Irises forum: Iris Showing

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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
May 7, 2016 4:09 AM CST
I have yet to go to an iris show, and so I've never shown an iris. I thought it might be nice to learn just what to expect when I visit my first show, and what to do if I would decide to take an iris. How long to leave the stem, what kind of stem to look for, how to preserve it and transport it safely, you know all the little tricks to keep it fresh and nice. So here's the place for you guys who show irises to tell us how to do it, and for others to post their questions. Smiling Also feel free to post pictures of your shows here, and any thing that judges are looking for etc.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
May 7, 2016 12:26 PM CST
Or maybe not. Sighing!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
May 7, 2016 12:34 PM CST
I'd be interested in that information, as well. Not that I have any plans to show myself, but if I were to ever want to... Big Grin
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
May 7, 2016 12:37 PM CST
I've never been to a show. If I remember right Lucy said they place and transport the Iris stalks in buckets of damp sand to keep them upright and inplace.
Lucy did I remember this right?
Name: Jane H.
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Irises Birds Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Clematis
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janielouy
May 7, 2016 1:04 PM CST
The hardest thing to do is to transport your irises without breaking them or knocking off the buds. There are several ways to do that. Our biggest show person brings his irises in his van with "vases" made from PVC pipes hooked together so that they have water as well. I am not that inventive so I use an old drywall bucket and roll up newspaper into tubes until the bucket is almost filled then I insert the iris stems into the openings in the rolls of newspaper. I have also used cut up pool noodles that have large holes and also styrofoam pieces that are round (my son has them from HVAC packing) and add water to the bottom of the bucket. This keeps the irises from knocking into each other and also keeps them hydrated. You must pick stalks that still have the top bloom or you will not win. Candelabra shaped is best with the flowers not touching the stems or each other.
Hope this helps. I won Queen of Show on my first try at it but it is harder than one would think . It all depends on what you have blooming at the time that fits the bill. You can cut one that you expect to bloom and bring it inside and put it in a warm shower room. Some people refrigerate ones that they do not want to bloom too soon but my fridge is not that large.
Name: Niki
Bend, Oregon (Zone 6a)
Flowers are food for the soul.
Region: Oregon Bee Lover Butterflies Daylilies Dragonflies Frogs and Toads
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HighdesertNiki
May 7, 2016 3:57 PM CST
Acorn Thanks for the information Janie, even if I probably will never go to a show because there is no nearby Iris Club to join.
"The Earth laughs in flowers."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
May 7, 2016 4:00 PM CST
I hope more people chime in. This is fascinating to learn. The warm shower room to move along bloom - I would never have thought of that!

Thanks Janie.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
May 7, 2016 4:53 PM CST
What categories do they have? What's Queen of show? Do they have color categories, I've heard of best of show, but what sub groups do they judge? Someone said they won best of pinks somewhere in the past. How many stalks can one take? Do the judges know who brought each stem or do they judge them without knowing that. Sooo many questions.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
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irisarian
May 7, 2016 6:55 PM CST
The tags with iris ID are closed during judging so judges don't know who brought which stalk. In seedling classes we turn the tags over as many judges are familiar with the seedling numbers from garden visits.

It is more difficult to keep TBs looking good than the medians. Each person has their own way to transport. We are coming back from convention the day before the show so probably won't have much. But even if you have only 1 stalk to show, if it is nice. it helps out. Shows are a good way to introduce irises to the public. Even stalks put nicely in place can show fingerprints so at the last minute we rub them down with cotton balls. The club provides the show containers ( ours are made from pcb pipes). There are often wedges to hold them upright. A partially open bud is judged as a fully open one. Seedlings are not 'groomed'.

Name: Jane H.
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Irises Birds Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Clematis
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janielouy
May 7, 2016 7:35 PM CST
We have one fellow who brings sometimes 50-60 flowers so there is no limit. Our club has color classes for Best Pink, Best Dark, Best White, etc. The Queen of Show or some call it Best of Show is the overall winner. Our club shares "vases" or tubes made from plexiglass that we borrow from the daylily society. There are different classes of designs using iris and seedlings, medians, usually SDBs are finished blooming by show time.
This year I am afraid the TBs will be all gone before our show on May 14th. Early bloom season is a bad thing for a late show but we can't have it on Derby for sure or Mother's Day. April is usually too early in KY for a show.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
May 8, 2016 4:03 AM CST
Thanks for the information. So how does one "groom" an iris?
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
May 8, 2016 10:19 AM CST
The stem should be held upright. As I said, wipe the stem with a cotton ball. Look at the spaeth & smooth it out with your fingers. If it is starting to get brown, you can trim it with small scissors. Practice at home with ones you are not taking to the show. If you tell show people that you are new to showing, they may show you how. Or they may get competative & not show you. You may have friends there. Or take a couple of your seedlings. They are not groomed so they can be evaluated & you can watch others groom. The schedule will show the classes. Originally shows were color classed & now they are sections (TB, IB etc). There may be specials (best pink etc). this year we are trying 'challenge' classes which are added to the regular. TB 'Ink Patterns' & IB 'Star in the Night'. I took one of the IBs since I didn't think the TB would be in bloom here. We Each took a new plant of each one which the club provided & grew it for the show. Note: when trimming, follow the shape of the spaeth , don't just whack it off. That is why you practice at home.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
May 8, 2016 11:57 AM CST
Sounds like I have a lot to learn. Maybe I should just observe the first time.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: John
Kansas City,MO (Zone 6a)
Region: Missouri Composter Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plays in the sandbox
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yadah_tyger
May 8, 2016 12:23 PM CST
Tom - It has been my experience that the best way to learn is giving it a shot. You have nothing to loose and you get taught a whole bunch for free.. And you get to have a whole bunch of fun at that.

