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Planning for my first competition

Posted by sturgeonguy 5a ON (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 15, 08 at 8:58

So I've been convinced to enter some Dahlias in the local exhibition (Lindsay Exhibition.) Having never done this before, I'd appreciate any tips you might have.

Here are the categories I feel I might be able to enter in.

- DAHLIAS 3 blooms, decorative, any colour in one container

Do you think AA's are judged more favorably in such an open category? I would assume when they say "3 blooms", they mean 3 of the same, what do you think? Do you think they have to be 3 blooms on a single stem?

- DAHLIAS cactus 1 bloom, any colour, in one container

Do you think they'd accept a Lacinated Cactus? If so, would it fare better or worse than a plain cactus? I could go with a Citron De Cap, which looks great and is larger (7"). Orchid Lace looks good too, as a 6" incurved cactus, but its not a prolific bloomer. Finally I could use a Tahiti Sunrise, perhaps even a Dahlia-ish version if there were any in bloom at that time.

- DAHLIAS semi-cactus, 1 bloom, any colour in one container

I can choose from Gregory Stephen (12") or Cabana Banana (7") here. Personally I prefer Cabana Banana because its colours are more vibrant.

- DAHLIAS pompom 3 blooms, any colour, in one container

I thought I would go with Crichton Honey. I would try and get 3 at different ages to reproduce that picture I posted at the beginning of the month showing it in its various stages.

- DAHLIAS 1 bloom, on single stem with attached foliage

Presumably mega-AA's would do best in this category, what do you think?

- A TABLE CENTREPIECE to be viewed from all sides maximum 30cm/12" in diameter

I thought about using a variety of water lily styles to make this.

- OCANADA red and white flowers in a white container, maximum 30cm/12"

Sayonary on the outside, then Snowbound, with a Raspberry Punch in the middle.

- 'WHITE FROST' arrangement using white flowers with green foliage

Iceberg, Snowbound, and Bride to Be.


It would be great if I could have a collection of my Dahlia-ishes for this one.

So, if you've competed and can offer some tips, I'd sure be glad to hear them. Competition is September 16th. Exhibits are to be dropped off at 3:00pm for judging at 7:30pm. They have to be left there for 6 days, but we can freshen them after the judging.

I haven't yet looked at the tips available at the various society sites but will, so no need to point me to those types of references...just your own experience.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Planning for my first competition

  • Posted by jroot 5A Ont. Canada (near (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 15, 08 at 22:00

Bon chances, my friend, bon chances !

RE: Planning for my first competition

Russ-1. 3 blooms- any color 1 container- the 3 blooms are the same variety. NOT on the same stem- be sure you have disbudded & have a set of leaves with each bloom - a must in an ADS show & gets better points in a hort. show. They will be judged on the quality- not the size of the blooms so an AA shouldn't get higher than a B or BB as long as all the blooms are good quality. Don't use a "dahlia-ish" version of anything because the closer to the ideal is what you're looking for-- not a weird-o.

2. If they wanted a lac. dahlia it would say lac. not cactus. If the judges know what they're doing they'll mark a lac down in a cactus catagory as it's a major form break in a C dahlia- but not in a lac catagory- then the deeper the lac. the better.

3. Whichever of the blooms are the best bloom- no open centers, no falling petals & the one that conforms to the SC description will do the best. The stem should be in proportion to the bloom & the leaves on good condition.

4. Crichton Honey isn't a Pom- it's a Ball! & if you do have a catagory you can enter 3 of them in make them the most perfectly matched that you can! Judges don't want to see the stages-- as interesting as it might be- they want to see matched blooms that are the same age, same color, same form, etc. & here again- no open centers on blooms that are supposed to be fully double.

5. Here again- it depends on the quality of bloom- if the AA is ragged, faded, has an open center, has falling back petals ets. it sure won't win over a nice smaller bloom.

6. A table center piece out of waterlilies would be really nice- just be sure the blooms are in good condition.

7. Oh Canada- the reddest & the whitest you can get-

8.-ooppss- just got company so I have to go for awhile!

RE: Planning for my first competition

Thanks Plantlady2008, that's the stuff!

