Well, of course my gardens are looking good this year. I’m even growing a cauliflower and cucumbers with success. My hosta leaves look terrific and pots are flowering. You might know all this planning and care is just for my family, neighbors and me this year, but wait! The Beltrami County Fairboard subcommittee on alternate events has a plan up their garden sleeves.

It offers participants an opportunity to share their good ideas for creating showy planters, garden creations and displays, ones that stand out from a distance. Front yards are viewed from the street and that is what this competition emphasizes in its “drive-by” horticultural competition to be held at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds on Aug. 15.

The plan includes horticulture entries in five categories using usual horticultural guidelines plus one additional guideline: the displays should be easily visible from a car passing slowly by so viewers can vote on entries.

At this writing entrants will be asked to unload and stay with their entries in the area specified (at a six-foot distance between entries). Those casting a vote will not be allowed out of their car. There will be no fee for any entries or participants.

The committee plans to use gift cards from local businesses for first and second place winners in each of the five categories. All entries must use flowers, herbs or vegetables from the garden of the entrant. Specifics and registration forms are available online at bcmnfair@paulbunyan.net or call the County Extension office to obtain information and to register at (218) 444-5722.

General information will be available on the above website, but here is a summary of the categories:

  1. Any hanging basket with a minimum of 12 inches in diameter. It can contain one specimen or several and entrant will be asked to provide the stand for display, e.g., shepherd’s crook.
  2. Any patio or porch pot with a minimum of 18 inches tall. It can contain any specimens of flowers or vegetables that looks pleasing and dramatic when viewed from a car.
  3. A decorated chair that is a minimum of two feet tall, using a minimum of three plants or plant material from your garden.
  4. A life-size garden creation such as a scarecrow or comic strip character that can sit or stand on its own. Use your imagination – no purchased creations.
  5. Any unique decorative garden art designed to hold or showcase plants of choice. Use your imagination.

The public is invited to drive past the displays and vote on the best examples, a COVID-19 substitute for viewing our county’s most creative horticulture displays! Displays will last for a two to three hour window. Mark your calendar for the date and contact the Extension Office for particulars about being a gardening exhibitor. Pre-registration must be in by Aug. 7.

Thanks go to the Fairboard for giving area gardeners an opportunity to display their “wares” and provide the public with a healthy, gardening-based activity. If you are a gardener, we hope you will participate. If you are looking for ideas, join the cue and get ideas for your front yard for next year.

These local garden articles will reach you each week throughout the gardening season, but also click on "Yard and Garden” at the University of Minnesota Extension website -- www.extension.umn.edu -- for gardening information, or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Beltramicountymastergardeners.

Local Master Gardeners will respond to questions via voicemail. Call (218) 444-7916, and leave your name, number and question.