WRAL.com at the State Fair

Surprises at the Flower and Garden Show

Posted October 23, 2010 11:55 a.m. EDT

Why do I let myself get surprised by the Flower and Garden show? Every year I go, expecting to see just the entries in the gardening contest, and every year I find much more than that.

Bonsai -- Not only is there a large display of bonsai, but you can vote on your favorite one. Japanese Maple! Azalea!

Trains -- There's a whole train layout on display with two running trains, courtesy of the North Carolina Garden Railroad Society. If you like your trains a little bigger, there's also a huge Thomas the Tank Engine on display as well.

Mums-A-Poppin' -- No, the chrysanthemums were not exactly a surprise; this is the Flower and Garden Show, after all. What was a surprise to me was how vibrant they were. 2010 is a good year for mums!

Lights and Birdseed -- For real surprises you have to go behind the Flower and Garden Show and up the hill. You'll find a number of things, starting with a flock of plastic pink flamingos and a display of lamps which have been converted into bird feeders. Those have been placed by Mary Jo's Studio; if you want to learn more about her she's on Etsy.

A new barrel monster and a large mantis -- The Barrel Monster has a new friend! Not far away there's a mantis constructed, it seems, out of garden equipment.

The most common thing you'll hear in the Home and Garden Center area: "I never knew that was here!"