I've just realized that they want me to file my entries 11 days before the judging. Most of my Dahlias go from bud to bloom in less than that...sure makes it tough to know you'll have a good one to enter. They only allow one entry per class.

I can pay a late fee and file later...

Makes me think I should probably go with my most prolific bloomers and those I have multiples of so I'll have a good choice of flowers.

Thanks for pointing out my mistake with the pompom...;-/



RE: Planning for my first competition

Although I don't know the rules for your competition my cometiton that I am entering you are to be in place by 9pm September 19th. Not allowed to do a late entry feee, lists must be in by September 12th. If your allowed like here, you can list as many as you want, but not required to enter all categories if you have none.
Right now I am reviewing all gardens to see what I may have ready at that time.

Plantlady has sound advice.

I would like to add to:
Keep your specimen vases simple, clear glass
Figure out a solid container for transportation that the vases and arrangement go in.
Mechanical failure from transportation is a heart breaker, and lost points. I always take along extra in a bucket if I need to replace.
Tip for you table centerpiece:
Make a cardboard circle the largest width diameter as permitted. When arranging place the vessel on this and arrange, that way no guessing of proper sizing.

I gotta go too , be back

RE: Planning for my first competition

Wow- that's really weird that they want you to register what you're entering so far in advance. Can you just say you're entering them all & then not enter on the day if you don't have anything?
There's an American Dahlia Society club in Hamilton Ont - not sure when their show is but it would be worth your while to give it a look & see how dahlias are presented in a show. There's also a Dahlia Society in Que. & one in NS. I can give you contact people in the societies if you're interested.
For the ADS shows you just show up, dahlias in hand & enter them according to the show schedules- no pre-registering or fees to pay. You do need to have them in tip-top condition & entered correctly in the right classifications, but there's usually few judges wandering around to help anyone that doesn't have a classification book or hasn't entered before- it can be quite daunting for the first few times but after that you're the expert that's helping the newbies!
Too bad you can't take a nice trip out west to Dahlia Heaven- the Pacific Northwest & SW B.C. are right in the middle of show time from the first week in Aug. right through to the middle of Sept there's a show every weekend- wonderful!

RE: Planning for my first competition

I'm thinking now that they aren't actually asking me what variety I'm entering, only which classes I'm entering. I've sent them an email to confirm. My entry fee covers as many class entries in a division (e.g. Cut Flowers is one division, Displays is another.) I want to enter into 4 cut flowers classes, so that will cost me $5 total. I believe I can just not show up with an entry if that's how it turns out.

I'll take all links you can give me if they'll help me figure out how to meet "Publication 34 Judging Standards," which is what the judges are apparently using. I've no idea what these are and can't find them on the web anywhere. Anyone know?

The Hamilton show is 3 hours from me. I may go, but honestly, at this point all I really want to find is pictures of show winners to get ideas about how to display them.

Any tips on when to disbud? Do you simply disbud the side buds on every main bud on your plants that you're intending on showing? I don't want to strip all of mine off as I'd have nothing to display in the garden until after the show. Maybe that's not such a big deal, but I really love looking at my flowers on the plants. I didn't plant any intending on showing, so I don't have any that are out of sight to strip. Suggestions?

Thanks again everyone!


RE: Planning for my first competition

Russ- I have never heard of Publication 34 Judging Standards. All our shows are American Dahlia Society shows & go by the judging standards of the ADS. I would imagine that if your blooms are in top shape & well presented they should do well under any rules. If you want to see the ADS judging standards look at the ADS site & look for the Seedling Judging page- you use about the same kind of point system to judge on the Hort. bench as you do for seedlings.
We have an album of shows at this link - there's 9 pages so look around. If you want to see something close-up just click on the picture & it'll come up bigger. You'll get some idea of how the blooms are entered to their best advantage in an ADS show.
Then, in your spare time check out our other albums- there's some nice dahlia arrangements in the wedding album & lots & lots of other dahlias everywhere.
RE- disbudding-- yes, we disbud every bloom -- the side buds are removed down to the length you want the stem to be. Try doing this on around 7,000 plants!! Gives you some idea of what Walt & I have been doing in our "spare" time! We had to dead-head all the plants this week too because we got about 2" of rain the other night & it made "mush" of all the big dahlias.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dahlia Show Pictures

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