Tips on Showing (what the Judges look for)

Here, Show Organiser Roy Halsey gives some useful information for exhibiting in the Horticulture section of the Show:

  • Dahlias: Blooms should be fresh and clean (no earwigs or thrips), firm and not marked. Stems and foliage are taken into account by the Judge, especially if there is close competition. In a vase of three or more blooms the size of the flowers should be as near even size as possible.
  • Roses: H.T. blooms should be shown at their half to three-quarter open stage without the middle of the flower wide open showing the stamens. Cluster or floribunda stems should be shown fresh and the stamens, if visible, should not be black and stale. A week or so prior to the Show take out the centre bud or flower from the head of the cluster and more flowers will open fresh for the Show.
  • Fuchsias: Make sure that the flowers are fresh and not dropping pollen. In boxes of flower heads try to get all flowers the same size.
  • Penstemons: Try to get each stem shown without any remains of spent flowers, cut off all tired and spent chords which carried the flower heads.
  • Runner Beans: Beans for the Show should all be of the same length and width (as near as possible). A couple of weeks or so before the Show look at your Beans still growing and any Bean less than four inches, which you think may be ready for the day of the Show, squeeze gently where the seed is so as to break the seed and it will not swell or bulge out and spoil your exhibit.
  • Potatoes: Should be cleaned with a sponge and look a fresh colour, all the potatoes in the exhibit should be of similar size, as a guide each potato should be a size to just cover the palm of your hand and weigh approximately 6/7 ounces.
  • Beetroot: All beetroot should be firm, fresh, and clean with a single tail (if possible). Cut the foliage to approximately three inches, as a guide place your hand around the foliage at the very top of the beetroot and cut off the foliage the other side of your hand away from the beetroot, tie the remaining foliage for neatness (but not essential).
  • Courgettes: Should be young, tender fruits of good shape (straight if possible) and colour approximately six inches (150mm) in length and one and a half inches (35mm) in diameter. May be shown with or without their flower.
  • Tomatoes: Small fruited: Should be fresh, ripe but firm, well coloured and blemish free with fresh calex (or stalk) still attached. Each tomato should be no larger than 35mm in diameter. Medium fruited: Should be of good shape, well rounded, clear skinned, ripe but firm. Size about 60mm in diameter (as near as possible but not essential in local shows) all fruits should match as near as possible.
  • Carrots: Long pointed: Should be fresh, firm and long with smooth roots, good colour all down the length of the root. Foliage trimmed to approximately 75mm in length. Stump rooted: Fresh, of good colour and shape with a distinct stump showing, clear smooth skin and foliage trimmed to approximately 75mm in length.
  • Fruit: All fruit should be fresh and clean, not polished, all shown with stalks attached (even raspberries, blackberries etc).

For all other flowers, fruit and vegetables hints, such as above, can be found in the RHS Horticultural Show Handbook.