By RYAN DUNN
Excelling at the Hancock County Fair’s flower competitions requires more than a green thumb.
Those perfectly blooming plants stem from impeccable timing, careful handling, and a little bit of luck before they are closely inspected by judges.
Baskets of flowers on Wednesday lined the Grange Building after the fair’s first individual adult competition for flowers.
The colorful blossoms offer a different feature to the fair, said Mary Schwepe, a superintendant of the fair’s flower department.
“It’s like serving a good meal,” Schwepe said. “You need a little of everything.”
Schwepe said she researched 75 years of flower display history at the fair. She hopes this week’s competitions draw about 20 to 30 entries.
The show entrants pair well with the Findlay Garden Club display, she said.
Successful entrants have several pitfalls of flower damage to avoid, said Bill Jones, program coordinator for the Master Gardeners of Hancock County.
These include plant deterioration from insects, wind and travel, Jones said.
Timing a blooming to coincide with the fair is difficult as well, he said.
Organizers began the competitions on Wednesday by marking the fair’s 75th anniversary on Sandusky Street. Diamond Frost euphorbia was included in the arrangement category. Ann Woolum took first place, and Mary Schwepe second.
Today’s show will feature roses of various classifications and colors.
“We’ll be looking for perfection,” Jones said.
Friday will show day lilies of different blooms and hues.
Saturday includes arrangements following a “down on the farm” theme. It requires at least three different floral materials. The dimensions may be no more than 15 inches high and 20 inches wide.
“It’s going to be a real artistic event,” Jones said.
The fair aims to maintain passion for all types of agricultural events, including kitchen gardens, he said.
“We’re just trying to carry on the gardening tradition and inspire them to stay with it,” Jones said.