THE GROWING WORLD OF DAHLIAS
NDS JUDGING RULES IN THE UK
The judging of dahlias is not and cannot be an exact science and so, as a decision must often rest on the Judge’s personal knowledge and experience, they must take care that in arriving at their decision they are not swayed by their personal dislikes or preferences, whether for cultivars, colours, formation or for any other reason.
AT ALL TIMES THE QUALITY OF A BLOOM MUST BE THE FIRST AND CHIEF CONSIDERATION, AND MUST OVERRIDE MERE SIZE.
ALL EXHIBITS MUST BE JUDGED AS SEEN AT THE TIME OF JUDGINGAND NOT AS THEY POSSIBLY WERE, OR MIGHT BECOME.
It is the duty of all who judge dahlias to acquire a thorough knowledge of all the various Classes, their habits of growth, and the formation of their blooms.
All judges must deal fairly and impartially with any infringement of the rules, the show regulations, and all schedule and local requirements of the organisation whose competitive classes are being judged.
The judges should LOOK for perfection in each bloom, but NOT HANDLE THE BLOOM and when assessing its true merits, the quality, i.e. formation, centre, freshness colour and stem, should be regarded as factors of paramount importance; and then, all imperfections, defects and blemishes, termed faults should be considered as items detracting from the merits of the exhibit.
A fault may be minor or serious, in accordance with the circumstances, or the extent, to which it is present in the exhibit and few hard and fast rules can be laid down to deal with each of them. All faults should therefore be carefully assessed and placed within a true perspective in relation to the exhibit as a whole. Please see section on FAULTS.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR EXHIBITION IN COMPETITIVE CLASSES
All dahlias exhibited in competitive classes must conform to the classes in which they are shown, by Classification, Formation or Size.
Dahlias included in the current issue of the National Dahlia Society’sClassified Directory of Dahlias are "Classified cultivars" and may only be exhibited in the classes for which they have been classified.
An unclassified cultivar which conforms with the formation and size, relative to the class in which it is exhibited, and shall be judged on the same basis as a classified cultivar.
An unclassified cultivar which fails to conform to the correct FORMATION of the class in which it is exhibited shall not be disqualified.
The sizes shown in the internationally recognised Class Classification, Formation and Sizes are an indication for garden purposes of the size of blooms obtainable from dahlias grown under reasonably good conditions, and dahlia cultivars are classified accordingly.
Well cultivated plants grown for exhibition, with superior culture or grown in more favourable soil or climatic conditions, may produce larger or smaller blooms and it is not intended that cultivation for exhibition purposes should be discouraged or that larger or smaller blooms be penalised solely because of their size, but it is considered essential, to ensure fair competition and standardisation that size limits be set for each class of dahlia.
Exhibition standards have, therefore, been adopted and blooms exceeding the maximum sizes for the class in which they are exhibited must be disqualified. This applies equally to classified and unclassified cultivars.
Note: See section on Seedlings and Sports
Any vases must be disqualified for any of the following reasons:
1. Bloom size incorrect:-
i. Blooms of Large-flowered dahlias exceeding 260mm
ii. Blooms of Medium-flowered dahlias exceeding 220mm
iii. Blooms of Small-flowered dahlias exceeding 170mm
iv. Blooms of Miniature-flowered dahlias exceeding 115mm
v. Blooms of Pompon dahlias exceeding 52mm and Large Pom exceeding 83mm
NOTE: Judges should use N.D.S. approved rings.
The florets of blooms exhibited must pass cleanly through, without touching the inside circumference of the ring.
If a vase(s) in a multi-vase exhibit should be N.A.S. for oversize bloom or blooms, then the remainder of the exhibit must be judged and evaluated as a competitive exhibit. The whole exhibit can be considered for awards, and awards to individual vases can be permitted, (except the disqualified vase or vases). (e.g. Best vase in its class in that exhibit).
2. Blooms artificially supported above the top level of the vase. It should be noted that an artificial support warranting disqualification could be an internal or external support, supporting a weak stem. Pieces of material normally used for packing purposes and not deemed to be supporting stems/& flowers found above the level of the vase, e.g. oasis, pieces of stalk, and paper shall not be a reason for disqualification. Note: If an exhibitor has used internal artificial support above the top level of the vase and it is confirmed, the matter shall be dealt with by the Affiliated Society Committee responsible for the show.
3. Incorrect number of blooms in an exhibit.
4. Classified bloom exhibited in the wrong class.
5. If a vase in a multi-vase exhibit should be N.A.S. for any reason other than oversize bloom(s), then the whole exhibit must be disqualified. The whole exhibit CANNOT be considered for an award, but awards to individual vases, other than the disqualified vase(s), are permitted (e.g. Best vase in its class in that exhibit).
6. All exhibitors are reminded that all buds, whether embryo or showing colour, will be treated as blooms and will result in disqualification under rule 3 if not removed.
7. Where called for in the class for distinct varieties they should be clearly distinct as viewed on the bench.
The following ideals are set out and are to be used as a standard:
The blooms should be fresh and clean; all florets should be intact, firm and without blemish or defect. The colour or colours should be clear and well defined.
(a) Decorative, Cactus and Semi-Cactus Dahlias
(b) Ball Dahlias
(c) Waterlily Dahlias
(d) Pompon Dahlias
(e) Single and Collerette Dahlias
(f) Anemone-flowered Dahlias
(g) Miscellaneous Dahlias
(h) Fimbriated Dahlias
Generally a Fimbriated dahlia should be a fully double bloom.
