Three generations of green thumbs

FRESNO, California

Just south of the grandstand across from the livestock pavilion is "The Greenhouse" ... home to all things floriculture ... brimming with a myriad of plants, flowers, garden ideas and exhibits and one Great Dane, Samson. He belongs to Jennifer Waite, the floriculture building supervisor. He's a handful but Waite's real challenge is having two employees who are also her mother and her grandmother.

"It actually works out quite well, I step back a lot," said Waite. "I would like to think I'm in charge ... but that's only in title only."

Her grandmother, 89-year-old Pat Westphal, records the work of the floriculture judges who grade the myriad of entries.

Waite adds, "They are all here to be judged. At some point all we be judged against the standard and against each other."

Jennifer Waite's mother, 68-year-old Barbara Westerfield, has a long history with this fair. She's now the assistant supervisor for the floral exhibits and helped plan the way they are laid out. Westerfield said, "Our design is to make it easy to see all of the exhibits."

Westerfield loves the idea of getting a bit lost in blooms and plants. "I remember my great-aunt's garden and it was a meandering garden, you didn't just walked through it was kind of paths to the left ... paths to the right."

Amid the beauty and the practical offerings to help make your plants and flowers grow is another 'must have' for any garden setting.

Ok, maybe you may not attract dozens of exotic and native birds but these offer another reason to add this place to every fair-goers list.

Pat Westphal adds, "And of course, it's a big attraction for the kids. When the kids come in: big, little, all they all love the birds."

As for this trio ... Fair time is their time.

Jennifer Waite, "We actually look at this as a team project. We need to do this a family and it's a wonderful experience."

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