Hints for New Members
Reprinted from Portland Chapter Newsletter
Many chapter members have not entered shows before and to them this is addressed. You may feel uncertain about what and how to enter. Dig out the show schedule you received in the mail (if misplaced or if you are a new member pick one up at the April meeting along with entry cards). Study the rules and score points and don't hesitate to ask if the meaning is unclear.
Entry day arrives, and you stand before your bush, pruners in hand and wonder where to cut. Look at the top of the shrub because it is there you are likely to find trusses with straight stems (Score points gives 20 points for good form). Now look for large trusses. In choosing you may want to measure corolla and count number of flowers per truss. Be certain your flower is not "twins". The truss must come from one main bud (Score points 25 for size).
Now check that your bloom is as near its peak as possible. If the lower flowers have begun to blemish or brown, skip it. A few unopened buds at the top of the truss are acceptable (Condition 10 points).
The foliage is important for 15 points. If you have a nice truss enter it even though the leaves are not perfect.
Good color gives 20 points so avoid faded out pinks and reds. Sometimes a flower shaded in the center of the plant or on the north side of the plant will have superior color.
Substance counts 10 points and either you have it or you don't. If the corollas are thin this will show up in flowers past their prime or over exposed to the sun.
If you do not know the name of a plant, bring a truss anyway for the classification committee may be able to identify it for you so you may enter it.
Don't overlook your azaleas. These are cut in sprays or branches. Choose branches full of flowers and gracefully shaped. The schedule shows the allowable height.
Give thought to the best way of transporting trusses to the show. Some members punch holes in carton boxes to stick the stems through, others use bottles. The idea is to avoid bruising the petals en route.