Hints for Exhibitors


These hints are offered particularly to encourage new exhibitors. Don’t say, “I’ve nothing to show”. Have a look around the garden and start with the Novice class – and the best of luck!


Cut in the evening before the Show or in the early morning. Remove damaged flowers, discoloured or broken leaves. Roses should, if possible, be buds just beginning to open, not fully open flowers. Check that the container is well filled with water to prevent wilting during the Show.


Select even-sized, unblemished specimens. Roots should be carefully washed but do not brush as this may damage the skins. Beet, carrots, parsnips, turnips and rhubarb should have the leaves or tops removed leaving not more than 3 inches attached. Rhubarb and tomatoes are classified as vegetables.


Should be fresh, uniform, free of blemish; preserve the natural bloom; keep the stalks intact.A Strig indicates a bunch or, in botanical terms, a complete raceme or panicle of berries. It is best detached from the plant with scissors and should not include any of the woody section at the base


A vase has a greater height than the width of its mouth. A bowl has a mouth width measurement equal to or greater than its height. A dish is a specified number or quantity of a fruit or vegetable constituting one item which may be displayed on a table or on a stand or on a receptacle of any material and of any shape. Unless specially permitted by the schedule, a dish must consist of one cultivar (variety) only


Please do read the Schedule carefully; make sure that you adhere to the dates and times for receipt of entries, closure for judging, removal of exhibits, etc. Allow plenty of time to stage exhibits without undue haste; the last minute rush can often result in some easily avoidable mistake such as putting in more or fewer specimens than the number scheduled, which results in disqualification and disappointment. Do not confuse a vase and a bowl (see above definitions). And finally, a reminder not to use expensive containers as the Society cannot take responsibility for loss or damage.


Rules and Regulations:

  1. The Top Vase class is for a vase of mixed flowering stems containing a total of between 5 and 10, taken from a minimum of two different kinds of plants. Please note that it is two different KINDS of plants, two varieties of the same plant are NOT two kinds (e.g. Pinks and Sweet Williams are both Dianthus, so would not be classed as different kinds).
  2. The display is judged out of a total of 35 points, split into: 25 points for the colour, form, condition, quality and freshness of the flowers on display, and 10 points for the overall presentation and effect of the flowers in the vase. The vase will be viewed from all directions. Judging of flowers should be to the normal rules used for other classes.
  3. Stems used in the display must be showing flowers only; no seed heads or berries will be allowed.
  4. The vase can be any shape and size and made from any material, but must be in proportion to the display. No marks are awarded for the vase itself.
  5. No accessories such as bows and additional foliage will be allowed. Foliage which is growing naturally from the flowering stem, and still attached to that stem, is allowed. No dried or silk flowers allowed. Packing material – including florists’ foam – to keep the stems in place is allowed. 
  6. All winners will receive a Garden News certificate plus £10 worth of Mr Fothergill’s vouchers; 2nd place will receive a £5 voucher and 3rd place a £3 voucher. They will also win rosettes & specified prize money


Rules and Regulations:

  1. The Petersham Top Tray class is for a collection of three types of vegetables taken from the following list of fifteen. The quantity of each vegetable required for the collection is given in brackets: carrots (3), cauliflowers (2), onions (3), parsnips (3), peas (6 pods), potatoes (3), runner beans (6 pods), tomatoes (6), French Beans (6 pods), sweetcorn (2), pepper (3), cucumber (2), courgettes (3), red beet (3), aubergines (2). Each type of vegetable will be judged out of a total of 20 points. This is split into three sections as follows: 7 points for size, shape and colour; 7 points for condition; 6 points for uniformity. The overall mark will be out of a total of 60.
  2. All vegetables are to be displayed for effect. The vegetables must be displayed within an area measuring 45cm by 60cm (18x24in), without bending any part of them. No part of any exhibit may exceed the size of the tray. A tray or board measuring 45cm by 60cm (18x24in) can be used to display the vegetables, or the area can simply be marked on the staging. Where a tray has a lip or edge, it is the internal measurements that must not exceed 45cm by 60cm (18x24in).
  3. A black cloth is permitted, and the tray may be painted but not be cut in any way at all. Parsley is allowed for garnishing, but no other foliage or accessories, such as plates, sand, rings and so on, will be allowed. Onion tops may be tied or whipped using raffia or string. Carrots and parsnips must have foliage trimmed back to 7.5cm (3in). Peas and beans must be displayed with some stalk attached. Tomatoes must be displayed with calyces (the green flower bud case).
  4. PRIZES. The winner of the Petersham Top Tray class will receive a Garden News certificate plus £10 worth of D.T. Brown vouchers; 2nd place will receive a £5 voucher; and 3rd a £3 voucher; they will also win rosettes


  1. Judging will be done under the R.H.S. code of rules.
  2. All exhibits in Sections 1 to 4 must have been under the management or ownership of the exhibitor on his/her premises at least two months previous to the day of the Show and any exhibitor may be required to sign a declaration to that effect. In all other sections, exhibits must be the bona-fide work of the exhibitor and must not have been previously shown. Any prize fraudulently obtained shall be forfeited. In the case of a professional gardener entering produce from a garden where he/she is employed the exhibits must be entered in the name of the employer
  3. Adult entry fee is 20p per entry except where otherwise stated. Late entries will be charged at 50p
  4. All competitors for prizes must fill in an entry form and send it to the person named by the time and date stated. Late entry forms may be accepted only at the discretion of the Show Secretary.
  5. No exhibitor shall be allowed to make more than one entry in any one class. Except classes 81 (a) to (e)
  6. Two or more persons may not exhibit for prizes separately from the same garden, allotment or plant house except that this regulation shall not apply to Section 5 or the Junior classes. Joint entries are permitted.
  7. Trade entries are not permitted in any competitive class.
  8. The hall shall be open for staging from 8.00 am. Staging must be completed by 10.00 am and all exhibitors must then leave the hall. Exhibits must remain staged until 4.45 pm. Exhibits not removed on the day of the Show will be disposed of.
  9. The staging committee will direct the placing of all exhibits and all exhibitors must strictly obey their orders.
  10. Exhibits need not be arranged at the Show, except where specified.
  11. The committee reserves to themselves the power, on the recommendation of the judges, to withhold any prize if the exhibits are considered unworthy, and, on the other hand, to give extra awards and prizes. The judge’s decision is in all cases final.
  12. The special prizes are listed in this schedule. Points (where applicable) are reckoned as 4 for the first prize, 3 for the second, 2 for the third and 1 for a commendation. Challenge cups, with the winner’s names engraved on them, remain the property of the Society but are held by the winners from the time they are presented until the following year.
  13. Prize money will be paid during the afternoon of the Show. Challenge cups and special prizes will be presented at the end of the Show.
  14. All exhibits, personal property, etc. shall be at the risk of the exhibitors and the Society shall not be liable for compensation for loss or damage from any cause whatsoever.
  15. Should a show or class not be held, no exhibitor shall have any claim on the Society
  16. If for any reason a Judge is unable to fulfil his/her engagement, the Society reserves the right to appoint another Judge to fulfil his/her duties
  17. Any protest must be made in writing and delivered to the Treasurer or President by the end of the Show.
  18. If an exhibit is not according to the schedule it will be disqualified, see ‘hints to exhibitors’ and individual class details.
  19. Full details of the PHS Constitution is available on www.petershamhorticulturalsociety.org.uk
  20. Due to the timing of the publication of this schedule the Committee may find that there are minor modifications to Exhibitors’ rules for the Garden News Top Tray and top Vase Classes. Any amendment shall be placed on the website no later than three weeks before the date of the Summer Show.

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