“Mostly fun, somewhat competitive.”
That’s how Joan Fowle feels about being one of the many exhibitors in this year’s Nevada County Fair. For eight years, she’s been entering potted plants, flower arrangements and cut flowers for judging. This year, she entered a total of 150 exhibits, placing numerous times.
All of her award-winning plants are currently being shown in the floricultural building, but the success hasn’t gone to Fowle’s head. She couldn’t recall how many ribbons she had added to her collection, simply because it wasn’t the most important thing for her. The sheer volume of her entries, she says, was due to the fact that she entered flowers regardless of whether they would be presentable by the time the fair rolled around.
“I just entered a bunch of them, because when I enter flowers, you don’t know if they are going to be ready when fair time is here or not. So I enter a lot, but I don’t show all of them,” she said.
The process takes around six months out of the year, she says.
“You make your entries, and you figure out what flowers might be blooming at that time. You go out and find all the items you need for the artistic design entries. (Then you) prune your flowers and your potted plants, make them look beautiful. It is time-consuming and the heat doesn’t do well for some of them, especially the cut flowers,” she said of her preparation.
Her favorite part of the process, Fowle says, is the crucial judging portion. She enjoys hearing the judges’ comments, and asking questions of her own.
“Their comments are very interesting,” she said. “It’s always fun to hear the judges. When the judges are judging (the plants) they let you have questions and comments after. So it’s a learning process every year even though I’ve been coming for so many years.”
Regardless of her levels of success in the varying competitions, she seems committed to continue dedicating her time to entering different flowers and plants.
“It’s a fun learning process,” she said. “It’s just a fun time.”
Spencer Kellar is an intern with The Union. He can be reached at NCPCInternC@theunion.com.