulations as a winner of The 2013 Squidoo County Fair in the Flowers and Plants category

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @Michelllle: Thank you Michelle. I appreciate your visit.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @SteveKaye: They would have looked better with your camera Steve :) But I appreciate your kind words.

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      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      This is a very artistically build lens. And the photos of the flowers are wonderful. I enjoyed the tour.

    • Michelllle profile image

      Michelllle 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @DeborahDian: Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your comment.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @Susan300: Love being a part of it. Good community spirit.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @GrammieOlivia: Thank you. Nice to see you.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Such beautiful flower arrangements! You are very talented!

    • Susan300 profile image

      Susan300 4 years ago

      Thanks for being part of the 2013 Squidoo County Fair! :)

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      GrammieOlivia 4 years ago

      Wow! gorgeous and you still have time to write? Well done and congratulations on all the awards.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Growing and arranging such beauty demonstrates a multitude of gifts. I'm sure you bless others with the grace of your creations. What we see is a true manifestation of your beautiful spirit. Congrats on your huge success at the county fair. I can see you worked hard to earn those honors.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @BarbsSpot: I was extremely blessed. Hopefully, next year I will be able to enter some new items along with the flower competition. Thank you for your very kind comment. My gifts aren't my own, but God given. He let's me have the fun.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @smine27: So are you. I really like how you see things through your iphone "lens."

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @Rhonda Lytle: Thanks for dropping by with your nice comments.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @steadytracker lm: I appreciate your support.

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      steadytracker lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for entering this lens into the 2013 Squidoo County Fair.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      You have such talent. Not only can you grow them but arranging is such and art form too. Thank you for sharing such a bounty of beauty.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      You are very multi talented! Thank you for sharing yet another great lens.

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      BarbsSpot 4 years ago

      @Lensmaster...You are truly talented to have placed in all the flower categories you entered! And, although I've never worked with flowers, judging from the pictures you've shared here, your awards were well deserved!

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      @Namsak: Thanks, that is very nice of you to say.

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      Namsak 4 years ago

      Beautiful flower arrangements. I wish I had green fingers like you.