Sunday, March 28, 2004

Bloomers a blot on flower fests
Satish Narula

In flower shows pots should be properly spaced out
In flower shows pots should be properly spaced out

VISITING flower and garden shows is like a pilgrimage for gardening enthusiasts. Over the years, there has been tremendous improvement in both the quality and the quantity of the exhibits. Some of the plants and flowers exhibited at shows in Chandigarh easily match the best in the world.

For the participants, the organisers as well as the judges, there are certain do’s and don’ts.

The monitoring of any event is the key to its improvement. There is a lot of scope to improve flower shows. Over the years, a change for the better has been made but there are still some practices or formalities that should be done away with. The first major anomaly is the display of exhibits in different sections with the same ticket number. In practice, the organisers should give tickets with different numbers. Like, if a person wants to put up 50 exhibits for competition, he should be issued 50 tickets with different numbers or, better still, randomly allocated numbers. If a participant insists on displaying different exhibits with the same number then he should be disqualified.

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It should be a must for the organisers to constitute a screening committee. The exhibits should be checked before the judges are invited for evaluation. The screening committee should o check whether the exhibits have been kept in the right section. A malpractice arising out of the participants using the same ticket number is that at times, they include a number of entries for the same ticket number, more than what they’ve paid for. This anomaly creates a lot of embarrassment for both the organisers and judges at the time of judgement. It becomes difficult to decide which exhibits should be judged and which ones should be rejected. The organisers must also make sure whether or not a participant is to be allowed to enter more than one exhibits in a particular section. Once more than one exhibit is allowed, there should be no such condition that only one prize will be given to a participant in a section. How can the judges leave out a specimen if it is deserving? Often visitors wonder as to why a particular exhibit was not given a prize. This anomaly on the part of the organisers reflects badly on the judges.

Besides, plenty of space should be provided for exhibits in categories that get a large number of entries. In the past, there have been more entries in the nasturtium, petunia, salvia, kale, nemasia, brachycome and marigold sections whereas there are a fewer participants in the carnation, roses, cineraria, phlox, aster, antirrhinum etc, categories. Space should be allotted accordingly, to enable the judges to reach the last pot on display. Moreover, exhibits that are tightly packed may get spoiled.

Sometimes gardening experts or nursery staff participate in the amateur section, which they should not if the rules do not permit. It is also the job of the screening committee to reject such participation if a wrong declaration has been made. No doubt, such participants have mastered the art of producing quality flowers and their participation in a category for amateurs puts the latter at a disadvantage.

The participants should also shun the practice of uprooting the plants from the beds and planting them afresh in pots. Such entries are rejected. In the cut flower section, use of dye to artificially colour the blooms is not desirable. It is normally done in the case of carnations, gladiolus, tuberose etc. Such entries too are rejected.

What matters is not to see ones’ name repeatedly in the list of winners but the spirit behind the show. The flower and garden shows should not cause heartburn at the end of the day.

This feature was published on March 21, 2004