(i) Star Dahlias
(j) Double Orchid
(k) Paeony Dahlias
(l) Cut Flowers
1. As a general principle anything that detracts from the perfection of a bloom, or an exhibit, is a "fault" and the seriousness or otherwise of the fault depends upon the degree of imperfection. Whereas a damaged, eaten, or malformed floret at the rear of the bloom does little to detract from its beauty and overall perfection, that same defect on the face of the bloom, one which mars its beauty, would be considered a very serious fault. In judging an exhibit the following faults must be evaluated accordingly.
2. It is a VERY SERIOUS fault if a bloom:
c. Has been badly damaged, eaten, bruised or otherwise blemished on the face of the bloom
d. Has limp drooping florets
e. Has had an excessive number of florets removed
f. Has an open (daisy-eyed) centre (double-flowered cultivars only)
g. Has a centre that is hard and green, large and undeveloped or badly distorted.
h. Has oval or isolated centres.
i. Has a gap created by a missing outer floret.
j. Seriously departs from the standard formation of the class of dahlia for which the class calls.
3. Faults of a LESSER DEGREE, in accordance with the amount by which the fault detracts from the perfection of a bloom, are as follows:
a. Irregular or oval outline of bloom.
b. Has sunken centres.
c. Uneven, irregular, or unbalanced formation.
d. Florets lacking freshness or which are bleached, discoloured, faded, eaten, bruised, malformed or otherwise blemished on the rear of the bloom.
e. Florets that have been removed.
f. Stems which are bent, weak, short jointed, thick and out of proportion.
g. Uneven or inconsistent colouring, but this does not apply to bi-coloured or variegated blooms.
h. Shallow blooms, i.e. those lacking depth or fullness.
i. Blooms which are either immature or past their best.
j. Blooms below the minimum classification size for that classification.
k. Presence of pests.
Angle of Blooms
a. Blooms of pompon dahlias should face upwards on a straight firm stem and any variation of this must be regarded as a fault.
When several blooms are shown together in an exhibit, it is a fault for them to face at different angles.
CLASSES FOR NEW SEEDLINGS AND SPORTS
Seedlings with new, pleasing formations, colour or colours; considered to be an improvement on established cultivars of similar formation shall be considered meritorious. Exhibits may be judged for exhibition or garden merit, and although these classes need not necessarily be judged to exhibition standards the basic ideals and faults, as detailed in Ideals and Faults, must be observed. The quality of blooms, as defined in the General Introduction, remains the chief consideration. A seedling should conform with the formation and size relative to the class in which it is exhibited and shall be judged for POTENTIAL. As it is being judged for potential, the oversize rule does not apply to Seedling and Sport classes.
EXHIBITS MUST NOT BE NAMED UNTIL JUDGING HAS TAKEN PLACE.
EVALUATION OF MULTI-VASE EXHIBITS
The following recommendations are included as guidance to the judging of exhibits containing more than one classification of dahlias.
1. Examine all entries to confirm that they comply with the Schedule and contain no factors requiring disqualification.
2. Evaluation. The first classification of dahlias is to be judged. A selected vase of a high standard/quality MUST be awarded a mark out of 30. This becomes the Standard Vase for all exhibits in the class and should be used as a reference /bench mark for the class (it need not necessarily be the best or highest pointed vase in the class.
3. Taking the next classification to be judged, the vases are judged with reference being made to the Standard Vase. Assessment and marking should reflect consistency and quality of exhibits.
4. All remaining classifications should be judged similarly. Like must be judged against like at all times and any single vase entries of a classification being judged against the Standard Vase.
5. When all classifications are judged and marked, the evaluation cards are totalled and a check must be made to confirm that all vases/classifications have been judged. The highest accumulative marks obtained determine the placing.
6. If desired, this system may be used for judging multi-vase exhibits of the same classification.
7. It is recommended that the results of evaluation are not used in the individual assessment of special awards.
8. If a vase(s) in a multi-vase exhibit should be N.A.S. for oversize bloom or blooms, then the remainder of the exhibit must be judged and evaluated as a competitive exhibit. The whole exhibit can be considered for awards, and awards to individual vases can be permitted, (except the disqualified vase or vases).
(e.g. Best vase in its class in that exhibit).
9.If a vase in a multi-vase exhibit should be N.A.S. for any reason other than oversize bloom(s), then the whole exhibit must be disqualified. The whole exhibit CANNOT be considered for an award, but awards to individual vases, other than the disqualified vase(s), are permitted (e.g. Best vase in its class in that exhibit).
GUIDE LINES FOR JUDGING BASKETS, BOWLS AND DISPLAYS.
It is advisable to step back from the exhibits as a whole and take in the effects of the exhibits. Make sure that the schedule is well read and understood, taking a close look at the requirements and in some cases theme.
Some schedules may place restrictions on containers, blooms numbers or size and colours, foliage and accessories that may be used as well as the overall staging space for the exhibit. So checking the exhibits meet these requirements is important before continuing to judge.
After judging double check your points totals before awarding prizes.
100 Point maximum.
The blooms used should be fresh and conform to the classification/judging ideals of their section, requested in the schedule.
Unless specified by the schedule the oversize rule for blooms will not
apply, but the blooms should be in good proportion.
The exhibit should be well staged and create a well proportioned pleasing
effect showing good use of colour.
The exhibit should show a good interpretation of the class requirements
and the use of the best forms, colours and types to achieve this.
Originality should be rewarded.
Points should be awarded to well staged exhibits. The exhibit should be sized to be proportionate to the blooms used as well as the spaces between the blooms. Large spaces or touching blooms are not desirable and staging material should be hidden and not distract from the exhibit.
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