Whatever other innovations y'all apply to your flower show set-ups, I hope
you are thinking of them as opportunities for public education and
outreach. Please consider printed placards that explain for strangers what
judges look for in each category that's on display. De-mystify the
exhibits. Put general guidelines in writing, either on the wall or on each
table. You don't have to exhaust the viewer with specifics, but a few
well-chosen generalities will help counter the tendency "silent" shows have
of scaring away potential participants.
Even a few excerpts from judges' remarks of praise posted under your best
of show would be useful.
When Mom took me to my first iris show (and again at the local orchid
show), all we could do was wander among the jars wondering what was wrong
with the flowers that hadn't won. If I hadn't been accompanied by the Most
Interested Woman Alive (who never lets her native shyness cripple her
desire for knowledge), I would have slunk out of there without ever
speaking to any of the pleasant people assigned to answer questions.
The strangers you hope will pass through your show and become interested in
growing iris have grown up in a uniform-expectations, chainstore consumer
culture. They're habituated to reading the setup; they don't expect to have
to make new friends before they can understand what's being *shown* by your
show. If your setup is mute, they'll go away thinking only Gnostics need
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Little Rock, AR ... where it looks like spring, feels like spring, sounds
like spring, but it's not.