THE GROWING WORLD OF DAHLIAS
SHOW SCHEDULES AND REGULATIONS
Both schedules and regulations vary from show to show, and depend on the type of show. Regardless of this, it is essential to study the show classes and rules carefully to avoid making mistakes. Not conforming to the schedule will result in your exhibit being disqualified. The judge has no option as those who have conformed to the rules are entitled to complain if the judge does not work to the rules.
It is important to study the regulations as they usually include the latest entry date, the staging times and when judging commences. It may tell you that vases will be provided by the Show (if not, it is assumed that you need to provide your own, and you will have to return at the end of the show to collect them) and whether there is any tiered staging. Sometimes there is a paragraph stating that any variety or varieties may be used throughout the schedule, and check carefully the naming rules. If the schedule states that exhibits must be named, then no name means disqualification, where as if it says exhibits should be named, no disqualification will occur for absence of a name card.
Here follows an example of a schedule for a general horticultural show:
In the following classes, any variety or varieties may be used.
Class 21. One vase of nine Sweet Peas.
Class 22. One vase of three Hybrid Tea Roses.
Class 23. One vase of three cluster flowered Roses.
Class 24. One vase of three Decorative Dahlias
Class 25. One vase of three Cactus Dahlias.
Class 26. One vase of three Ball Dahlias.
Class 27. One vase of five Pompon Dahlias (less than 2" in diameter)..
Class 28. One vase of three Spray Chrysanthemums.
Class 29. One vase of three Gladioli.
In a schedule such as this, it is usually acceptable to mix cactus and semi-cactus in class 25 and waterlily and decorative in class 24. This however would not be the case if the show was being judged to NDS rules.
At a major dahlia show, the schedule is frequently split into four sections. Section A would be the trophy classes and is usually open to all comers. Section B would be for members only and less demanding. Section C would be for novice members and less demanding. Section D would be for new seedling dahlias from members.
In the case of a novice section, it is important to read the rules regarding the definition of a novice. It is normally for those exhibitors who have not won three first prizes in previous shows judged to NDS rules, but this is not always the case.
Here follows a sample of a schedule for a major dahlia show:
Except where stated, any variety or varieties may be used.
SECTION A - OPEN TROPHY SECTION
Class 1. Five different classes of dahlias selected from the following, one variety per vase.
Three Giant or Large Decoratives, may be staged in one or three vases
Three Giant or Large Semi-Cactus, may be staged in one or three vases
One vase of Three Medium Decoratives, one variety
One vase of three Medium Semi-cactus, one variety
One vase of Five Small or Miniature Decoratives, one variety
One vase of Five Small or Miniature Cactus or Semi-Cactus, one variety
One vase of five Small or Miniature Ball or Pompon, one variety
Class 2. Six Giant Decoratives, one bloom per vase
Class 3. Two vases of Three Large Decoratives
Class 4. Two vases of Three Medium Decoratives
Class 5. Two vases of Five Small Decoratives, one variety per vase.
Class 6. Two vases of Five Miniature Decoratives
Class 7. Six Giant Semi-Cactus, one bloom per vase
Class 8. Two vases of Three Large Semi-Cactus
Class 9. Two vases of Three Medium Cactus and/or Semi-Cactus, two distinct varieties, one variety per vase.
Class 10. Two vases of Five Cactus or Semi-Cactus, one variety per vase
Class 11. Two vases of Five Small Ball.
Class 12. Three vases of Five Miniature Ball
Class 13. Three vases of Six Pompons
Class 14. Two vases of Five Waterlily Dahlias
Class 15. Two vases of Five Collerettes
Class 16. Two vases of Three Fimbriated Dahlias.
