Cutting and Conditioning
Water plants well the night before collection – cut ideally in the early morning (when transpiration rates are at their lowest), otherwise in the late evening.
Fill buckets with water, add a tiny amount of bleach and leave for 2 – 3 hrs – ideally tepid.
When cutting, use a sharp blade and make a sloping cut, strip off the lower leaves and plunge into tepid water immediately. Place in a cool place out of full sun for at least 8 hrs.
Pre-condition if necessary – e.g. woody stems – slit. Milky sap (eg Euphorbia) – singe over a flame. Bulbous plants – remove white portion of stem.
Tulips and daffodils require a different treatment and should be plunged into shallow, cold water.
When arranging, remove spent flowers, damaged and surplus leaves and do not leave out of water for prolonged periods.
Good Flowers for Cutting
Agapanthus (African Lily)
Alchemilla (Lad’s Mantle)
China Aster (Callistephus)
Dahlia (One flower per stem – no side buds)
Delphinium (Tip flower out)
Echinacea (Cone Flower)
Gladioli (1/3 – 1/3 – 1/3 )
Gypsophila (Baby’s Breath)
Hyacinth (Tip flower out)
Lillies – various
Michaelmas Daisy (Aster)
Pinks - Dianthus – (keep all buds - judging requirement)
Sedums ( e.g.Spectabile and Autumn Joy)
Sweet Pea (Lathyrus)
Tagetes (Marigolds – African – French)
Thalictrum (particularly delavayi)
Good shape, substance, and clear colour or combination of colours
Mixed Flower Vases.
Not shrubs, e.g roses and fuchsias
Clean undamaged foliage, free from pest and disease.
Fresh, well developed, well shaped, well balanced, flowers free from pest and disease damage.
Good colour and typical for the cultivar.
Judged on colour, texture, arrangement, symmetry and balance.
Vases of one kind.
As for mixed vases, but with more emphasis on the flower and uniformity
Well balanced, circular in outline when viwed from above and flowers in proportion to the size of the plant.
Free from pest and disease damage and clear, undamaged foliage.
No debris on the surface of the compost.
Good colour for the cultivar.
Pots and containers should be clean and undamaged and the plants, if staked should be neatly done.
Carnation, Begonias, Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, Tulip, Daffodil, Fuchsias, Orchids, Roses, Sweet Peas, Gladioli.
General rules apply but there are many other requirements. e.g. In the case of Sweet Peas –Strong spikes, well spaced blooms, each one fully open and fresh. Large flowers with erect standards, rigid wings and keel closed. Free from colour running, scorching and of a bright colour. Long straight stems. Good presentation.
See The Horticultural Show Handbook published by the RHS which is the essential guide for show organisers, exhibitors and Judges.
Most flower shows are judged to the RHS standard.