Blessings
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' Theodore Roosevelt
Name: Jane H.
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Irises Birds Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Clematis
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janielouy
May 8, 2016 12:27 PM CST
Another way to learn a lot is to volunteer as a clerk and then you hear all of the judges critiques and you can learn that way but you are not allowed to talk. Hard for me.....
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
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janwax
May 8, 2016 1:12 PM CST
This was our second year showing our irises. There is a lot to learn as far as judging is concerned.
The weather, and what is blooming in your garden, play a big part. I had so many that had reached their
peak the week before the show. The Club acknowledged that May 7 was a bit late this year for a good show.
Many gardens were done - so they encouraged everyone to bring what they have. It turned out to be a nice show.

I walk around with pen and paper jotting down the names of irises that knock me out. The Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa,
where the Iris Society is centered, has a lovely rose and iris garden. They still had some beautiful blooms - and big ones!

We had one stalk critiqued - No Place Like Home. It was quite tall and well branched, with one bloom and four unopened
buds. If one of the unopened buds had been open, I was told that it would have rated a higher score- as it is it got a second - a red ribbon.. There are tricks to all of this.
Had I taken the time at home to use means, such as a hairdryer or warm water to force the bloom, it would have helped.
Any flawed leaves should be removed, and missing parts excluded. Finger prints on the waxy stem should be removed, etc. etc.
The best part for me is to see others' irises. I saw one called Cat Walk that stopped me in my tracks - a sable burgundy two-tone, like velvet.
Chris devised an iris carrier, with duct tape placed in a checkerboard pattern on the rim of a bucket. Slipping the stems into the squares is a tricky endeavor. Getting the
irises to the show, intact, is an accomplishment! They should be kept from touching each other.

Our club has organized a uniform display vase, with boxes of the simple parts . We had two hours to put our entries together on tables set
up for the purpose. Entry forms have to be filled out with the name of the iris, the exhibitor, class, etc. We had from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. to do this.
Chris did the entry work while I filled out the forms.
Here's a photo that shows the "vases" the club provides:




Thumb of 2016-05-08/janwax/8a7125

One last thing: even though Chris and I are newcomers to this group of old friends,
we felt welcome. The club put out coffee and breakfast goodies in the early hours, and after the
judging they had a pasta and salad lunch. Members were very helpful and share their knowledge.
I learned a lot from these people! If we lived closer than the hour and a half drive down there, we'd make
all the meetings!
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
[Last edited by janwax - May 8, 2016 1:59 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1142312 (16)
Name: Charlotte
Salt Lake City, Utah (Zone 6b)
genealogist specializing in French
Irises Region: Utah Hostas Bulbs
cbunny41
May 9, 2016 1:50 PM CST
We used to display by color, but for a number of years it has been by type and then alphabetical. We have Rosette and premium awards from our Society for Runner-up to Best Specimen and Runner-up to Sweepstakes as well as the AIS ones, Best Specimen (Queen), Sweepstakes (most Blue Ribbons), Best Design and Best Seedling. At this first show two people had the same amount of blue ribbons and so it went to the one who also had the most red ribbons. I remembert years ago a time when we went to the thirds (Yellow) and the winner had one more third. Ribbons are blue=first, red=second, yellow=third and white is honorable mention. I don't think we have used the white ribbons in some time. We award premiums in both sections which are usually new or one year old introductions.

In Artistic Design you have Advanced Amateur, Amateur and Novice depending on how many ribbons you have or have not won. Also a Youth section. Each design is only judged against others in its group. When we have enough designs and it is merited, we can have a Runner-up to Best Design and even special awards. I did a lot of designs in the past, but not in several years. Now that I have more flowers, I may do one or two. I was getting flowers from others, but it is hard to plan without knowing ahead of time what colors may be available.

Saturday I didn't have access to a car, so hitched a ride. Only took three specimens and mismarked the IB as an SDB, But I got blues on both MTBs, Frilly Molly and Coral Caper

I am not currently an officer, but was Treasurer for many years and President twice for two years each. We had only bearded iris this time from Standard Dwarfs through Talls. I clerked several times and then became a judge, but life got away from me and I was not fulfilling my duties and was dropped.
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
May 9, 2016 4:01 PM CST
Congrats on the ribbons, Charlotte!! I tip my hat to you.
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
Name: Charlotte
Salt Lake City, Utah (Zone 6b)
genealogist specializing in French
Irises Region: Utah Hostas Bulbs
cbunny41
May 10, 2016 12:29 AM CST
Thanks

Region: California
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UndertheSun
May 10, 2016 12:55 AM CST
Congrats Charlotte! Thumbs up

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