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Friday, December 1, 2023

Green Wizardries with Maxine Rogers

Green Wizardries, The Fall Fair by Maxine Rogers

I love both our Fall Fairs and have judged for years on Hornby.  You guys put on an exceptionally good Fall Fair.  We have just had ours, the Blackberry Fair, on Denman and I want to thank everyone who helped organize the Fair and everyone who came to celebrate.  

I will have to miss Hornby’s Fall Fair this year as I am off for a vacation with my niece who is going on a trip to celebrate graduating from University.  This will be the first time in years I have not helped out at your fair.  I hope everything goes well for you.

Here on Denman, the Garden Club, in the person of Susan Tait, stepped up and ran the produce competition.  Thank you Susan for a job well done!  I asked some of my friends if they were entering things and they said, “No, I am not competitive.” Competition is not what it is all about.  I enter heaps of produce and baking in the Fair because a full produce competition is a beautiful thing and inspires people to grow, bake and sew more things themselves.  

Fall Fairs are the soul of country living.  I encourage everyone to find something in their garden to take to the Hornby Fair on Sunday September 17.  Winning is not as important as participating in these lovely community events.  Both our Fairs are open to the populations of both islands so if you missed entering in the Blackberry Fair, give yourself a treat and enter in the Hornby Fair.  

Some people do take it too seriously and focus too much on taking firsts.  Produce competitions are more about creating an ample display of our achievements to inspire other people to give it a try.  

That said, I do follow Genghis Khan in his advice on showing dahlias.  He said, “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of the women.”  

I came to the Fair hoping to do just that and then I saw the excellent level and sheer number of very good entries of dahlias shown this year and my heart sank a bit.  I was down at the Hall early to help set up and to steward. As the dahlias came in, I could see my hopes of a crushing victory slipping away.  

I had been up early to cut my flowers and one thing the judges look for is any crumpled or wilted petals on the underside of the blooms.  They are also looking for size, uniformity, good colour and three blooms that match in size.  When I was looking my flowers over, I found a copper and green tree frog clinging to the underside of one of my huge red blooms.  I plucked him off and escorted him back to the garden.  If I had known how desperate the situation was going to be, I might have left him on the flower for added cuteness and as a testament to how fresh the flowers were.

I left the hall when the judges arrived but I was back at 1 pm to view the results and I think the judging was very fair.  Roger and Holly Smith won for largest pumpkin.  They brought their entry in a wheelbarrow and it was a very fine pumpkin!  Phyllis Brewer, still competing at 96, won a first for her Bosc pears and laughed heartily when she heard she had won.  

Faye Chung, only 18, won the Jimmy Tait Memorial Trophy for best flowers in show for her huge, elaborate and beautiful display.  Faye is studying Fine Arts and shows a lot of artistic talent.  Jimmy would have been delighted to see this young woman making such a good start in the Fall Fair.  We had some very fun kid’s entries of best-dressed vegetables.  Everyone who saw them while I was there made those funny crooning sounds because the entries were so charming.  

My loaf of organic white bread was beat out by Oluna’s sourdough loaf for first and there were a number of lovely cakes entered which makes judging the baking such a delightful job.  The judges seemed to have had a hard time making their minds up about the chocolate cake as there was a very large wedge of cake missing.  They must have had to have two slices each to really cogitate and evaluate.  

David Scruton and his loyal crew drew a huge crowd for the zucchini racing.  Everyone seemed very happy and cheered hugely for their favourite racing zucchinis.  It was nice to see everyone back to normal.  I didn’t see a single face mask in the whole crowd.    People seemed relaxed and friendly.  They were not treating other people as if they were a deadly pathogen.  It made me very happy to be gathered with my community again and for everyone to be friendly.  It was a lovely event.  Well done to everyone who contributed.

Author: TIG

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