Spotlight on the State Fair Plant Show

Have you ever considered entering the Minnesota State Fair plant show sponsored by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society? It’s a fun event and a great way to share your gardening efforts with fellow enthusiasts.

Here’s the story of one family and how the State Fair plant show has become a family tradition:

“About 15 years ago, I told my mom that our plants looked as nice as the plants in MSHS’ plant show at the state fair and that we should enter,” says Jenny Cain. She and her mother, Linda Hufius, have submitted plants for competition ever since, winning many awards over the years. Jenny’s daughter, Kyra, got interested in exhibiting when she was 12 years old.

Vicky Vogels (rear) assists Kyra, Linda and Jenny as they register for the plant show.

Vicky Vogels (rear) assists Kyra, Linda and Jenny as they register for the plant show.

Jenny and Linda love diverse and unusual plants and choose the most eye-catching ones from their gardens. Linda has won firsts with tropical Crossandra. Kyra’s Mexican petunia won reserve grand champion a couple years ago.

Exhibiting is fun, Linda says. “Make it interesting, and don’t think of it as work.” Jenny recommends finding the type of plant that interests you, then read up on it to make it thrive. “Add cute embellishments to the plant to spark kids’ interests,” Jenny says.

Despite problems with pests and sometimes drought, the family looks forward to bringing their plants to the Minnesota State Fair each year. They spend hours prepping and getting the plants displayed just right. Jenny loves seeing it all come together. Not unlike the fair itself, Linda says, “It’s the people, the talking and the competing that I love.”

This year, try your hand at exhibiting plants from your garden at the Minnesota State Fair. Houseplants must have been owned and grown by the exhibitor since Jan. 1, 2015. Annuals must have been under the horticulture care of the exhibitor by June 1.

—Vicky Vogels

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of Northern Gardener.

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