by Yoni Mayeri
What is a GCA Flower Show and who gets to judge them? GCA clubs throughout the country host Flower Shows at various types of venues. At each show you will see displays in several divisions: Floral Design, Horticulture, Photography, Botanical Arts, Conservation, and Education. GCA establishes standards of excellence for each type of show and shows must conform to these requirements.
Many months of planning go into a Flower Show and they are a lot of fun to enter and attend. There are many levels of the shows, described in detail in The Flower Show and Judging Guide, affectionately known as the “Yellow Book”. It is updated annually and available for digital download on the GCA website for all members (click here).
The entries are judged by GCA Approved Judges, assisted by Prospective Judges and Candidates. Place and special awards are given to entrants who compete in the various classes. Each show will have a schedule published months in advance on the GCA website. If you are interested in entering a show, check out the upcoming shows on the site, go to the calendar and click on Flower Shows on the left. All of the upcoming shows throughout the country for the next couple of years will be listed. Be sure to read the schedule to see if it is open to members outside of the hosting club or Zone, and follow the directions carefully for entering.
Judging has been one of my favorite parts of being a member of the GCA. I am currently a prospective Photography Judge and hopefully will soon be a GCA Approved Photography Judge. The path to judging is educational, social, and fun. It has sent me to shows and workshops from Hawaii to New York, and everywhere in between. I have met so many talented members, stayed in wonderful places, and accessed fabulous insider tours of places I would not have otherwise seen. If you have the interest in and time for judging in any of the Divisions, I highly encourage you to do it.
This summer I judged the Honoring Olmsted Flower Show by the Rochester GC, done virtually. For the first time since the pandemic, I judged two in-person shows: the world famous Philadelphia Horticultural Society Flower Show (done outdoors for the first time ever) and The Language of Flowers Show by the Denver Garden Club at the newest building at the incredible Denver Botanic Garden. (see photos)
Get in touch if you would like to learn more about Flower Shows and Judging!
For more information, log onto the GCA website and visit the Flower Show page (click here):