With well over 300 events hosted annually, the Bonner County Fairgrounds is one of the area’s main gathering places. Nowhere on the fairgrounds is more visible that the entrance to the main exhibit hall.
The Bonner County Gardeners Association, with help from local nurseries, and the Fair Board have transformed the landscaping along the east side of the building into what will become a four season display of color and texture.
Several days were spent by members of the Association tearing out weedy and overgrown beds, replacing them with dozens of trees and shrubs and hundreds of perennial plants that will put on a show from spring to fall.
“So far the Association has spent about $2500 and 150 volunteer hours,” said Penny Barton, BCGA Fairgrounds Committee Co-Chair. Barton, along with Co-Chair Valerie Ripley developed the design and shopped for plants and materials.
Dozens of trees and shrubs were purchased from Ponderay Garden Center, with General Manager Bill Friedmann donating an additional 7.5 yards of delivered bark mulch. All Seasons Garden and Floral was the source for several hundred perennial plants with owner Nancy Hastings donating an additional hundred dollars to the project.
The base is made up of 24 yards of soil purchased from Mountain Barn and Ranch Service with funding from the Fair Board. Owner Stan Kraly then donated another 15 yard load. Fairgrounds Groundskeepers Bob and Brandon made countless trips on a tractor to help move the material.
The irrigation system was totally replaced with materials and labor donated by the BCGA.
The final touch for the project will be a maple tree themed bench. The BCGA has contracted with a local artist for the design and build, and expects to be installing the bench in the fall.
The Bonner County Gardeners Association is a 501c3 non-profit that provides community education opportunities such as the Home Horticulture class series in the spring and fall, a monthly booth at the Farmers’ Market, and displays at the Spring Homebuilders’ Show and Bonner County Fair. They also sponsor gardening programs in the local elementary and middle schools, and conduct community beautification projects like an Adopt-A-Highway cleanup twice a year and this Fairgrounds project.