SATURDAY 19TH AUGUST 2017
 Preparing Flowers For The Show

Here are some general tips on preparing your flowers for the show. Guidance for some specific flowers is given after this section.

Before Cutting

  • 2 – 3 weeks prior to show, keep soil moist
  • Remove any unwanted, weak sideshoots or buds to help develop the main flower
  • If possible protect blooms from damage caused by rain and splashing from the soil

Cutting

  • Check the Show Schedule for requirements of the class you are entering
  • Cut for the show in the evening or early morning – when the flowers and foliage are cool
  • Flower stems should be cut as long as possible
  • Make a slanting cut at the end of the stalk as this will assist the uptake of water
  • Avoid handling the flowers more than is necessary
  • Carry the cut stems with the blooms facing downwards keeping the plant away from draughts or bright sunshine as much as possible
  • Try to cut sufficient flowers to allow some choice in your final selection
  • Remove undeveloped sideshoots, unopened buds and some of the lower leaves as these will divert water from the stem and flower
  • The cut stems should be plunged upright, up to their necks in deep containers of clean, cold water – preferably overnight. Place in cool position away from light because stems are drawn to the light and can become curved

Transit To Show

  • Place flowers in containers big enough to prevent the flowers becoming squashed or damaged during the journey
  • Pack cotton wool, soft paper or other similar materials between specimens to prevent movement and buffeting during the journey

Staging At The Show

  • Remove any damaged flowers together with discoloured or broken leaves which may have occurred during the journey
  • Cut a portion from the base of all flower stems to assist the uptake of water
  • Ensure the length of stalk is appropriate for the size of vase or container you are using to display your exhibit
  • Ensure all containers are filled with water otherwise the plants may wilt during the show
  • Use a water-colour brush or cotton wool to gently remove any dust or dirt from the flowers
  • Try to produce a good balance using flowers of even size and quality
  • Stems should be straight and strong, holding the flowers upright
    Flowers should have uniform colour, be bright, clear, attractive and free from feathering, peeling, fading, burning and uneven blends
  • While large flowers are desirable, substance and form can be sacrificed to obtain excessive size

Remember that a judge will evaluate the stem and foliage, the flower, the container, the arrangement and uniformity of the flowers

Links

 

Dahlias

Growing

  • Dahlias may be planted as pot-grown plants or as dormant tubers
  • Dahlias thrive on well drained, fertile soil. Prepare soil by digging in manure or garden compost and then add a top dressing of bone meal
  • Plant pot-grown dahlias after all danger of frost has passed. Plant carefully so as to avoid disturbing the root ball. Water thoroughly
  • Plant tubers directly in soil during April, early May
  • Plant in a hole about 9in (22cm) across and 6in (15cm) deep. The tuber takes about 6 weeks to develop a shoot above ground
  • When dahlias about 15in (38cm) tall stop the plants by removing the growing points – this will encourage side shoots
  • Support all plants with canes
  • About 6 weeks after planting feed weekly with a liquid fertilizer

Showing


Definitions –

  • medium…between 6 – 8in (15.2 – 20.3cm) in diameter
  • small……between 4 – 6in (10.2 – 15.2cm) in diameter
  • pompon …not exceeding 2in (5.2cm) in diameter


Decorative/Cactus Dahlias

  • Cut blooms with a sharp knife on the morning of the show
  • Choose blooms which are symmetrical and perfectly circular in outline and which are firm, clean and without blemish
  • Colour should be clear, well defined and evenly shaded
  • Blooms should be poised at an angle of not less than 45 degrees to the stem
  • Arrange exhibit so that all blooms face the front


Pompon Dahlias

  • Blooms should be perfectly globular, facing upwards on a straight, firm stem
  • Central florets compact, dense at the centre and slightly convex

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Gladioli

Growing

  • Plant corms at end of April, beginning of May
  • Gladioli like well drained but moisture retaining soil
  • Fork into the soil some gritty sand and some well rotted manure
  • Plant corms in a sunny position 6- 8in (15 – 20cm) apart and 4 – 6in (10 – 15cm) deep to ensure they do not fall over when flowering
  • Loosen the soil in the base of the hole so that the roots can penetrate easily
  • Support the stem when it is 6in (15cm) tall by attaching the stem to a cane with string
  • When the flower buds are forming, tie in the stem to the cane just below the buds to prevent the stem from breaking when the buds open

Showing

  • Select blooms which have erect spikes, are fresh and unblemished
  • Each bloom should have a long, well-balanced spike still carrying the bottom flower and numerous other regularly spaced, open and opening flowers and some buds
  • A spike should be one third in full flower, one third with buds in colour and one third green buds

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Roses

Growing

  • Roses may be purchased as either bare-root or container grown
  • All rose need a site in the sun, sheltered from the wind and fertile soil


Planting bare-root roses

  • Remove any diseased or damaged growth and cut out any thin or straggly stems at the base
  • Dig a planting hole and fork in a bucketful of organic compost mixed with a small handful of bone meal
  • Soak plant in a bucket of water for an hour before planting
  • Place rose in centre of hole and spread out the roots
  • Ensure the bud union is 1 in below the soil level, fill in the hole and lightly tread down the soil to ensure no air pockets among the roots
  • Water well


Planting container grown roses

  • Place rose in a bucket of water until the compost surface appears moist
  • Gently tease out the roots and prune any damaged or diseased branches
  • Dig a planting hole, add some bone meal to base of the hole
  • Plant so that the bud union is about 1 in below the surface
  • Water well
  • All roses require regular feeding and suitable rose fertilizers are readily available


Showing

  • To produce quality blooms remove newly formed sidebuds so that the main bud develops strongly
  • Select blooms which are three-quarters open and cut with about 12in (30cm) stem on the evening before the show
  • Remove lower leaves and thorns and plunge into a bucket of cold water up to the necks of the flowers. Keep overnight in cool place
  • Arrange rose symmetrically, placing larger blooms in front
  • Blooms should be close together but not touching

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Sweet Peas

Growing

  • Seeds can be planted either in a seed tray or in the ground where you want them to grow at the end of April, beginning of May
  • To help germination, nick the seeds with a sharp knife removing a small piece of seed coat opposite the eye
  • It is preferable NOT to soak sweet pea seeds as they are susceptible to rotting
  • Sow seeds 2 – 3in (5 – 7.5cm) apart and 2in (5cm) deep
  • Pinch out the growing tips after the first pair of leaves appear
  • Thin seedlings to 8 – 12in (20 – 30cm) apart and provide them with some support – a pea net or wigwam of canes or an individual cane (see cordon below)
  • Prepare the soil by digging a trench or by double digging and add some well rotted manure
  • Water well especially during dry spells and when flowering begins
  • Apply a liquid feed 2/3 times at fortnightly intervals
  • Dead head flowers to encourage continuous flowering


Cordon Training

  • To produce better flowers for showing, sweet peas can be trained into cordons – each plant having its own cane to grow up
  • When plant is 4 to 6 weeks old and about 12in (30cm) tall restrict the growth to one shoot by cutting or pricking out the extra shoots and tendrils
  • Tie the remaining shoot loosely to its support cane
  • Continue to nip out side shoots and remove twisting tendrils
  • Cut flowers as they open and do not allow flowers to set seed


Showing

  • Select sweet peas with strong spikes, open and fresh blooms
  • Flowers should have erect standards, rigid wings and be free from spotting or scorching
  • Flowers should be of bright colour and have long straight stems

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