Apartment Garden Blues (Blog): Plant Competitions at the 2013 OC Fair

2013 OC FairAs I've mentioned in previous blogs, I love the Orange County Fair, and my favorite part of the fair is always the plant competitions and 3-acre demonstration garden. In this week's blog, I'll show you some of the plant competitions (check back next week for more information about the 3-acre demonstration garden called "Centennial Farm").

Each year more than a million people visit the OC Fair. Last year 1,257,335 visited, and I was one of them! Last week we again made our annual trek to the fair at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., for this year's fair (themed "Come & Get It"), which runs from July 12 to August 11. Four plant competitions have been held so far this year: on July 11, 16 and 30.

More than $334,000 is offered in cash premium awards to competition entrants at this year's fair. But competition is fierce; almost 4,000 locals entered in the many competitions during the 2012 OC Fair. In addition to some winners shown below, there were many other winners for different kinds of vegetables and flowers, canned foods, homemade wines and beers and much more. The main Garden & Floral competition categories are Container Plants, Cut Flowers Dry & Silk and Fresh Arrangements, Floral Design and Fruit & Vegetable. Other competitions available at the OC Fair are in the Culinary Arts, Crafts & Hobbies, Visual Arts and Livestock categories.

When I visited, I saw the winners of the July 23 competitions, including:


Lemons 2013 OC Fair

Largest Lemon, Adult
Larry W. Lee, 1st place


Unusually Shaped Carrots

Unusually Shaped Carrot, Adult
Fred Rose, 1st place
(Greg Schroeder, 2nd place, also pictured)


Jalapeno Peppers OC Fair

Specimen Produce, Hot Pepper (Jalapeno), Adult
Erin Almond, 1st place


Tomatoes 2013 OC Fair

Specimen Produce, Adult Cherry Tomatoes
Bill Graves, 1st place
Largest Item, Adult, Largest Tomato
Kevin Mats, 1st place


Hydrangea Flowers at OC Fair

Specimen Bloom, Adult Hydrangea
Michael Manley, 1st place


Alstroemeria Flowers OC Fair

Specimen Bloom, Adult Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas)
Mortimer Shea, 1st place


DIVISION WINNERS (not pictured) for the July 23 competition

Jon Dietz, Other Dahlia, Adult, Lavender/Purple Shade

Jack and Patricia Hargrove, Professional Arrangement, Adult, Exhibitor's Choice, specify theme, Division Winner and Best in Show

Paul Hoffman, Miniature Arrangement, Adult Simply Mini

Carla Montgomery, Decorative Dahlia, Adult, Yellow Shade, Division Winner and Best in Show

Trip Montgomery, Cactus Dahlia, Adult, Red Shade, Division Winner

Hidetoshi Motozaki, Ikebana Arrangement, Adult, Exhibitor's choice, specify theme, Division Winner

Dee Sheahan, Adv Amateur Arrangement, Adult Sweet Sixteen, Division Winner

Kiyoko Way, Amateur Arrangement, Adult, Tea Time, Division Winner


For more winners for July 23 and other 2013 dates, visit ocfair.com/competitions. Maybe I'll see one of your flowers, fruits or vegetables at next year's fair!



Alexandra is a professional writer from Southern California who grows vegetables, herbs, lots of aloe vera and one giant Boston fern in her balcony garden. She also grows dracaena, pothos and English ivy indoors. She loves traveling and birdwatching in addition to gardening.

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