(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 30, 2009. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
The Horticulture Division of a Standard Flower Show is divided into several different sections. Within each section are classes. Sections are stated in the Flower Show Schedule that has been published. The Schedule is the "law of the show," and all exhibitors are bound by these laws. Therefore, the first step in entering a Standard Flower Show is to request a copy of the Schedule.
When you obtain a copy of the Schedule, read it through carefully. It contains such necessary information as the location of the show, the times when horticulture specimens can be entered, when judging is to take place, when it is open to the public, and when the show is to be dismantled. The Schedule announces all sections and classes as well as rules which govern all exhibits in each division. There are general rules, horticulture division rules, and design division rules. Every Schedule is different, but horticulture rules for my club's flower show are in a chart below and will give you an idea of what to expect.
Before you bring your exhibit to the show, you will know what kind of specimens are accepted, how they are to be staged, how long it should have been in your possession, and other pertinent facts. You will know whether the show committee provides bottles for your cut specimens or if you are expected to bring your own. You will know which awards are being offered, and depending on the schedule, other useful information.
Most Standard Flower Shows have many sections, but almost all of the plants that I can think of can fit in one of these sections:
Section A: Cut flowers of annuals
Section B: Cut flowers of herbaceous biennials and/or perennials
Section C: Cut flowers or bracts of bulbs, rhizomes, corms, and tubers
Section D: Cut decorative foliage
Section E: Arboreal (fresh cut branches or containers of evergreen or
deciduous shrubs or trees grown for the beauty of foliage, flowers, fruit, or cones)
Section F: Combination Plantings
Section G. Container-Grown Plants
Section H: Collections and Displays
In addition, a flower show committee may wish to have sections for special groups of plants, such as roses, daffodils, camellias, succulents, bromeliads, etc. Even though these fit into one of the categories above, there may be enough of them to warrant having their own section.
In subsequent articles, I will go more into depth about each of the sections listed above. NGC has very specific definitions as to what constitutes appropriate specimens in each division. For instance, a dish garden may mean something different to each person, but NGC defines it specifically, and failing to know the definition can result in points being taken from your exhibit.