Green thumbs showed off the fruits of their labor Saturday at the 175th Champaign County Fair.
Roses, hydrangeas and more were featured at the annual Garden Club Flower Show, themed “Games People Play.” This year’s winners ranged from gerbera daisies to a Rudbeckia Indian Summer.
The 2016 Best in Show Artistic Design winner is Virginia Bowers of Urbana. Bowers’ gerbera daisy design is a “synergistic creative design” where one type of plant is highlighted, she said.
Bowers said she’d never won this specific floral award before, though she has won others in her 50 years with the Goshen Garden Club.
“I just enjoy it,” she said, of gardening and being in the club. “I love the people, working with them. They give incentives to do the best I can.”
Bowers added the best tip she could give new gardeners is to join a garden club, because the members all have tips, and learning by doing is the best way to achieve.
This year’s Queen of Roses is Jeanne Zook of St. Paris. Zook won the award with a Veterans Honor red rose. She has won the award before.
Zook said she likes gardening roses “because they are pretty. It’s worth it.” Her advice to novice rose gardeners is to spray them weekly and keep them watered.
The 2016 Best in Show Best Cut Specimen award winner is Ann Smith of Mechanicsburg, also a member of the Goshen Garden Club. Smith has won awards before in this category and others. Her winning entry is a Rudbeckia “Indian Summer” flower.
“I just enjoy it. I’ve been gardening as long as I can remember, since I was a kid,” she said, noting her mother got her interested in gardening.
She said she had no tips for other gardeners, adding jokingly, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
The Best in Show Best Container Plant winner is Debra Walters of Mechanicsburg with a large jasmine plant. The six-year-old plant has been kept in the same container since the beginning, Walters said.
This is the first time she has won this award. She attributes the plant’s success to the food she has been giving it this year, as opposed to other years when it was just water.
Walters said she has been gardening for years, and she likes the variety.
“I enjoy trying new things, and different things with different plants,” she said, adding she also loved the changing seasons and the different plants that grew in those different seasons.
The 2016 Champaign Garden Club Member of the Year is Phoebe Myers of St. Paris. She has been a member since the 1990s.
“I enjoy everything about gardening,” she said, highlighting spring and fall plants as her favorite ones. She also suggested green thumbs join a gardening club to get the best tips on how to cultivate beautiful foliage.
“I learned so much when I joined,” she added.
The Junior Class Best Horticulture award winner is six-year-old Paige Graham of the Four Seasons Garden Club. Graham won with her “succulent garden” entry.
The winner of the Junior Class Best Artistic Design is 12-year-old Dena Wilson of the Four Seasons Garden Club. She won with her entry for “Uncle Wiggly,” which incorporated a rabbit in the design.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.