Camellia on a plate of moss.  Check out your Camellia bush and select a bloom that is fresh [young but open], attractive, has no blemishes or insect damage.  Balance is important.  Select a plate that is proportional to the size of the bloom.  Finally, select a variety of moss that will go well with the plate and will show the bloom to best advantage.  There are many types of moss.  I like a compact moss.  Take a clump and mold it into a rounded mound that sits nicely above the plate with just the rim of the plate showing.  Clean the moss of all debris including needles and twigs.  After watering well I then make a hole in the center with a pencil and then pick the camellia.  Camilla leaves are allowed and one or two add to the beauty of the bloom.  Since camellia blooms wilt soon after picking I do this not long before I head to the meeting.


Chrysanthemum, one spray.  For our show we are grouping both types of sprays into one class.  The first and probably the one you will enter is called the Natural Spray and consists of flowers fully developed to buds.  The only flower that might be removed is the crown bud which might be past prime.  The other type of spray is the Exhibition spray where secondary blooms have been removed with at least four blooms remaining.  These blooms should be similar in size and stage of development.

As with all classes your exhibit should be fresh and free of damage.


Daffodil – see Narcissus


Dahlia, one bloom with own foliage.  Dahlias are classified by size, form and colour.  They are divided into 10 sizes; form is divided into 12 fully double and 7 open forms, and there are 15 colour classes.  So to have a comprehensive dahlia show you should have dozens of classes.  However, for our parlour show we have included all dahlias into one class.  Our criteria will focus on characteristics that apply to every combination of features.

Colour should be clear, clean and vibrant.

Size.  Any size is acceptable.

Form.  Any form is acceptable but each bloom should be at peak of development and true to type.  For example if you are showing a formal decorative then all the petals should be flat, broad and smooth.  The petals should be regularly arranged and gradually recurved towards the stem.  So if you do not know the classification of your dahlia then pick one where the petals all have the same form and you will be fine.  Make sure the bloom is symmetrical, circular in outline with no gaps and usually having good depth, full, tight and centered exactly over the stem. Petals should have good substance and the stem should be strong, erect, graceful, round and straight.

A dahlia must be shown with a full pair of leaves attached to the stem, a rich green colour, and the same on both sides.

The bloom should be at a 45 degree angle for most except for ball and pompom types.

The bloom should not have an open center which indicates the bloom is past peak development, and should not have a mix of petal types.  The center should not be lopsided, asymmetrical, or have missing petals.

Do not be discouraged by all this detail.  If you have a dahlia bring it in and learn from the experience!


Hellebore Collection of floating blooms. Be creative!  But remember for this class the container is important and its purpose is to display the blooms to advantage.  If the container is too ornate it will detract or if it is not the correct shape it will not display the blooms well.  But you don’t have to go out and buy a container.  A 9 inch pie plate or a dish of a similar shape will be fine for a number of blooms.  And remember the blooms must be floating but it does not say in what……but it should be a liquid. I have found that a bit of food colouring in the water can enhance the blooms but is not necessary.

It is important to select blooms that are open but not old.  The stamens should be full at the edge of the cluster but not dropping.  The great thing about this class is that the plants produce a range of ages of blooms on the same stem.  In a week or two after you have cut the blooms you want the plant will be covered again.  Select a range of colours, patterns and types and arrange them creatively in the dish.  Colours can be contrasted or blended to make patterns or designs.  For this class I find it easiest to bring freshly clipped flowers, come a bit early and set up this entry when I get to the hall.


Iris, Tall Bearded, one stem. 

Some of the information in the BCCGC Judging Standard for irises is incorrect so we will use a modified version for our classes.

The flower colour, form and substance are important.  The colour should be clear and bright and the substance and patterns if present should be pleasing.  Form will vary depending on the vintage of the cultivar but all should have three standards and three falls.  All should have erect standards but the falls can vary, again depending on vintage but both should be solid, crisp, and firm.  The beard should be evident on the upper center of each of the falls. Older or ‘historic’ cultivars [over 30 years since introduction] will have narrow standards and drooping falls with little or no ruffling and generally simple colours and patterns.  Modern cultivars will often have wide, overlapping standards and falls with abundant ruffling.

