Working with the Show Schedule

by Joyce Gammie
Once you decide to enter a Garden Show, it is extremely important to familiarize
yourself with the Show Schedule. A couple of weeks before the show (or earlier), take
time to read the complete schedule from cover to cover. Make sure you understand the
rules and definitions.
Cut Flower Classes
About two weeks before the show, read through the cut flower section and think about
what you have in your garden that may be ready to enter. It is a good idea to take the
schedule into the garden with you and put a check beside the classes you think may be
at their best on the day of the show. You may want to tie supports to tall plants so they
don’t suffer damage during wind or rain before the show date. Extra water and/or a dose
of fertilizer at this time may help too.
A couple of days before the show, check your previous selections again and make
some final choices. Reread the schedule to see if containers are supplied for your
entries or if you need to take your own, and take note of how many stems are required
for each class. If possible, fill out the entry forms at home rather than leaving it to the
time of staging.
Decorative Division
Well ahead of the show date, read the Decorative Section of the schedule and decide
which classes you would like to enter. Check to see if there are specific parameters you
must adhere to (container choice, colour, size, design style, etc). You may want to make
a sketch of your design plan and list the possible choices of flowers and foliage for each
category you have chosen. Organize as much as possible ahead of the day you plan to
make your designs (containers, oasis, tools).
Judging the Show
The Cowichan Valley Garden Shows are judged by members of the Vancouver Island
Horticulture Judging Group which is based in Victoria.
When the Judges arrive at a show, they do a ‘walk about’ before the actual judging
begins. They are checking to see that entries are in the correct categories, if any
classes need to be divided into subcategories, if there the correct number of stems, if
size requirements been met, etc. At this time, it is still possible to move entries that may
be improperly placed, preventing a “Not According to Schedule” disqualification.
Judges are looking for perfection. They are not judging one entry against another, but
looking to see how each entry matches the ideal for that exhibit. Most judging is done by
the process of elimination, narrowing down the considerations for awards. Judges look
at each entry carefully, checking the condition, form, colour, stem/foliage, and damage
from weather or insects, before making their final selections.

Posted in Flower Show Tips