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Flower power at this year’s fair

  • Dot Zanotti Ingels
  • The theme of the 2017 Marin County Fair is “Let the Funshine In.” Who is better at digging it and flower power than a UC Marin Master Gardener?

    We look for every opportunity to share our passion with everyone in Marin and the fair is one of our favorite places to meet many like-minded folks who want to make a beautiful difference in their gardens. This year we have five groovy days to celebrate all things pollinator. Come by and see how pollination works, why we would not be here without it, how and why our pollinators are endangered and what we can do to welcome and support them in their essential chores.

    We are excited to take flower power up a notch by showing you the power that is the flower. Our super-charged, garden-themed tent will be full of pollinator-attracting plants that focus on attracting (and keeping) hummingbirds, butterflies, honey and native bees, beneficial insects (like lady beetles) and surprise pollinators (like bats and flies) to the garden. The work of our pollinators is essential and strikingly beautiful. It is also inspiring and they have so much to teach us about evolving and working together.

    We will showcase flowering plants that demonstrate how flowers have learned to attract their pollinators with their shape, fragrance, color patterns and more. We will show you how home gardeners can support our pollinators by providing them the forage plants they need to thrive, safe nesting opportunities, protective cover and a water source. We will provide you with resources like plant lists and plant tags with cultivation requirements.

    You can find us in the agriculture area of the fairgrounds. The Marin Master Gardeners will staff the tent every day from 10:45 a.m. until 7:15 p.m. We are eager to answer your questions about attracting pollinators to your garden and to show you first-hand how beautifully it can be done. Short presentations will be given each day at 2 and 4 p.m. The presenters will stay afterwards to welcome questions.

    • On June 30, Bob Mauceli’s “Habitat Gardening” talk will illustrate how and why using native plants in your landscape is a way to help make up for habitat lost to development. Because native plants have co-evolved with native birds, butterflies, bees, other insects and mammals, planting them in your gardens helps maintain these populations.

    • On July 1, Connie Pelissero and Jeanne Ballestero will demonstrate how to “Create a Bee-Friendly Garden” that will provide a year-round habitat to attract and keep the many bee species living in Marin County.

    • On July 2, Diane Lynch will show how to get to know both well-known and unusual pollinators in her “Pollinators Make the World Go Round” presentation.

    • Join Jenine Stilson and Keri Pon on July 3 for “Edible Flowers: Beyond the Beauty” as they discuss which flowers or parts of flowers are safe to eat and offer creative ideas on how to use them.

    • July 4 brings “What about the Other Pollinators?” with Betsy McGee. We all know the importance of bees as pollinators, but there are other pollinators that contribute to the reproductive success of the plants in our gardens.