The stalk should be strong, with a slight S curve to display the blooms to advantage.  The blooms should be held slightly away from and placed at intervals along the stem to prevent bunching.  At least one bloom should be open and not showing signs of aging.

Grooming is very important.  If selecting a stalk with one or more faded blooms carefully remove them plus the ovary.  The spathe [papery  covering over the ovary] should be carefully placed over the area where the ovary was removed so no evidence of tampering is showing. Where possible do not leave finger marks along the stem.  Either be careful to not touch the stem or carefully wipe all the ‘bloom’ off the stem.

When possible select stalks where the flowers, stalks and leaves are not damaged.  However, if the leaves have spots or notches they can be trimmed with scissors but make sure you follow the natural line of the leave so the cut is not evident.

Flower fragrance is awarded an extra 5 points.


Iris, Siberian, three stems, same cultivar.

Select uniform stems and it is best to arrange them so they are the same height in the vase. It is best to give as much height as possible so if they are not the same length do not cut the longer one[s] but use a filler material and do not push the shorter stem to the bottom of the vase. Stems should be sturdy and straight.  Flowers should be the same size: fresh, have clear colours and be of good substance.

Siberians come in many forms, colours and a range of bud counts.  Older forms are generally airy and have narrow petals and less substance than newer cultivars.  But they are lovely and show well.  Modern cultivars are solid, stand up well and come in a range of colours.  Select colours that are clear and flowers with good substance.


Narcissus [Daffodil].  There are 13 recognized Divisions of Narcissus primarily based on the type of center tube or corona [‘trumpet’ or ‘cup’] and the Perianth [the six back petals of the flower as a whole].  In many shows each Division will have its own class, however, for our show all divisions will be grouped together. Therefore any of your daffodils can be shown in this class, just make sure you bring 3 stems!

When judging we will be considering condition, form, substance and texture, colour, poise, the stem, and the size [for the variety].

When selecting your stems make sure they are in good condition and are in their prime being fresh, fully developed but not overdeveloped or showing signs of age. For example the ovary [seed pod ]behind the bloom should be small and not swollen. For best form select blooms that have well balanced coronas and perianth and for most common types have the blooms at right angles to the stems or slightly up facing.  For other types the perianth may be reflexed, have single or multiple blooms which can be down facing. The bloom surface should be free of crinkles and should be crisp, firm and solid to the touch.  Stems should be straight.  I like to cut the stems as long a possible to give height to the display.  Size is only important as it relates to the cultivar.  A small Narcissus has just as much chance to place as a large one. Colours should be clean and clear. Blooms should be the same size. Your exhibit will look best if the perianth has the three petals in front off set the three behind and the top petal pointing straight up.  If the top petal is not pointing straight up the bloom can be gently twisted to make it happen.


Peony, one stem with leaves.

Peonies are either Herbaceous [die back to the ground in the fall], Tree [has woody stems that leaf out in the spring], or Itoh or Intersectional [a cross between Herbaceous and Tree Peonies]. Within the types there are several flower forms.  For our class all types and forms will be shown together, however most of the Tree peonies will have finished flowering.

While some peony blooms will be medium in size and a few will be small, most will be large but should not be coarse. Blooms should be free of damage and colours should be clear and clean. Flower form should give a flower of good depth and be full and rounded and typical for the type [e.g. single, semi-double or double].  Petals should be firm and crisp and appear solid.  The stems should be 15 inches or less, straight and stiff and of sufficient strength to hold the flower head firmly erect.  Do not cut the stem too long as the plant needs at least two thirds of the flowering stem to produce a good bloom the following year.  I have found the exhibit will look best if the first two sets of leaves below the flower are above the vase lip. Hold the stem in place using paper or vegetative material.


Rhododendron Hybrid, Large Flowered, one truss.  Exhibited as an individual truss with foliage. A truss consists of as many as 40 flowers coming from one bud.  It is important so make sure this is the case as often what appears as a truss actually is two or more trusses which form a cluster and is called a spray.  The foliage should be the first whorl of leaves below the truss and be free of insect or nutrient deficiency damage.  The Judging Standard says that leaves should not be trimmed to remove damaged parts. However, I always do this if needed but make sure you use sharp scissors and cut along the contour of the leaf so the cut does not show!  The stem should be straight but I have found the best blooms are often at the end of a hanging branch so the stem is curved to hold the truss vertical.  I cut the branch fairly short and set the whorl of leaves just at the top of the vase or bowl and use juniper as holding material and hide the crooked stem.  As the juniper and stem are below the lip of the container they are not judged.


