Master Gardeners of Hamilton County built a “GARDEN GREEN” project for our 2008 County Fair. The Fair is an excellent site to allow maximum exposure to the general public for viewing. Climate change, water restrictions and the misuse of our precious resources, our theme targeted conservation and resourcefulness of our natural elements.
Different, areas of gardening were built for all types of gardeners, including raised beds for gardeners unable to kneel, container gardens for those who have no bed areas, composting systems for those who want to be good stewards of the land, proper use of pesticides and storing water through the use of rain barrels.
PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION:
Hamilton County Master Gardeners number over 150 strong. A membership meeting was the site of generating the theme and direction of the Fair display. Over 80 members worked on building, setting up, tearing down and actual hands on time during the Fair days.
Each type of garden displayed had Master Gardeners teaching how to create these methods of conservation and how to maximize their output. The information tent was abundant with boards containing photos and information which was also made available on the MGHC website. This section generated many visitors and many hits to the web site.
An actual Living Green Roof with a rain barrel collection system built on a house façade which ran into a stream bed and ended up in a pond with native plants, drew much attention. A compost site had worms and interaction with temperatures of the layers of compost beds.
Composting was another display of great interest and worm packs were available to create healthy compost systems. The community is becoming better stewards of the land.
SIGNIFICANT LEARNING AND IMPACTS:
The Fair garden’s theme was “Garden Green.” Xeriscape gardens showed how to use less water, using the soil smarter, and planting wiser by using native varieties of plants and trees and interest was said to be well received. Rain barrel collection systems are now being taught by Master Gardeners because of the huge interest, composting is now a much more friendly term and many young visitors to the display got to feel soil and see worms in action in the compost bed.
An information tent was abundant with learning displays of all of the gardens that were on display. The HCMG web site was written out on business cards and contained all of the same information that was on display in the tent. Because of the informal setting of the gardens and presentation , information must be presented to visitors in a quick attention format, so the visual impact was important. Having created a beautiful place to enter, the garden set the tone for visitors to want to recreate many of the ideas that they saw, smelled and touched.
Watch for more information about MGHC’s 2009 County Fair exhibit “Art in the Garden”