Trails End Iris Gardens, Ontario, Canada

Iris Flower Shows

Planning to attend an Iris Show? There will be flower stems on display from some of the local iris lovers and hybridizers. You will see some of the newest introductions along with some good old favourites. The show will go on whether rain or shine. Judging is usually held under a roof to protect the entries from the elements. There will most likely be classes for other perennials as well. There may even be a class for floral arrangements known as the artistic arrangements. Join in the fun by bringing your best stalks for display and judging by qualified American Iris Society Judges. You may even win the Novice Cup!!

Prior to the show day, ask to review the schedule. It will give you the complete details on entry classes including other perennials, show times, directions, etc.

  • Arrive well before the show commences
  • Judging usually commences promptly
  • Bring your lunch
  • Shows are normally open to the public
  • Enjoy chatting with other Iris lovers

How To Enter An Iris Show?
So you're thinking about entering an Iris flower show for the first time. Not to worry, you will be considered a novice and there will be plenty of help from the experienced members. You might even win the Novice Cup.

To take the rush out of getting to the show on time, you may want to select and cut your stems the day before the show. Depending on the flower development, you could hold them back from opening further by storing them in a cool place or warm them gently to encourage flowers to open to their full extent.

How To Get Prepared?
Now is a good time to examine the flower for blemishes, 'unwelcome' visitors and stray dirt. Use a Q-tip to clean away any undesirables being careful not to damage the petals. Remove any fading flowers, but not the spathe (the papery covering over the bud). Trim off any blemishes on the leaves, but no more than " and cut to the shape of the leaf; (no blunt cuts).

Judging an iris in a vase is quite different from judging it in the garden and the criteria is also different.
Judges are looking for:

  • Cultural perfection (how well was it grown)
  • Condition and grooming (how well was it prepared for entry)
You will need to know the correct cultivar name of the iris and it's class or type.
For example: Name - 'Dynamite';   Class (type) - 'Tall Bearded'

How To Drive To The Show Holding Iris Stalks So That They Don't Touch And Break A Petal?
Find a long shallow box or lid. Put some notches in one end and lay the flowers horizontally with some tissue packed around the stems; or, find a tall box with cardboard dividers such as a liquor box. Fit vases in and place the stalks using cotton balls to stabilize each stem. Drive carefully and stop very, very slowly.

What To Do Once You Have Arrived Safely?
When you arrive at the show, there will be experienced members ready to help you. Transfer your stems into the vases provided by the show committee. Determine the best height and if necessary cut the stalk to it's best height. Be sure to gently rub off any fingerprints on the stem, a cotton ball works well and some people use talcum powder to replace the natural film. Use a cotton ball or tissue to prop the stalk firmly in the vase.

Fill out the entry form and wish yourself GOOD LUCK.