Make no mistake about it: there's a competitive spirit among gardeners. This past weekend, I invited green thumbs on my street to show off the best, biggest, most beautiful and just plain weird fruits, veggies, or flowers growing in their garden. I dubbed the event a friendly "Horticultural Showdown." The only rule was that participants had to have grown their own entries. I placed a collection of zinnias and my entry, the beet to beat, on a table in front of our house and waited for the fun to begin. It wasn't long before the entries started rolling in and the table started getting crowded.
There were so many beautiful entries like this collection of leafy greens, celery and apples. Until the showdown, I don't think I had ever seen anyone grow celery successfully in the city.
These green beans were a foot long!
A beautiful basket of potatoes reminded me of how much fun it is to grow potatoes.
The chayote (pronounced chay-OH-teh) squash was easily the most memorable entry of the day. This was the first time I had ever seen one. This is a plant native to Mexico but apparently very easily grown by the lady down the street.
Neighbours were invited to cast a ballot for their favourite entry. In addition to all the fabulous edibles I've shown you, neighbours also entered roses, a berberry, a venus fly-trap, a collection of herbs, a collection of massive kale leaves, beets, carrots, and hot peppers. Third place went to this collection of tomatoes and peppers.
Second prize went to a beautiful berried branch of mahonia grape. Everyone wondered if the tightly clustered berries were blueberries. You can see the branch on the left side of the picture (click to enlarge). First prize went to the perfect pumpkin on the right. Not only was it a great size and vibrant orange colour but it was entirely unblemished. How did the squirrels and raccoons miss it? There was much hooting and hollering as the winners were announced. They each collected a modest prize of some seeds or spring bulbs that I scrounged up. It was an incredibly fun day even if the beet to beat never stood a chance.