I'm going to throw in my opinion on this - I love a good argument!
Firstly, any judge who has his/her opinion changed by seeing a photo of a
variety in a book or calendar is, in my opinion, not fit to be an accredited
judge. Any evidence of any judge being diverted from their true path by this
should be made known to the relevant authorities and that judge should be
Secondly, value your judging system - it's better than the RHS system. Here a
committee decides what should receive awards by passing a cut stem around a
table in a committee room - no test of the value of any plant. The only
exception are the awards after trial - also pretty hopeless because the
trials are usually only held at Wisley, a fairly mild garden with free
draining acidic black sandy soil. The trial field is on a south facing slope
too, next to one of the country's busiest roads (lots of noise, so
uncomfortable for visitors, and lots of pollution - we all know that
pollution leads to reduced incidence of leaf spot and rust) - OK for most
irises but not much use for some shade loving perennials.
In fact, I've always thought the the AIS awards system was one of the best
and most fair......I always use it as a guide to the value of a plant. By
that I mean that I generally find those with good awards to be good plants.
This does not mean to say that those without awards will necessarily be bad
Croftway Nursery, UK
Still grey and cold here - very boring. Change due on Friday though - it will
be colder and wet. Lovely! :-(