Daylily Haiku Thursday | Much ado about Branching...

<posted March 21, 2013>  

Here is the AHS definition for branching.  

Branching is not a trait that can be used as a ruler across all cultivars in an exhibition show.

There.  I said it.

Something historic, which may only typically have two branches but the clump puts up 14 scapes, should be equally appreciated on the show bench as a cultivar which may show 5-way branching, but it is the only scape that the same-size clump produces.

Here's the scenario:
A panel of judges approaches these two scapes on the show bench. 

Exhibit A: two-way branching, with 18 buds
Exhibit B: five-way branching with 18 buds

Observes Exhibit A: Sees one wispy scape with only terminal Y branching and perfectly spaced blooms. Takes 5 points off for branching (half of the allowed points earned for branching) because “It just isn't there.”

Observes Exhibit B : Sees beefy scape with 5-way branching and perfect blooms. Scores perfect points for branching because it looks stunning in the vase as a single example.

The first one, registered with 2 branches, is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.  Branch 2 ways.  Should judges take points off for branching because “it isn't there?”   In my opinion, no.

I am lenient (yet observant) on branching, until it gets to the head table.  Then, I ask classification for registration information on branching if my Best In Show scores are close.  (NOTE: I've taken to using my iPhone/iPad during the show to access the AHS Database so I can get the information myself.)

The branching points aren't to be used to measure what we would like to see the branching be…it is what it is.  Of course I’d like to see every cultivar have wonderfully spaced 5 way branching, but that isn't reality.

We cannot translate garden-value judging to the exhibition-value judging.  Those are apples and oranges.  

Exhibition Judges should use caution when taking off points for branching simply because it is scant as it appears on the table.  You aren't asked to judge whether you think the cultivar has good branching, you are judging whether its branching is showing as it is registered.  You might think that cultivars that only branch with a terminal Y are "scant", but if that's how it is registered, then it is not "scant" it is "as registered."  

While judging sections, unless I see something that is not proportionate or strange that causes me to check the registration data for branching and bud count, I do not tend to deduct much for branching and bud count.  But that's just me.

On the right is a wonderfully branched scape of H. 'Holy Water' from Frank Smith.  This was observed in one of his shade houses during the 2009 National Convention.

MORAL OF THE STORY: A registered cultivar should only be expected to perform to the standards indicated in its registration data, which is provided by the hybridizer.  

While judging an exhibit, judges should never say, “Well, look at the branching on THAT one,”  pointing to the exhibit that is showing somewhere else in the section.  That is an inappropriate comparison to make since registered cultivars are only judged against others in its name class until it reaches the head table. The exhibit competes against itself and its registration data- not other cultivars in the section.

I think some exhibitors are under the impression that only a beefy scape with high branching and high bud count should/could/would win the show.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  Using the AHS Scale of Points correctly, any daylily from any year, any hybridizer or any grower could win Best In Show.

What do you think?



5 Most Visited Posts. Ever.

The Entire Vault

My New Podcast - Click Below!