Last night, for the first time, I entered a Horticultural Society Show. I've only been a member of my local hort soc. for the last 4 months, and last night was their annual spring show and supper. Having looked through the show programme and searched my garden, I found my pot grown hellebores were over, and only 3 stems of daffodils worthy of showing, so I went along with my vases and stems and entered them into the appropriate class (of which there are 11 for daffodils and 26 in total). after a fantastic supper (most of which was homemade, - so competition will be fierce in the homecrafts later in the year) Our judge, a Mr Peach (think David Bellamy with silver beard) gave us a huge amount of advice about how to choose and display plants and flowers, - here are some of his words of wisdom and some other pearls that I picked up from other members .
HP sauce bottles make good single stem vases
Colour isn't as important as form - someone asked why the white camellias never won, and was told that it wasn't colour discrimination, just that they were more likely to be marked.
Twist and tweak until it's facing the right way
Daffodils should have their largest 3 petals at 12, 4 and 8 o'clock
Make sure you take a close look at all blooms for signs of damage, holes or discolouration
Don't be afraid to take off dead heads to tidy up stems of shrub flowers
Read the rules properly, someone entered a primrose in a polyanthus class, - it was cast aside
If you're growing plants on a window sill give them a 1/4 turn every day so they don't grow one sided.
I learnt lots and came away with an urge to grow all the things on the spring show list, just so that I can have a go at winning the coveted cups or best in show trophy. -
BUT I didn't come away empty handed, my 3 headed Triandrus and Large cup daffodils were both awarded 2nd prizes in their class (yes more than 2 entries in each class!) so beginners luck served me well, and now i'm off to get some Hellebores for floating and some Sauce bottles for soaking! so I can be well prepared for next year.