SECTION B - MEMBERS
Class 17. Three Giant Decoratives in separate vases
Class 18. One vase of Three Large Decoratives
Class 19. One vase of Three Medium Decoratives
Class 20. One vase of Five Small Decoratives
Class 21. One vase of Five Miniature Decoratives
Class 22. Three Giant Semi-Cactus in separate vases
Class 23. One vase of Three Large Semi-Cactus
Class 24. One vase of Three Medium Semi-Cactus
Class 25. One vase of Five Small Semi-Cactus
Class 26. One vase of Five Small Cactus
Class 27. One vase of Five Miniature Cactus or Semi-Cactus
Class 28. One vase of Five Small Ball
Class 29. One vase of Five Miniature Ball
Class 30. One vase of Six Pompon
Class 31. One vase of Five Waterlily Dahlias
Class 32. One vase of Five Collerettes
Class 33. One vase of Three Fimbriated Dahlias
Class 34. One vase of Three Bi-coloured dahlias
SECTION C - NOVICES
Class 35. One Giant or Large Bloom
Class 36. One vase of Three Medium Decoratives
Class 37. One vase of Three Medium Cactus or Semi-Cactus
Class 38. One vase of Three Small and/or Miniature Decoratives
Class 39. One vase of Three Small and/or Miniature Cactus and/or Semi-cactus
Class 40. One vase of Three Small or Miniature Ball
Class 41. One vase of Five Pompon
Class 42. One vase of Three Waterlily Dahlias
Class 43. One vase of Three Collerette dahlias
Class 44. One vase of Three Fimbriated dahlias
Class 45. One Bi-coloured dahlia.
Class 46. An arrangement of dahlias in a basket to contain no less than five blooms and no more than fifteen blooms. Max width of exhibit 24 inches. Only dahlia foliage allowed.
SECTION D - SEEDLINGS/SPORTS
Class 47. One vase of Three blooms of a new seedling raised by the exhibitor.
Class 48. One vase of Two Blooms of a new Sport raised by the exhibitor plus One bloom of the parent.
In this schedule there are a number of traps for the unwary, so we need to study it in more detail.
Class 1, the multi-vase class is usually known as the championship class. Note that where varieties of a type can be mixed in a vase in most other classes, this particular class states only one variety per vase, so a mixed vase would result in disqualification for the exhibit being "Not As Schedule (NAS)". If giants are used, they may be staged in separate vases, and this means that different varieties may be used for these groups. If they are staged in one vase, they must all be the same variety. The class asks for different classes of dahlias, so you may not use two vases of Medium Decoratives as they would not be different classes.
Class 5 calls for two vases, one variety per vase. This means that varieties cannot be mixed in a vase, however there is no reason why you may not use two vases of the same variety.
Class 9 calls for two distinct varieties, one variety per vase. This means you cannot mix varieties in one vase, and the two vases must contain two distinct varieties, so they must look different and not merely be labelled differently. This is often a problem with sports which are very similar to other sports. The class asks for Medium Cactus and/or Semi-Cactus, so one vase may be Medium Cactus and the other Medium Semi-Cactus.
Class 10 asks for two vases of Small Cactus or Semi-Cactus, so you may not use one Cactus and one Semi-Cactus, both vases must be of the same type. One variety per vase means that contents of the vase may not be mixed, but both vases can contain the same variety.
Class 27 calls for five Miniature Cactus or Semi-Cactus. Although the schedule allows varieties to be mixed in this vase, you cannot mix Cactus and Semi-Cactus varieties in this exhibit.
Class 34 calls for three bi-coloured dahlias. This means they must be classified as bi-colour or if unclassified must have two distinct colours on each petal, with a clear distinction between them. A collerette where the collar is a distinct colour from the main petals is not a bi-colour as the different colours are not on the same petals.
Class 46 asks for a basket containing between 5 and 15 blooms, so they need to be carefully counted. Since the show is run to NDS rules, all classified blooms must conform to the size regulations for that particular type. Since only dahlia foliage is allowed, ferns and other foliage may not be used to enhance the exhibit. The arrangement must not exceed 24 inches in width. This means the extremes of the flowers, foliage and the basket and if the side to side dimension exceeds 24 inches, disqualification will occur.
Class 47 calls for three blooms of a new seedling. Since it states a new seedling, it must contain only one variety, but may be of any classification and sub-group, so don't mix miniature blooms with small blooms of the same variety. In this and class 48 (Sports) the variety must not be named prior to judging as the name of the variety could reveal the name of the exhibitor
As a schedule maker, judge and exhibitor, I have seen or made many of the above mistakes. When you are under time pressures to get your exhibit staged, it is too easy to make an assumption which proves incorrect and results in disqualification.
If you have any doubts, consult the show secretary to find how the schedule is to be interpreted. They are sometimes ambiguous and this can be fatal!
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