This handbook always accompanies me on judging engagements, but only sees the light of day if someone needs guidance on a technicality. It offers pointers on judging, but cannot make decisions. That is down to the common sense of the judge.
There are sections for novices, entrants who have not won a first prize at a show before. Some organisations even have a trophy for the beginner who scores most points from different classes within the novice section.
People seem to enjoy visiting our so-called flower shows because there is so much more to see than the title suggests. Knitted and crocheted garments, paintings, photographs, cookery and preserves can be listed amongst the attractions.
It is not such a big step from this stage to fully-blown competitive exhibitor. I have seen it happen so often as a show secretary and judge.
It is a must-purchase, spiral-bound publication, with sound information for would-be exhibitors. It fits neatly into the pocket and can be used for a diversity of situations beyond the show scene – gardens competitions, allotments, etc.
Exhibiting demands commitment of time, energy and expense. Any prize money must be balanced against growing costs so this is not a route to instant riches. It is the kudos of winning that drives many exhibitors I meet. Without them, our local shows would struggle.
We gardeners love comparing what’s on the exhibition benches with plants cultivated at home. “I’ve got better tomatoes than that in the greenhouse,” or “I could have been first in this class if I’d brought my cucumbers” are typical remarks overheard.