Rhododendron Hybrid, Small Flowered, branch holding one or more sprays of bloom [two or more trusses] not more than 18 inches or 48 cm long [measured from table top].

With all rhododendrons select specimens at the peak of development making sure they do not have florets with browning at the edges.  Look for full, rounded or peaked trusses, or pleasing clusters with bell shaped cultivars.  Dead or damaged twigs, leaves and bud scales should be removed. Three unopened florets at the top of the truss are acceptable.


Roses, (general).  All should have good substance and petals should be firm, thick, crisp, velvety and fresh.

The stem should be straight and the proper length to compliment the flower or spray and strong enough to hold them upright.

There should be enough of its own foliage to compliment the flower or spray; usually with at least one five-leaflet leaf.  Foliage should be healthy and undamaged.

The flower, stem and foliage should be balanced, for example a short, small stem with a large flower is a problem.  Rule of thumb: the stem should be approximately seven times the depth of the bloom.


Rose, most fragrant.  One bloom in a snifter or bowl.

Select your most fragrant rose.  If using a snifter make sure you put enough water in the bottom to force the bloom near the top.  That will give you best results.  Experiment with different roses if you are not sure which rose to choose.


Rose, specimen bloom, one stem.

Specimen blooms are exhibited as one bloom to a stem without side buds [buds should be dis-budded at some stage, the earlier the better but it can be done carefully while staging the exhibit]. The usual types shown in this way are hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas and miniatures.  So if you do not have any hybrid teas you can still show in this class but it takes more thought and a bit more work.

The rose should be at the most beautiful stage of development which is considered to be about two-thirds to three-quarters open.  The bloom should have a pointed center and the petals symmetrically  arranged within a circular outline around the point.

Do not select a bloom that has a ‘confused’, stub or split center. Or one that is lopsided, too far open or not open enough or that has gaps in the outer petalage.


Rose, spray [exhibits with a cluster of blooms at the end of a cane or stem].

I have nearly always shown a stem of Dortmund [climber] in the spray class and have never expected to win as there is nothing uniform or symmetrical about it!  However, I just wanted members to see what a wonderful garden rose it is.

Types exhibited as sprays are floribunda, grandiflora, modern shrubs, polyanthus, climbers, old garden roses and miniatures.  A spray should have at least three open blooms [a bud is not  bloom!].  For floribunda sprays the shape of the cluster of blooms is the most important factor.  When viewed from the top it should be symmetrical and from the side the shape should be regular.  For grandiflora sprays as many blooms as possible should be at the most perfect stage of development.

Climbers, modern shrubs, and miniature sprays are judged by the same standards as floribundas.


Succulents.  One or more in a pot.  The plants should look healthy and well cared for with firm growth and natural colour.  Growth should be natural and not leggy due to lack of sun or too lush from over feeding.  Inconsistent growth indicates poor growing conditions.  Any sun-scald or damage to spines, leaves or plant bodies is to be avoided as is insect damage.


Tulips, three stems, same cultivar or variety.  The Judging Standard recognises 11 classes of hybrid tulips plus species.  However, for our show all classes will be shown as one and will be judged for quality rather than focusing on type.

As there are three stems, select for uniformity in size and shape and arrange them to advantage.

The Point Score includes the following:

Condition:  Flowers should be at their prime; fresh and fully developed but not showing signs of age.

Form: Generally a symmetrical, pleasing outline of bloom exhibits good form.  To get this outline I have found it best to select a bloom where the petals overlap the next petal on the same side.  If a petal is on the outside on both sides it sticks out.  If both sides are tucked under then there is a depression in the outline.

Colour:  Should be clean, clear and bright.

Size:  In our class size is not important and any size can place.

Substance:  Petals should be firm, crisp and solid with no notches except with Parrots.

Stems: Should be strong, stout and straight.


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