WASHINGTON — Summer is by far my favorite season. I’m just not cold tolerant at all. I love the sun, warm weather, and working in the field until there’s no light left to work by. Which brings me to one of the other things l love about summer so much: county 4-H fairs.
I was a member of the Haddon Blue Ribbon Hustler’s 4-H club in Carlisle for a decade. I took flowers each year and the last four or five, I took photography as well. The photography was the easy part. The flowers not so much.
The first few years of the flower project weren’t so bad. I planted my hanging baskets or pots early and in multiples to make sure something was blooming and perfect for judging day at the fair. In later years, I wasn’t so lucky.
Cut flowers had a love and hate relationship with me. I would have to decide several weeks in advance what I wanted my arrangement to consist of and then call around to various floral shops to find the best deal on whatever I thought I may need to complete the project. I always had to order extra and by the time it was all said and done, my project often ended up costing what a small batch of flowers for a wedding would. Cut a stem to short? Can’t use it. Flower not bloomed out the morning of judging? Better replace it now. It was always better to have more than enough than to run out and have a skimpy arrangement.
I’m sure I caused my poor mom a few gray hairs over these projects. Cut flowers are not something you can do several days in advance. In fact, I found it much easier and to wait until the wee hours of the night before the fair to construct my floral masterpiece. Each year, mom would stay with me at our farm market while I carefully worked cutting stems and arranging.