The Joy of Competitive Gardening

03/04/2018 23:40

Now that we are starting to thaw out, we look forward to another gardening year. The vision
for our upcoming August Standard Flower Show titled, A Day of Wine and Roses, will be
realized at the Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community. According to our membership roster
there are several new members that will be introduced to this experience. In this month of March,
particularly, many will visit the 189th Philadelphia Flower Show to behold its horticultural
wonders. This flower show is produced by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and
originated from a goal to inspire a taste for gardening and to cultivate that fondness even further.
What began as the simple custom of members demonstrating their horticultural achievements at
early meetings has led to a profitable annual public exhibition. Prior to each show, advance
planning gets underway 2 to 3 years earlier; developing a theme, sketching out plans, and
devising competitive class titles that adhere to the show’s theme, such as, this years "Wonders of
Water," celebrating the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water. In the
competitive classes of horticulture and artistic design most entrants are amateurs who embrace
the challenge of competing with professional horticulturists and floral designers. Similarly, IGC
flower show committee members have met regularly over the past year choosing a theme,
determining designs, and naming classes to advance the theme. NGC and the GCFP encourage
us to stage a complimentary Standard Flower Show to educate and challenge garden club
members along with the public. Since our event is held in August, there should be plenty of plant
material available to show off. For new members, flower show participation can seem especially
intimidating. Once again, the objective is to learn something new while being pushed out of
your comfort zone. Here is a chance to showcase beautifully grown horticulture or to artistically

design an arrangement beyond one typically seen. In the artistic design categories the
arrangements are unique with specific rules to conform to and there is even one specific to
design novices only. Total support is offered through a consultant overseeing each one of these
classes to answer questions and conduct workshops. Give it a try! In the horticulture division, do
not think for one second that an experienced gardener has the edge on a beginner. Gardening
already has the playing field leveled as each gardener copes with conditions such as quirky
weather, troublesome insects or diseases. If you are already planning a vegetable garden,
consider planting something that will be prize-winning. Some gardeners may plan ahead for what
they will plant, grow and show at the flower show, others may just wait and see what looks good
in the garden when it is time to produce entries. Either strategy you decide on should work.
Maybe, ponder some of these points for success: As you choose plant varieties consider ones
with descriptions such as good performer, dependable, consistent, reliable, prolific, or high yield.
Schedule planting dates, especially if you are growing anything from seed. Start with the flower
show date then count backwards the number of days for flowers or vegetables to reach maturity.
Since these dates are estimates, perhaps some of the seeds may need planting even sooner while
others a little later than the date. Even think about planting an unusual variety of something that
is sure to capture attention. Once you acquire a copy of the flower show schedule it is
imperative that you follow all the rules within it. Winning a ribbon for all of your hard work can
be quite exciting. When everyone comes to the show they can see and learn from your


So, let the competition begin!!!!