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Challenges of a flower show

Trout Lake News for Nov. 3

By the

Trout Lake Newswriters

Maxine Bulick, 395-2101

Sarah Burr Arnold, 395-2669

Sean McGroarty, 395-9394

Kira Fogarty

The following guest column was submitted by Susan Lourne about the flower contest at the 2011 Fair. Susan replaced Carley Tipton who served first as booth coordinator and then as judge for many years, so Susan had some big shoes to fill.

"Flowers at the Trout Lake Fair"

A disconcerting silence followed my proud announcement to friends in Mosier that I'd been asked to judge the flowers at the Trout Lake Fair, my first year in residence. One of them finally asked if I was sure whoever asked me to do that really liked me. Though I still don't question Pat Arnold's basic benevolence, I've been wearing sunglasses to the post office ever since.

But time heals all wounds and it's time to look boldly into the future in light of lessons learned. Two stand out. First, Trout Lake is a wild and perennial kind of town. Second, my own taste in flowers runs to invasive species.

In 2011, flower entries at the fair, for purposes of judging, were divided into three categories: perennials, annuals and potted plants. I perhaps foolishly expected that all entries would be cultivated flowers -- the vegetables were all cultivated (?). In fact, the majority of entries were a glorious mix of cultivated perennials and wild flowers, casually flung together with fruit, thistles, shrub blossoms, ditch grasses. Hard to resist, particularly if captivatingly named something like "Trout Lake Roadsides." Purely cultivated annual entries were decidedly scarce. A grouping with a very appealing annual in a live kiwi vase was, alas, submitted after deadline.

Admittedly, "Best of Show" consisted primarily of invasive species, while perfect, pristine white shrub blossoms and an operatically dramatic mix of deep red monarda with hot pink thistles were completely lost in the storm. Under all these circumstances, is it any wonder the blue ribbon in the annual (adult) category went to a potted plant?

Anyway, Pat asked me for suggestions for next year's fair, and I've offered some.

First, fight to the death for continuation of the "People's Choice" award.

Second. let's forever release arbitrary distinctions among annuals, perennials, potted plants, shrubs, weeds, wildflowers, grasses and the like.

It also seems expedient to clear up any uncertainty about cultivated versus wild flowers. As a policy matter, we certainly hope that your noxious weeds and invasive species are not cultivated. Otherwise, flowers are flowers, and it's an open field.

Finally, I suggest the following categories be employed in the judging: Most Zen; Most flamboyant; Best formal arrangement; Best informal/country arrangement; Best "Found-Art"- wildflowers only; Healthiest/most perfect blossom(s) and foliage; Most original concept.

Please address all responses to the above to Patricia Louise Arnold, Trout Lake.

Susan Lourne


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