“Horticulture is the science and art of cultivating plants – flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees and shrubs. From its inception, National Garden Clubs (NGC) has emphasized horticulture and it educational value to the community through Standard Flower Shows. All who participate are provided an opportunity to exhibit and view well grown, well groomed, correctly identified, fresh plant material.” Handbook for Flower Show, revised 2017.
Choosing a horticulture specimen for exhibiting at a flower show does not begin on the day before the show begins. Planning weeks or months in advance may help to produce a show-stopping entry. Plants grown from seed or even transplants take time to mature and be at their best for a show. A thorough review of the flower show schedule provides information on the types of horticulture entries allowed in an individual show. For any show, all horticulture entries MUST follow certain requirements.
Grown by the exhibitor
Possessed by the exhibitor for at least 90 days – individual specimen
Grown together for at least 6 weeks – combination plantings
May not be altered (treated) with products that may artificially change the natural color and/or texture
Preparing an entry All entries in flower shows are judged against “perfection” with a starting score of 100 points. Imperfections, or faults, cause points to be removed. Plants or cut specimens are grown and groomed to create the best possible entry. Techniques to consider when preparing an entry for horticulture exhibiting include the following.
Disbud (remove extra buds) to allow plants energy to create one special bloom – requires advance planning
Remove spent leaves and blooms
Select specimen at peak bloom time
Condition cut specimen – general info, some plant require special conditioning
Water plant in morning
Cut in late afternoon or evening
Cut with sharp knife or scissors
Place cut stem into tepid water
Store in cool, dark, draft-free location for several hours or overnight
Cut stem, again, just before exhibiting
Clean container of potted specimens
Remove debris and tidy soil surface
Complete horticulture entry card
Botanical name – Genus species cultivar
From schedule – Division, Section, Class, Entry number (assigned by entry chair)
The Wisconsin Garden Club Federation founded in 1928 is a charter member of the National Garden Club organization. As an organization, we are proud of our heritage of developing relationships with fellow gardeners, learning, and gardening for good in our communities.