Daylily Blog | Popularity Polls In Accredited Shows

<posted March 5, 2015>  This is the daylily, H. 'The Milkman Did It' taken in the Bear W Daylily Garden during the 2014 AHS National Convention.   It's a gorgeous 28" tall, 2011 introduction from Chris Rea that shows off a 5.75" bloom and is an evergreen, tetraploid with 22 buds and 4 branches.  This was the first time I had seen this in person and it was simply stunning.

Over the past two weeks, I have received three emails relating to daylily exhibition shows and the Popularity Poll section in those accredited shows. Unrelated and coincidentally, a discussion on this very topic occurred at the Fall Board meeting of the AHS in Louisville last October.

I thought I would use the blog this week to clarify some of the finer points of exhibiting Popularity Poll winning entries at accredited exhibition shows.

What is the AHS Popularity Poll?

From the AHS website at, 
"As a service to its members and to the general public, each year the American Hemerocallis Society (AHS) conducts a popularity poll among its members to determine the favorite daylilies from each region. (Click here to see what AHS Region you live in.) It is the hope of the AHS that this Popularity Poll presents a true picture of which daylilies perform well in a given area and which are best liked by the membership. Popularity polls are important to daylily growers -- both AHS members and nonmembers -- who make daylily selections for purchase."
Click here to view last year's results.

Displaying Popularity Poll Winners In AHS-accredited shows
There is a dedicated section of the AHS-accredited daylily exhibition show for winners of the current year Popularity Poll. 

Until the last decade or so, exhibits in this dedicated show section were limited to only the top vote getter for that region.  So, expectedly, the entries in this section were often scant. In order to increase the size and scope of this section, the AHS Board of Directors voted to allow a show chairman to choose one or many of the TOP FIVE winners in the regional popularity poll.  While this did increase participation and display in this section, it also has increased confusion for some exhibitors and show planners.

For 2015, the Exhibitions Chair (with the support of the Judge’s Education chair and after a full-board discussion at the Fall AHS Board of Directors meeting in Louisville) has clarified this point in all communications regarding the show and judges education materials.

There had been questions from all over the country regarding ties in the Popularity Poll and how this should be handled for accredited shows.  The language for show schedules and judges for 2015 will be:
Section 9: Regional Popularity Poll – List one or all of the cultivars in the top 5 positions in your own region’s Pop Poll (including ties). 
This leaves some interpretation and CHOICE open to the local show chairman.  

The chairman/local committee can decide which cultivars will be restricted to this section.  

If a cultivar is listed in the show program as being allowed in Section 9, IT CANNOT BE SHOWN IN ANY OTHER SECTION OF THE SHOW. Chairmen/committees should consider this fact when choosing which cultivars will be restricted to Section 9.  PERIOD.  If a cultivar is shown on the Popularity Poll winners list for a region and is NOT chosen to be restricted to Section 9, then it can be shown in whatever section its registration data dictates.

For example, using the data found here, the regional popularity poll winners for Region 2 are as follows:

1. 'Webster's Pink Wonder'                        

2. 'Primal Scream'                              

3. 'Ruby Spider'                  

4. 'Heavenly Angel Ice'           

5. 'On The Avenue'

Here is 'Ruby Spider' showing off a random form:

If I were the local show chairman for a show in Region 2, I can decide that only 'Webster's Pink Wonder' will be shown in Section 9.  That will be published in the show schedule and 'Webster's Pink Wonder' will not be allowed in any other section of the show under ANY circumstances.  (This might be a good decision this year since it is also the reigning Stout Silver Medal Winner.  But this might be a bad decision because maybe few people in my club grow it, therefore this section will be thin or empty on show day.)

I could also make a different decision to allow 'Webster's Pink Wonder,' 'Primal Scream' and 'Ruby Spider' in Section 9. That will be published in the show schedule and those three cultivars will not be allowed in any other section of the show under ANY circumstances. (This might be a good decision because it will ensure more entries in Section 9.)

You see, the local chair/committee has some choice in what will or will not be restricted to this section.  STRATEGY TIP:  You have to also remember that according to AHS rules, only ONE cultivar in each name class can receive a blue, red, yellow or purple ribbon.  So, if there are 10 perfect exhibits of 'Webster's Pink Wonder' shown, only one is going home with a blue, one with a red and one with a yellow (if merited.) That will leave possibly 7 perfect exhibits with NO ribbons and 3 judges with headaches. 

So, back to the bigger picture:

In the event of ties in the Regional Popularity Poll results, the rule highlighted above still applies.  "One or all of the cultivars in the top 5 positions in your own region’s Pop Poll (including ties)."  For a region with ties, (like Region 9 for example in 2014) they could choose to restrict more than 5 cultivars to section 9.  The rule says "top 5 POSITIONS" not top 5 cultivars.  In this example, Region 9's results looked like this:

1-3. 'Desert Icicle', 'Sandy B' and 'Skinwalker' (Tie)         

4-7. 'Aspen Blues', 'Primal Scream', 'Shores of Time' and Allison's Curls' (Tie) 

Here is a cool pic I took of 'Desert Icicle' in New York years ago:

Theoretically, the show chair/committee in this example could choose to restrict all 7 of these cultivars to Section 9 of the show.  Whether this is a good idea or not, is the decision of the local planning committee.  Remember, if it is listed on the show schedule as being shown in Section 9, it is not allowed in any other section under any circumstances.  If I were chairing a show in Region 9 using the results shown above, I would probably choose to restrict positions 1-3 to the Popularity Poll section of my show.  I would publish in the show schedule that 'Desert Icicle', 'Sandy B' and 'Skinwalker' would only be allowed to compete in Section 9.  The other cultivars showing on my regional winners list are now eligible to compete in their respective sections.

Don't make it more difficult than it needs to be. 

If you want to have one cultivar in the Popularity Poll section of your show, cool. If you want to have all of the top 5 positions (and that may be more than 5 cultivars), cool.  
If you want to pick a few of the top 5 positions, cool.  
If you want to pick two cultivars from the top 5 positions, cool.

Whatever floats your local boat is cool, as long as you are picking from your regional list, and you are only picking from your top 5 positions and you are clearly communicating which cultivars you have chosen.

I hope this has helped to stimulate your brain about Section 9 and it has helped you see the strategy behind what to select (or not to select) for the Popularity Poll section of your AHS accredited show.

Hoping this clears up the mud a bit.  If I can answer any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me.  If I do not know the answer, I certainly know who to consult.

Til next time- stay warm, friends.  Spring is coming.




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