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The term flower show may sound unusual or even too simple of a concept, but it is actually a term that helps describe a fully realized industry. In this industry, florists from all walks of life arrive in one place to demonstrate their skill in crafting floral arrangements for the purpose of being judged by industry professionals who may award those who score well.

What Is a Flower Show?

A flower show is an event where floral industry members gather for the purpose of encouraging interest in horticulture. A standard flower show, for example, is a type of flower show that conforms to standards established by the National Gardens Club, Inc. According to the National Gardens Club, the purpose of a standard flower show is educating the viewing public and club members, as well as encouraging interest in floral design and horticulture. Standard flower shows are also held to provide an outlet for florists to express themselves creatively, while also showing the general community what the objectives of the National Gardens Club accomplish.

The National Gardens Club actually sponsors schools that educate judges and club members about flower shows. Simply known as Flower Show School, these education institutions reside in many places around the country and within affiliate countries. The Handbook for Flower Shows is a 356-page manual used by the National Gardens Club to outline the rules, regulations, and requirements for standard flower shows. It is also the main textbook utilized in Flower Show School.

How Standard Flower Shows Work

Every prospective flower show must conform to the National Gardens Club standards to be deemed a Standard Garden Show. To start, a standard flower show is only planned and staged by National Gardens Club members or a collective of clubs within the umbrella organization. Throughout the show, the use of fresh plants as materials must strictly be defined for each show, meaning arrangements can only be constructed using fresh flowers and plants. The show schedule must be mechanically written and reproduced using exact wording that includes all necessary details of the prospective flower show. The prospective show must further include a Design Division and Horticulture Division. Most importantly, the prospective standard flower show must be judged by a panel or several panels of judges approved by the National Gardens Club. Standard flower shows are required to be judged by the National Gardens Club Standard System of Awarding.

National Gardens Club Standard Flower Shows have several different categories, which are based on the scope of the show itself. Small Standard Flower Shows hold a Horticulture Division and a Design Division. Each division hosts three to five classes of exhibits submitted by participants. Standard Flower Shows host the same divisions, however, accept up to five classes of exhibits. A show of this size tends to host more floral exhibits than its smaller counterpart, generally 20 or more.

The largest Standard Flower Shows are Advanced Standard Flower Shows and Major Flower Shows. Advanced Standard Flower Shows generally host more exhibition sections and may offer bigger awards than its smaller counterparts. Major Flower Shows are very large events that are usually co-sponsored by a plant society, botanical garden or other national or international organization. Each show type may host an additional division, known as the Special Exhibits Division. In the Special Exhibits Division, exhibits by individual garden collectives, educational exhibits, youth exhibits and sponsored group exhibits are displayed.

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