Friday 1st September – DUNDEE FLOWER SHOW
Important warning - Please be aware that the
following views, opinions and observations are mine and mine alone.
The journey -
It was Friday 00:30am when I picked my mother up and headed north to
Dundee, and after driving for 4½ hours through the early hours of the
morning we found ourselves having a brew outside McDonalds near the
entrance to Camperdown Park, Dundee where the show was being held.
I had arranged to meet Barry Walker and John Chiswell here at 07:00am as
they had travelled up the day before and stayed over at the Hilton Hotel
on the outskirts of Dundee.
As I was waiting, my mobile went off and it was Ian Donaldson asking if
I had arrived and if so where was I!!! When I told him I was near
McDonalds he said he would be there in a couple of minutes and then
asked if I could get him a “caramel latte”. So I went in expecting to be
laughed out of the building, you could have knocked me down with a
feather when I found out that they did sell Ian’s drink of choice.
So Ian and I were stood in the car park having a
drink and chatting, when George Thompson got out of a car that had been
parked there since I had arrived, he had got there early to do some work
in the Shows exhibiter's marquee then went for a sleep in his car. He
disappeared into McDonalds and a few minutes reappeared in a shirt, tie
and jacket - he didn’t need a phone box to get changed in like
Superman would have.
George and Ian set off to get to the show and the judges meeting point
for 07:30hrs while I waited for Barry & John – they arrived not long
after and then we also made are way to the show and the judges meeting
judges meeting -
Judges - Ian Donaldson, Barry Walker &
Stewards – George Thompson & David Nimmo.
We had to meet in the Floral marquee, where
tea, coffee and biscuits were served.
Each “judging group” received an envelope that
contained all the relevant judging paraphernalia required. We were also
Spanish lady called Gonzales to help us, or as we were told “tongue in
cheek” that she was to keep an eye on our unruly mob – and looking at us
to be fair they were probably right...
At 8am we made are way to our marquee and to the
Begonia section where the Scottish Begonia Society had their Society
stand (see picture to the left) and just to the right of the stand the
Begonia Classes sat staged awaiting to be judged.
Let judging commence –
First to be judged was Class 354 British Championship
To start with we ensured the minimum number of different varieties required were
staged on each entry, this class required no less than 9 distinct
Ian had some A4 sheets with 12 circles on to represent the 12 cut
blooms. Then starting from one end of Class 354 we began judging each
12 board by assigning an A4 sheet to it and then proceeded by noting any
visual signs of handling damage or faults in the flower to each “circle”
that represented that flower on the board.
The obvious signs -
pictureto the right
Damage to petals.
that have edged.
- causing gaps.
/ looped petals.
the bloom round in profile.
well as signs of disease - for example mildew.
all the blooms were checked for having either a rosebud as per the
picture to the left or camellia centre as the picture to the
right shows – and if they hadn’t then N/c (No Centre) M/c (multiple
centres) was recorded on the relevant circle that represents that
Some flowers staged had reached a size or age where
they had lost their shape even though they had no damage on them – the
term “cabbage” (this is not meant in derogatory way) it’s a term used to
describe a flower like this.
We also checked for shallow blooms that had cups
stacked up under them like scaffolding so the bloom is at the height of
the other blooms on the board.
The staging was set up where you could walk down the
back of the cut bloom boards, this gave the judge a chance to check for any
damaged blooms that had been strategically placed to try and hide any damage
or faults. Not all shows have the staging benches set up like this.
One thing that stood out to me was the way the
exhibitors had staged their blooms and I realized how important it was
to stage your flowers. This means that each row of blooms are level and
that the centres of the blooms look you in the eye when you view them.
Now one exhibitor had staged a bloom with the stem
sitting on the board at the back of the cup. After judging had finished
I spoke to Robert Bryce that an exhibitor had missed the cup whilst
staging a bloom and that it was still “standing up”, however I was
amazed when Robert said had he missed it!!!!! Or had he done it on
purpose as it was the only way he could “sit" the bloom properly on the
cup as he knew this variety would stand a while at least till after
judging had finished before it started to collapse. I had never heard or
seen an exhibitor do this before.
So I thought of how many times I have struggled to
get a flower to sit properly on a cup – so what would happen if you
found yourself in this predicament and you could not sit the bloom on
the cup properly and you were either going to damage it by over handling
or through frustration - then could you wrap the bottom of the flower
stem in wet cotton wool and just sit it on the board at the back of the
cup…. And if you did do this, could you be penalized by a judge for
poor staging or improper staging!!!!
Under the Scottish Begonia Society Rules blooms
cannot be lifted and carried around to compare against another bloom as
you can under the National Begonia Society Rules –
However we were told a story after
judging about a grower who once had a flower with a knackered guard
petal so he took it off and removed another guard petal off a
bloom of the same variety then cellotaped it to the bloom he took the
original guard petal off……
So I tried it and believe me it’s a lot
easier than I thought it would be, see the picture to the right,
and yes I did use a different variety on purpose to make it stand out
And finally all the “marks” on each sheet were added
up as the top 3 places were
Tony Shephardson had taken 1st place
(picture to the left),
closely followed by Phil Champions board
(picture to the right)
Once we judged the 12 boards then we did the 6
Cut bloom class and the rest of the cut bloom classes.
