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Judging Leaves.... much to be desired.

Having taken one cut leaf judging clinic and participating in one cut leaf
judging event(Peoria) I hold the view that many participants don't have the
same understanding of the rules. It also was common knowledge who's entries
we were judging. One member of our group of five was in tears because they
knew how hard the people entering the leaf show worked and the one they
wanted voted first in our group got second.

After about an hour and a half our group of five had narrowed the 12 entries
were we judging down to just two vying for first place. After 20 minutes we
could not come to a conclusive vote.(We were tied 2 to 2. One member had to
exclude themselves because one of the two hostas we were voting on was their

Bill Zumbar comes walking by and we decide to ask his opinion. Without
breaking stride Bill picked our winner by pointing. We had almost two hours
involved in judging what Bill picked out on a walk by.

Holes in the leaf, cotton not white enough, petiole cut too short, not
enough water in the vase, a speck of dirt on the leaf,.....etc. Was that tap
or mineral water in the vase? Is the leaf true to type for this cultivar.

When reading the judges handbook I noticed that advancement up the judging
ladder takes many years. Some positions more than a decade. It's based on
how many shows you judge and the number of years you have been involved.
There is no competency requirement or testing that I am aware of. I would
love to see some random testing of judges for competency.

It's not just the time and effort involved in these shows that I am
complaining about. I question the usefulness of the results. Does one leaf
tell you very much about the worthiness of a hosta? The answer is no.

I think I'll leave judging to those with the correct temperament.

Dan Nelson

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