This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
The number of specimens usually shown in cut-flower classes depends upon the kind of flowers, the ingenuity of the schedule-makers, and the demands of the occasion. The more extensive and pretentious the exhibition, the larger should be the classes. Roses and carnations in half-dozens, for example, have little value in a large exhibition. Fifties and hundreds alone will impress the visitors. When individual blooms, or groups composed of individual varieties are displayed, much depends upon the taste shown in color-arrangement. This is especially important with such subjects as chrysanthemums, dahlias, gladioli and sweet peas, all of which afford wide scope for demonstration of taste in exquisite blending, contrasting and gradation of color-tones, qualities which should count for much in the final decisions of the judges. The question of the height of tables or platforms on which flowers are shown is one which should be carefully considered in planning an exhibition. There are flowers which should be looked down upon if their full beauty is to be seen. Others must arch overhead to display their graces, and there are many intermediate steps.
As a rule, exhibition tables are set too high.
One main reason for the flower show being its educational value, the proper and legible labeling of species and varieties is essential. In no other respect are our exhibitions so deficient. A neat label, attached so it can be read without handling, and legible at a fair distance, is something rarely seen at a flower show, while obtrusive advertising cards or award cards frequently spoil the beauty of an otherwise creditable staging.
Competitive exhibitions properly conducted and entered into with the right spirit are, as before said.
calculated to accomplish much good for the art of horticulture. Emulation in a friendly contest for honors is a strong factor in the success of a show, but the kind of rivalry which stimulates jealousies, envenoms disappointment and incites to angry protests over judges' decisions, is one of the most mischievous elements that can intrude upon the scene. In order to discourage the protesting habit and minimize the demoralizing influence of questionable decisions, great care should be exercised always in the selection of competent, disinterested and impartial judges. Their names should be announced a sufficient time in advance so that every intending exhibitor may know who is to pass upon his exhibits.
It is now a generally established custom to inclose the name of an exhibitor in an envelope bearing only the class number, the identity of the exhibitor not to be disclosed until after the judging has been completed. Some very excellent systems of cards, record books-envelopes, and so on for this purpose have been devised and are in general use. Wm. J. Stewart.
Exhibition of fruits. Fig. 1469.
Fig. 1469. Good exhibition plates of apples.
The educational value of carefully planned exhibitions of fruits can scarcely be overestimated. That this fact is appreciated in increasing measure each year is demonstrated by the growing number of such exhibitions that are being held throughout the country. Commercial fruit regions do much of their advertising by means of these annual affairs, and there are few towns or hamlets, however unpretentious, without their yearly fruit show promoted by the grange, the school, the church, or some other organization whose aim is progress in country affairs.
Foresight, with careful attention to details, is essential if the possibilities of an exhibition are to be developed to the utmost. The larger number of such events are held in the fall, since fall is Nature's harvest season for fruits. This means that preparation must begin in midsummer to insure the greatest measure of success. There are many things that the grower can do at this time to secure high-class fruit for exhibition purposes, and no other should be considered.
The best fruit is often found near the top of the tree, if thorough spraying has been done. It is the best because conditions there are most nearly ideal for its development. As the fruit increases in size and the weight upon the branches becomes greater, the side branches settle more closely together, while the topmost branches and those most nearly upright in habit of growth, always advantageously situated, have an increased opportunity to receive the abundance of air and sunlight so essential to normal and perfect fruit. Fruit on such branches invariably possesses the highest color of any on the tree, and color is of vital importance for the matter in hand. The color may be heightened and the size increased if the fruit is thinned until the specimens hang 6 inches or more apart. A branch may be headed back, and occasionally one may be removed entirely to the benefit of those remaining? if good judgment is used. This matter of thinning is of considerable importance in the securing of high-class exhibition fruit, whether the fruit be apple, orange, or grape.
The production of exhibition specimens by abnormal processes - as by ringing or girdling - is not allowable, unless for the express purpose of showing what can be accomplished by such practices: fruits produced by such means should not be shown in comparison or competition with specimens produced under recognized and standard methods.
The specimens should be allowed to remain attached to the parent plant as long as possible. The longer they remain thus, the more intense will be their color and the greater will be their size. Pears especially increase very rapidly in size just before maturity. The picking should be done by hand and with the greatest care. Many an excellent specimen has been ruined by careless handling. The stems should remain intact. The picker should remove, not a sufficient number of specimens to meet the requirements under which the exhibit is held, but many times that number. A bushel, or even a barrel, of seemingly high-class fruit will often yield after the most rigid inspection but a single plate of perfect specimens.