Combining Dahlias in Vase

Combining Dahlias in Vase
by John Richard

Although an exhibit may not be faulted if shown without foliage there is no doubt that bright, clean foliage adds to the attractiveness of a well-staged vase. Preferably some leaves should be left on the stem of each bloom, but if all foliage has been removed for some reason then a few leaves should he inserted into the vase when staging.

It is also inadvisable to combine too many varieties of similar colouring, as this will tend to make the group uninteresting, and therefore less likely to catch the judge’s eye in close competition.

Having staged the blooms, and being satisfied that they are as nearly perfect as it is possible to get with the available material, label each variety carefully. This may not be stipulated in the schedule, but in very close competition correctness and neatness of labelling will often be the deciding factor, if it is not possible for the judge to separate the exhibits by any other means.

Plant Stuff

If some blooms, which are otherwise perfect, have a few damaged florets, then it is good showmanship to remove these. They should be pulled out carefully and cleanly, making sure that the whole floret is removed. Provided only a few are removed their absence is unlikely to be noticed, except perhaps at the hack of the bloom, where the green bracts will remain as mute evidence of the action taken. This practice must not be overdone as judges are usually hard on exhibits which contain well “plucked” blooms.

But this is not practicable although many attempts have been made to render it so; the fact is that it is not possible to attain a sound basis for comparison, or to assess accurately the respective merits of the various parts that go to make up the ideal bloom.

After the judging has been completed, and the results made known, never hesitate to hold an inquest. If your exhibits have not taken prizes or have only been awarded seconds and thirds, examine the prizewinning exhibits to see why they were adjudged superior. If you are doubtful or cannot see why you lost, try to contact the judge, and ask him. It is an old saying that one benefits from mistakes, but it is only true if you first find out what the mistakes were, and then resolve never to make them again.

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