Helpful remarks made by Flower Show Judges to the Flower Show Committee Members
Grooming is essential. Remove evidence of insects, disease, dust, stains, pollen and any other foreign material from blooms and foliage, making sure that it does not change the appearance of the specimen.
Make sure the vase size is correct for the specimen. You will want to show off both the flower and the leaves to their best. Use clear vases when possible. You can use clear plastic wrap to fill bottom of vases to raise flowers and leaves above the rim of the vase, this is not visible in a textured vase.
The following things are taken into consideration when judging an ‘Any Other’ category – follow them and it might help you in getting a 1st place:
1. Naming of the specimen.
2. More points are given if the flower is unusual and difficult to grow.
3. White is considered more difficult to grow than any other colour.
Rose blooms should be 1/2 to 3/4 open when viewed from the top and should always include foliage. Blow on your rose specimen to get it to open. Use vase according to the size of the rose. Roses floating in water should be fully open and usually shown without foliage. Buds showing colour are classified as a bloom and should be removed.
Make sure your vegetables are clean and placed on a plate not on the tablecloth. When the show schedule calls for more than one specimen – make sure they are of the same size.
Succulent plants (including cacti) are plants that retain a high proportion of moisture in their cells. These moisture-retaining cells may be in the body, the roots and/or the leaves, and this portion of the plant is enlarged or thickened. Bromeliads, Orchids and bulbs are not considered to be succulents in this context.
A Cactus is distinguished by its ‘areoles’, woolly pads from which hairs, spines, flowers, branches and even leaves may emerge. Other succulents (non-cacti) may have hairs, spines or thorns but they would be growing from the plant’s surface as on a rose. Note that in a few cactus species the areole wool may not be obvious – plants such as the Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus have the wool embedded in the tips of the stem segments.
Collections of garden flowers, garden foliage, wildflowers and perennials:
When judging: the numbers count, clean water in the vase counts. Make sure the vase is appropriate to the collection. The arrangement of the collection can also play a big role.
African Violets: The leaves should circle the pot with the flowers in the center. Make sure you only have one plant (crown) in the pot. Remove discoloured/broken or dead leaves. Remove dead flowers. Clean leaves gently with a soft brush to remove dust. To make a perfect circle of leaves you can move the leaves a little at a time with sticks.
To condition tulips:
Wrap the flowers individually in 3 – 4 sheets of newspaper and place them in a pail of lukewarm water for several hours to straighten and strengthen them. Tulips also like a little aspirin. Stamen should be fresh and stems strong and straight. The tulip should be slightly open and have no more than two leaves.
To condition narcissus:
Place the flowers in cool shallow water, and keep them apart from other plants for at least 24 hours. Stamen should be fresh with no pollen on petals and stems strong and straight. Foliage is not attached to the scape and should not be included. Past prime Narcissus have transparent petals. The spathe (beige sheath) of the flower which covered the bud should not be removed.
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth): Stems should be of same size and stage of development
Iris: Straight, well balanced stalks. Branching should be such that flowers and buds are not clustered or crowded. Should show both flowers and buds and look fresh. Take off dead flowers. The presence of a terminal flower (situated on the top of the stem) is a definite asset, if removed you will loose points.
Peony: Must be dis-budded. All leaves except the uppermost are to be removed. Doubles need to be fully open when shown. Flowers should be round when viewed from the top.
Floating clematis: Make sure container is the right size. The clematis must be floating. To avoid having your clematis waterlogged – wait until you get to the show to put it in the container.
Lily: Florets should be spaced so as not to crowd each other and arranged symmetrically around the stem. Lower florets should be open but not fading and upper ones in bloom. Anthers should not be removed or the pollen allowed to stain the petals.
Black Eyed Susan: Note – this is a spray. A spray is the terminal flowering growth of a herbaceous or woody plant carried on one stem. Ideally it would show all forms, e.g. flowers in bloom, buds showing colour, green buds and leaves. The number of flowers on the spray counts, the more the better.
Hosta and Heuchera; When showing leaves as a specimen make sure the leaves are all the same size.
Delphinium: Spikes should be long, tapering or columnar in shape with at least 2/3 of florets open. Laterals may be removed to improve balance.
Marigold: Flowers should be the same size and stage of development. Make sure the container is the appropriate size to the flowers.
Gaillardia: Remove dead flowers.
Sedum: Flowers need to be open. Should have big flat flower heads, long stems with leaves showing.
Phlox: Include leaves.
Gladiolus: Should have 1/3 open florets, 1/3 buds showing colour and 1/3 buds not showing colour. Taper of the spike should be gradual.
Dahlia: Remove dead parts on the back of the flower. Remember to dis-bud. The Centre of the flower should be regular and closed.
Zinnia: Remember to scald or burn ends
Chrysanthemum: A spray is the terminal flowering growth of a herbaceous or woody plant carried on one stem. Ideally it would show all forms, e.g. flowers in bloom, buds showing colour, green buds and leaves. The number of flowers on the spray counts, the more the better.