By Jeremy Wallace
TROY — The Miami County Fair was bursting with color yesterday at the Flower Show held in the Horticulture Building.
Flowers of various shapes, colors and scents were on display to be judged in several categories, including Best of Show, junior and senior 4-H, Best Rose and Creative, to name a few. The judge for this year’s contest was Virginia Bowers of Urbana.
Bowers is a Master Gardener and has been a member of the Goshen Garden Club in Mechanicsburg for 50 years. This is her first year judging at the Miami County Fair but says she has been judging flower shows for 35 years.
“I look for good round form, symmetry, foliage and stem length and strength. Things have changed over the years since I started but the basics are all the same,” Bowers said.
Matt Carder and his cousin Nick Thomas, both of Covington, made it a team effort when they won several awards between them, including a Best of Show. Carder told a story about the special meaning the Dahlia he entered for the Junior Flower Show. The bulbs he planted belonged to his grandfather who has passed away.
Carder found some of his grandfather’s bulbs and decided to plant them in his memory. As they blossomed to life, Carder and Thomas decided to enter one of the flowers in the contest in honor of the late grandfather Bill McKinney, a longtime fair flower show participant.
“My grandfather grew Dahlias for a long time and when he passed away I wanted to continue growing them. That’s one of the main reasons why I entered,” Carder said.
The winner of the Best of Show Creative category was Marian Moeckel of Troy. Moelkel is a former biology teacher at Troy High School. She also had a garden outside of her classroom and would hang up ribbons in her room that she had won from different gardening competitions.
The theme of creative category was “Going in Circles.” Moeckel used embroidery hoops and Slinky’s in her design. The flowers she chose were a Lily, Hosta Leaf and Palm Leaf.
“I enjoy it and I’m also a flower show judge. I have been in garden clubs for 16 years and I am a member of the Alpha Garden Club and the Blooming Betsys,”Moeckel said.
Richard Smith of Troy won first place in the Rose category. Smith has been growing roses for 30 years and has 75 rose bushes around his home
“I cut a fresh rose from my garden to enter on the day of the contest. Water and sunshine are very important to good growth and I only use organic fertilizer on my roses,” Smith said.
The Best of Show (except roses) overall went to Pat South of Piqua for her Hydrangea. She has been growing hydrangeas for almost 20 years. South also added that she gives a lot of the credit to nature and God. She is also a member of the Four Season Garden Club.
“It’s just a hobby I really enjoy doing. The hydrangea is my favorite because of all of the colors the plant can turn out to be,” South said.
Andy’s Garden sponsored the Flower Show this year. It’s a year round family owned business. They have been in business for more than 50 years and have locations in Troy and Piqua.
Virginia Bowers concluded by saying that “If someone has an interest in gardening to just get out and do it. If you need help or have questions ask any member of the various garden clubs and the will be glad to help you. Gardening will make you a happy person.”
Jeremy Wallace can be reached at 937-552-2199 or follow him on Twitter @TroyDailyNews