Sadly the Pot Plant Classes were not really supported and there were
only a couple of Pot Plants exhibited.
Next we had to pick the best blooms to be presented with
the rosette for that colour and type.
Since we could not pick a bloom up it was difficult to compare bloom against bloom when choosing the best in
colour classes or best bloom overall when looking at 2 blooms at either
ends of the show benches…. Ian Donaldson came up with a good idea that
was to take a picture of a bloom with his mobile then “carry” the bloom
so it can be compared at the side of the other one.
One thing I did think that would cause
judges issues was the fact that a lot of the blooms we see on the show
benches are of “amateur.raisings”. What I am trying to say is a raiser
does not announce a new raising to the world via the website or bulletin
and let everyone know what colour or type it is - for example bicolour, picotee
or a solid colour.
So the first time a judge could come
across a new variety is when he is judging, now this could cause
problems when judging individual colour or “type” classes – for example
the picture H on the right of a new seedling on Phil Champions 6
Another variety is Geoff Bisley as it is classified on the
website as a yellow red bicolour – yet I have seen it exhibited as this
and also as a pure yellow – if this is displayed as a pure yellow does
it get down pointed for being poorly grown as it's technically the wrong
colour!!!!! I will leave that debate for another day.
Now there were 4 Classes for Rex’s, Species, Pendula and Multiflora
non-stop or other small flowering tuberous begonias.
Class 352 One pot Begonia Species was won by Mrs Mairi Hamilton, see
picture I to the left and the picture to the right shows
Mr Bruce Mcload's 3rd place winning exhibit.
When judging certain classes we had to get advice on
whether a plant had been correctly entered in a class.
I could certainly
understand how innocent mistakes could be made by judges who do not
“specialize” in growing species, hybrids or rex’s. The one man I know
who is an expert in this field is none other than Terry Tasker, but it
would be I suppose unfair to ask him to judge at all our Societies shows
where there are exhibits in these classes.
Finally we judged the class 353, Display of Begonias
in an area 1.22m x 1.22m any type of begonia allowed. Ferns allowed –
This class was interesting because of the different
types of “begonias” used to construct each exhibit which led to some
discussions amongst the judges. The class asked for a display, which
left the 3 judges with slightly different views on what constituted a
better display. After quite a few discussions the decision was finally
1st place went to Mr Bruce McLead as per
the picture to left and a very close 2nd went to Mr
Robert Nelson whose display is pictured to the right.
After judging had finished a good
natured conversation was had with Terry Tasker who had a difference of
opinion on the final placing – again it was another individual’s
interpretation of what he thinks makes a better display.
Other issues encountered -
We did have a few issues with condensation dripping
from off the marquee roof and falling on to staged blooms so we had to
ask David Nimmo “our” steward on more than one occasion to move boards
back so they were out of the way of falling drops of condensation as you
can see illustrated via the picture to the left.
Recording and issuing the place cards -
Once we had finished judging a class George
Thompson and Gonzales were following us around and they were filling all
the relevant forms out and recording all the relevant information and
putting the winning cards out – see the picture to the right.
Judges vs Exhibitors -
When the judging was completed 1 or 2 exhibitors
who had been waiting patiently came over to see how they had done.
I would be lying if I said that “some” growers had
a query or two about the “judging decisions” and to be fair all 3 judges
stood by their decisions and did explain their decisions with regards
to the growers queries, and I think they were happy with the explanations –
discussions in full flow as shown in the picture to the left.
The evening -
Peter Mathews arranged for us to meet up and go
for a meal at a pub about a mile up the road from the show.
Bob & Alison Robertson, Ian & Lynda Donaldson,
Robert & Joan Bryce, Barry Walker, John Chiswell, Robert Nelson, David
Nimmo, George Thompson, Phil Champion, Terry Tasker and finally my
mother and me, we had a great meal and there was an awful lot of
friendly banter and mickey taking throughout the evening.
Now I knew my mother wanted to see the Kelpies the
following day on the way home, but during the meal she said she wanted
to see the Falkirk Wheel as well. I did try and protest but I was
out voted, I was surprised how many individuals sided with mother.
The journey home -
On the way home we visited the Falkirk Wheel as
it’s the only one in the world and it was impressive as you can see by
the picture to the right– now for those doubters thinking I
never took my mother, then I have two witnesses who we met there, none
other than Robert and Joan Bryce – talk about it being a “small world”
as they say.
Then we drove on to the Kelpies as you can see by
the picture to the left my mother got to visit and meet them at
Firstly I would like to thank Jim Evans for
suppyling the photographs because I had forgotten to take my camera with me.
Secondly I would like to thank everyone we met
whilst we were at Dundee Flower Show, as they made it a great day out.
Finally a picture of Tony Shepherdson and
his Winning 12 Board