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Re: now plant clubs

In a message dated 01/27/2003 11:20:48 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
cathyc@rnet.com writes:

> I hope not to offend. Hoping to learn. My impression of horticulture 
> classes in shows is that the exhibitors strive to produce the 'perfect 
> specimen' of a particular flower (not certain if plants grown for 
> foliage are included). Again, my impression of what is required to get 
> to that 'perfect specimen' is that the gardener must create artificial 
> conditions to get that result. Kind of like those largest pumpkin 
> contests where the vine must be pruned of all developing fruits but one, 
> fed liberally, and treated to the best of environments, possibly to the 
> expense of the other plants in the garden. Then the creation must be 
> harvested and kept at peak of perfection until the judging. Certainly 
> such efforts speak to the expertise of the gardener in question, but 
> also to his/her single mindedness. Please enlighten me as to the other 
> parameters, their rationales, etc.
> Cathy
This is much more likely to be true in a plant society shows, such as Rose 
Society or Chrysanthemum Society.  What Chrysanthemum growers, and a good 
friend of mine is past president of the American Chrysanthemum Society, will g
o through to achieve those unreal-looking blooms is incredible to me.  I have 
seen Dahlia society people put umbrellas over their prize specimens prior to 
a show.
However, there is very little of that in a Standard Flower Show put on by the 
average garden club.  What we strive to achieve is well-grown plant material, 
properly named so that viewers will know what to grow if they want to 
duplicate it.  Yes, there are classes for plants grown for beauty of foliage. 
 What we often get is less than perfect.
Many times exhibitors don't know exactly what is called for, so make mistakes 
like removing all the foliage from the stem.  Yes, there are ways to make our 
specimens look better, such as grooming and conditioning properly, but never, 
never adding any substance, but the objective is just good natural specimens 
- not monsters.  In fact judges usually take off points for outsize or 
forced-looking specimens.
Go to a flower show this summer with an open mind, and enjoy what gardeners 

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