FS SCHEDULE AND JUDGING 101
By: Julie Barnes
This September Ingomar Garden Club will again demonstrate design talents and horticultural abilities through a standard flower show titled Ocean Treasures and Pleasures at the Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community. NGC and the GCFP encourage us to stage a complimentary Standard Flower Show to educate and challenge garden club members along with the public. But, the support of all our members is really needed for a shows success even if you submit only one entry. This is a chance to learn something new whether it’s showcasing beautifully grown horticulture or artistically designing an arrangement beyond one typically seen. So, what should you know the about the flower show schedule as well as the judging? Clearly, the schedule happens to be the” law of our show" completely covering the rules that we the exhibitors are expected to adhere to. Important information such as show location, times for entering horticulture specimens, when judging is to take place, what times the show becomes open to the public, and finally the shows dismantling are covered. Additionally, the schedule announces obtainable awards and the different divisions, sections and classes with guidelines for each division. General rules convey: acceptable specimens, how they are to be staged, whether the flower show committee will provide vases or wedging material for cut specimen displays, the length of time potted plants must be in your possession, and that a properly labelled entry card, furnished by the classification committee, must accompany all exhibits. In the design categories, arrangements are so unique, each are classed with specific rules to follow and are overseen by a supportive consultant who conducts workshops or answers questions.
After you enter specimens or displays into a flower show what do the judges look for? Essentially: Did you, the exhibitor, follow the rules in the schedule? By reading it in advance you could easily ask a FS committee chairman about something you could not understand. Your exhibit must be correctly labeled with genus, species and variety or cultivar, then, if you want, the common name, as a teaching tool for others. In many a show improper labeling has prevented exhibitors from winning. So, identify and record exactly what you grow. Proper plant grooming is essential by removing old flowers or dead leaves especially those that will be in water. Container plants must be disease or bug free, or else, they will be disqualified and removed to prevent further spread to other exhibits. For horticulture vase entries you must follow exactly how they are to be displayed. For instance: The annual, ageratum is to be shown as a spray, a single main stem with blooms on side branches. Gladiolus is demonstrated as a flower spike, a sturdy stem with flowers directly attached. Small zinnias or cosmos are posed with 3 blooms. A dahlia bloom must be disbudded by neatly removing the side buds or shoots so that you show off one flower on the stem tip with a single set of leaves. Arboreal branches should not be too big or small. Pay attention to acceptable pot sizes. Display the correct number of fruits or vegetables. And, never use artificial plant material or endangered plant species in the design division. So, if you follow the rules you may be surprised at what you could accomplish after a group of accredited flower show judges evaluate your display. Then you have the pleasure of seeing others admire your hard work once the public views the show. So, let’s get energized for “Ocean Treasures and Pleasures.”