Keep Calm and Exhibit On... | Daylily Blog about Daylily Shows

<posted March 11, 2013>

Many clubs have met for the first time of the year and plans have started formulating for the year’s activities.  A topic of much discussion at the local level must be an accredited AHS Exhibition Show, as I have received three emails from three different states in the last 10 days.  Generally, their emails all ask the same question – how can I get my club fired up about having an AHS-accredited show?

The theme is generally the same around the country – “we don’t have the money”, “we don’t have the energy/manpower”, or “we don’t like what the competition brings out in our members.” 
Often the “WE” is a loud minority, who has been-there-and-done-that and isn't interested in going there again.   
I could write a novel about jaded, controlling, bullying behaviors in hobby clubs, but I won’t go there today. Where I will go is to tell those who are just discovering daylily shows, and those who have the desire to host such an event – MOVE FORWARD WITH YOUR GRAND PLANS DESPITE THE RESISTANCE.

One club in my region is struggling with how to get enthused about such an “old-fashioned” thing to do.  I created a new colorful, informative PowerPoint presentation for that club.  

It is filled with my photos that are meant to stimulate discussion, enthusiasm and encouragement around accredited AHS Daylily Shows.  It is also peppered with some educational information to get folks excited about doing a show.  I’m offering it here to you as well – just in case you need a bit of ammunition to get your club talking.  And smiling.  And having a good time bringing in new daylily fans.

Click here to download the presentation. This presentation and the photos contained within remain my personal property, for your private use and not for mass distribution by you to any other forum such as Facebook.  Mind your sharing manners, please.

I was also asked a bit ago to provide my personal perspective to some frequently mentioned ideas around why folks aren't personally enthused about a show:

1.)  "I don't want to waste a whole scape to bring it to the show."
That's a common feeling.  If it’s a new cultivar, or its one you are using for hybridizing, then don’t cut it.  But, on a clump that is surely going to produce multiple scapes, you won’t miss one - I promise.  The feeling of contributing to the public education of daylilies is much greater.  There are over 70,000 registered daylilies.  You have plenty that no one has ever seen before.  Cut one, clean it up and bring it in.  Once you try it, you will wonder why you never did it more in the past.

2.)  "I don't need a 'judge' telling me my flowers are pretty.  I can see that for myself."
Exhibiting daylilies isn't about the 'prettiest' flower, it is about STANDARDS.  Judges look for traits such as scape height, flower texture, flower substance, grooming, flower color, flower size, growing conditions, etc.  Pretty only goes so far.  Judges are judging on a defined set of criteria for each individual flower.  The standard the judge’s use is the hybridizers registration information.  For example:  EL DESPERADO is registered at a certain size.  If an exhibit is shown growing smaller than the registered size, points are deducted.  If it is registered as a bright yellow and is shown as a muddy cream, points are deducted, etc.  Remember, the judges aren’t judging YOU, they are judging flowers to the registered standard.

3.)  "I don't like competition."
That's okay.  The mission of an accredited American Hemerocallis Society Exhibition Show is PUBLIC EDUCATION - not competition.  There are only about 70 shows held each year and being a part of that is a great thing.  Not too many clubs can say they hold an accredited show!

4.)  "I don't grow any new or expensive daylilies." Year, cost or hybridizer does not matter in exhibition shows.  The average year of introduction for section winners in the last decade+ is 1988.  Any daylily can win.  And does.

(H. 'Brookwood Black Kitten' - one of my favorite flowers to exhibit.  This is a very tiny flower.)

I also gave some ideas about how to get exhibitors enthused about exhibiting in the show:
1.)  Get tags early from AHS and distribute.  Have a quick learning session on how to fill them out correctly and completely.
2.)  Offer a raffle prize of good value (a new introduction, AHS coffee table book, 3-year memberships in AHS, etc.) to all exhibitors.  Offer them one chance to win for every scape they enter. 
3.)  Have a grooming clinic given by an AHS judge a couple of weeks before the show.  Groom real scapes.  Bring real tools and let folks use them in this clinic. 
4.)  Add a Photography Contest.
5.)  Add an off-scape section. 
6.)  Add a design section.
7.)  Add a novice section that allows "first-timers" to enter without too much fear. 
8.)  Carpool to nearby shows to see what's being done.  The AHS website contains a list of all accredited shows in the country! 
9.)  Provide a clear picture to your members about what to expect on show day and what the procedures will be.  Informed folks are happy folks.  
The purpose of a daylily show is to get people inspired about daylilies, and we can’t do that if our members don’t bring in a few to share.  I promise, if you bring scapes to the show and participate with an open mind, you will have a GREAT TIME.  How long has it been since you HAD A GREAT TIME doing something different?  You will have connected with the club, you will have connected to the national organization, and you will have connected with other daylily fans like yourself.  

(L-R: a seedling of mine and H. 'Worthy One' - both my exhibits)

(L-R: H. 'Mexican Magic' and H. 'Threshold of a Dream' - both my exhibits)

Having a show for your local gardening public IS WORTH THE EFFORT.  It’s your responsibility to take the daylily to them – to the nurseries, to the libraries, to the malls, to the state fairs, to the farmers markets – in a way they have never seen them.  Getting them to the show will get them to your gardens, and will get them to your club meetings.

Who is hosting a show this year and what are you doing to get your less-than-thrilled members fired up about it?

Keep calm and exhibit on.  This is a tradition worth the effort.

All photos taken at the 2012 Southwestern Illinois Hemerocallis Society Exhibition Show in Alton, Illinois


Anonymous said...

In one of your pictures of the show is a lady on the left in a pink shirt standing in front of a white bucket of daylily scapes with something blue wrapped around them. What are those and what is their purpose? I've only been to one accredited show years ago in Columbus, OH and really enjoyed it. The Columbus Metropolitan Daylily Society put it on. If they ever have another one, I wold love to enter something. Is there someplace I can read about how to prepare and exhibit a daylily in a show? Your enthusiasm is quite contagious. :)
Becki Pavlik
Westerville, OH

Nikki Schmith said...

That is the device she fashioned to transport her cut scapes to the show. She simply cut a "dollar store" pool noodle into sections and wedged into the bucket. The hole in the middle is just the right size for a scape, if its too big she can shove a make up sponge or other soft material to sturdy the scape.
I made a similar one with foam pipe insulation tubes. After many trials with transporting containers, this was the best idea.

Nikki Schmith said...

Here is a great article from the AHS website about transporting daylilies to the show.


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