This morning, I had the priviledge of watching Delaine in action as she demonstrated how to prepare specimens to exhibit at our flower show!
Here are some of her time tested tricks for cutting the specimen you want to exhibit at our Flower Show:
Cut specimens in the morning or late afternoon when it is cooler... on the day before the show. (EXCEPT for daylilies, which you cut the day of the show.)
Take a pitcher of water with you out to your garden and put cuts specimens in water RIGHT AWAY!
Cut extra long stems because you will need to cut them once or twice more UNDER WATER so they drink only water, NO air. Continually keep them in water in a cool place and out of the sun until you are ready to put them in their display container.
Look for your prime, very best, most beautiful specimen to exhibit!
Here are some of her tips for prepping your specimens and on the containers to use for exhibiting:
Wash leaves, stems, and all flowers EXCEPT Daylilies and Petunias under gently running water. Be extra gentle with Blue Hostas as any rubbing will scratch them.
Gather a variety of clear (anything you can see through; light transparent colors are fine too) containers so you have enough for one specimen per containter. Old water/pop bottles are great as the mouth is small and they can just get tossed at the end of the show. Also gather, foil, saran wrap, or anything that helps prop the specimen in the container.
Grooming is the key to a winning presentation! There must be at least one leaf on the stem but there can be more. Pinch or snip off any tattered or bug eaten leaves and any extra buds.
There can be NO leaves, roots or dirt in the water.
Once your specimen is groomed, match it to a container that allows for 2/3rd of your specimen to be inside the container and 1/3 of your specimen above the container's mouth. Fill the container 2/3rds full with water and insert your specimen. Add foil or sarah wrap inside the container's mouth to stabilize your specimen.
And then on the day of the show!
Look for any specimens that are limp and recut the stems again under water. Groom if needed (such as to remove a spent flower from a stem with many flowers)
To transport your exhibits, empty as much water from the containers to allow just the stems to still be in water. Transport them in a cardboard box with partitions if possible. If not, make sure to add lots of "padding" to make sure they don't jiggle and bump into each other!
Below, please see pictures of containers and materials that can be used to support your speciment. Enjoy the "Before and After Grooming " pictures; the change in presentation is amazing! After watching Delaine in action, I realized its not that complicated after all and I have already begun to think about what to exhibit. I HOPE YOU WILL TOO!