Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Fest at the IGC

My favorite nursery is a locally owned Independent Garden Center (IGC) called Green Acres.  They have three locations and a fourth one in the plans which is quite a testament when you consider how many other nurseries have had to close shop in the last several years due to the economy and competition from larger stores like Home Depot and Lowes.  I'm not a Big Box basher by any means but a few years ago I pledged that I would only buy plants and related products from IGCs.  I still by tools, lumber, bricks, and Christmas lights at Home Depot though.

One of the reasons I made this pledge was because IGCs and other locally-owned businesses contribute to the quality of my life in ways that publicly owned companies cannot.  The 2013 Fall Festival put on by Green Acres is Exhibit A.

My daughter enjoying her scary balloon.
I suppose Home Depot could put something like this together. I know they have Saturday morning workshops for parents and their kids and a friend of mine takes his daughter often.  But this Fall Festival was on another scale entirely.

We left before the stage was used.  I was afraid it would involve a scarecrow strip tease.

The pumpkin bowling, mini golf and duck races were put on by American River College horticulture students.  This is a great volunteer opportunity as well as a chance for the students to spend some time "in the trenches" and get a taste for what it would be like to work in the retail side of their field.

Pumpkin bowling.
This is a much different version of the game me and my hooligan friends played as kids.

Mini-golf course using fresh sod, jack-o-lanterns and some bender board.  Ingenious.

In addition to the games, there were balloon makers and face painters making kids' days for free.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
 And, of course, there were pumpkins and gourds galore.

There were also some educational opportunities for us including some of information on the Sacramento Bee Keepers association (I think that's what they called themselves).  When we first walked up to the bees I started talking to my daughter about them and I was shocked to discover that she knew more about them than I did.  She knew, for instance, that all the bees we were looking at were females.  Apparently the male drones get kicked to the curb much earlier in the season and quickly die from exposure.  So this time of year it's just the Queen Bee and her workers in the hive.  I guess I've been away from school too long.

All these bees are chicks.

I got to sample a few different types of honey from areas close to here.  It was remarkable how different the texture and taste was when the distance separating these hives was less than 10 miles.

They had sno-cones, cotton candy, and drinks too.  All free.

My favorite part of the morning, however, was when my little girl decided she wanted to take a turn taking pictures of the plants.  I think I've got a future garden blogger in my midst.

My little photo bug.

Going in for the macro shot.

Of course, occasions like this aren't the only good reason to spend 100% of my gardening dollars at IGCs.  But I would really miss this type of thing if Green Acres went out of business.  And how do you put a price on the opportunity to make memories like these?


  1. How cute! My kids always surprise me with how much they know about animals, too (all those educational tv shows!) I love independent nurseries, though some I've been to recently here in the Northeast have been so outrageous I'm not quite sure how they stay in business ($75 for an ordinary shrub you can buy anywhere, really?!) I'm still finding the good nurseries up here, needless to say, but I do usually buy my shrubs and trees at independent nurseries, and then fill in the garden with the poor rejects at the discount section at the big box stores. And the good nurseries have events like the one you went to!

  2. That was a very impressive festival. I can only imagine the amount of work it took to make the displays and the games. I prefer to support the local nurseries here, too, but it is always tempting to buy a much cheaper version of a common shrub at the Big Box Stores. I didn't know the worker bees got kicked out of the hive, either. And I think it's great you have a budding photographer!